The Waiting is the Hardest Part
(Read Psalm 27)
As we discussed earlier this month, the Psalms focus on a variety of spiritual lessons and themes. Psalm 27, credited to King David, is a very popular Psalm for it’s emphasis on God’s fulfillment of promises. This Psalm is often recited during the Jewish penitential season of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur because it contains a strong theme of encouragement during a period of time when Jewish people are concerned about their fate. It’s emphasis on answered prayers and tones of salvation provides deep comfort for Jews and Christians alike.
“The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?”
During Biblical times, there were two sources of light: the sun and the lowly lamp. The lamp was adequate and dependable, but temporary. While, the sun emits blinding light, warmth, and life day after day after day. “The Lord is my light,” wrote David as he set the tone of this Psalm. The sun, like it’s Creator, sustains life. David captured God’s raw power and brilliance from the onset of this Psalm.
God has a plan for our lives. He doesn’t share the details or ask our advice. He does ask for our trust in his goodness. God wants us to have faith in his control, his perfection, in his love for us. King David was a heroic icon to his people. As a military, religious, and political leader, he granted stability and safety throughout his kingdom. Despite his successes, David had doubts. David had blood thirsty enemies driven with the sole purpose of his destruction. To survive, he needed the kind of inner strength that only God could provide. He needed to trust and wait for God.
In Psalm 46, God tells David, “‘Be still, and know that I am God.’” Waiting and trusting don’t come easily to us. Waiting and trusting in the Lord is probably one of the simplest and hardest things to actually do at the same time. God is encouraging us to let his plan unfold for us. When we resist or take things into our own hands, we can counterbalance God’s elaborate purpose. What we see as chaos, he sees as a woven masterpiece.
“Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.”
Popular advice for people undergoing struggles is to “live in the moment.” I must confess that I suggest this to people too frequently and when I actually try it myself, I discover it’s much harder to practice than to preach. Why? Because we are humans and we want to be able to control things. Since the fall of Adam and Eve, we have wanted to do things our way and keep God as our wingman, our backup, our pocketknife.
“Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart…”
Waiting on the LORD is not a passive sitting around thing where we watch our lives play out until the LORD does something. He has big things for us. In this context, waiting means trusting, praying, seeking, and relying on him. Waiting grows trust, it builds strength and character. God has said throughout the Bible, that he will answer our prayers. He will meet every promise. Waiting on God makes us stronger.
The young man we wrote about 6 weeks ago who suffered the climbing accident is currently immersed in the waiting game himself. He is awaiting structural surgery(ies) to give him the ability to walk again. Imagine being a 27-year-old who is not able to support your own body weight. He is just trying to allow time to give his body the opportunity to heal. His future is uncertain to him, but already fixed in God’s book. As painful as it is, this waiting is giving him a stronger connection to the most meaningful things in life. It is making him stronger — inside and out.
“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope…“
Having a stronger heart will make it easier to trust. When you mix epoxy and hardener, and you test them too soon, the bond doesn’t set and the connection is weak or non-existent. We will always find strength in the LORD when we seek him and trust him. We should wait with faith for a response, but not necessarily an immediate response. God’s time is not our time.
Much of Psalm 27 is David’s exhortation to himself. His stronger side is encouraging his weaker side to not give up, but to wait upon the Lord. At this point, he is qualified to show us to do the same. He learned to wait. David’s waiting made him stronger and strengthened his relationship with God. There are times to do things ourselves, and times to “live in the moment,” trusting and relying on our Creator. When the Bible mentions “waiting on the LORD,” it could also be a reference to us to wait “for” the LORD — looking towards the second coming of Jesus Christ. Nothing gives me more hope than that.
“No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
- Read Psalm 27. What should Christians be doing, while they are waiting for the return of the Lord?
- How are you waiting on the LORD? Is it through prayer? What are you praying? How are you praying?
- What is your reaction when you don’t feel God answering your prayers?
- For those of us who believe we’re going to heaven, now what? Is that a free pass? Are we showing our faith in the way we live or just reading about it? We need to be more Christ-like in our tone, in our actions, in our love. This week, show others that your trust is in the LORD.
- We should look for answers to our prayers, but we must pray appropriately. Prayer isn’t a case of giving God a list of boxes to check. He won’t. Prayer is about God and you. David sought God’s face. He wasn’t just looking for protection and answers, he wanted God.
- Are there some scars in your life where you feel that God has let you down? Where God hasn’t answered your prayers? You have two options: get mad or disillusioned and stop expecting God to answer your prayer; know that God’s time is eternal and we don’t always know when he will answer us. If you stop believing God will answer your prayers, either you need to re-examine who God is OR maybe your prayers aren’t aligning you with God. For me, disbelieving in God’s deliverance has never made me feel better. Pray for wisdom, hope, and perspective.
Where else in your life can you live out the teachings of Christ? Look for next week’s Devotion.