“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Cor 1:3-4
Waiting is hard. Whether we’re waiting for some sort of life change or our dinner to warm up in the microwave, it’s tough to have to pause when you are in “full-steam-ahead” mode. Over the years, waiting has been a recurring theme for me. I wish I could say that I’m an expert—and by now I should be—but I think waiting is a lifelong lesson, at least for most Christians. We are often told to “wait on the Lord” in Scripture. It’s just part of the life of a believer. We are ultimately waiting for His blessed appearance to judge all mankind and make all things right, but the little waiting games throughout life are like spiritual basic training preparing us for that Day.
I used to think that waiting was like a dog waiting for a treat that’s been placed on the tip of its nose, sitting there trembling with energetic expectation. That’s how I used to wait. It was exhausting. I was the stupid sheep that the Good Shepherd had to make lie down in green pastures beside still waters…tenderly but firmly holding me down while I was struggling to get up and check out all the surrounding mud puddles.
Then through Scripture, prayer and counsel, I began to realize that waiting should be much more restful. Waiting on the Lord for His answers, direction, provision and timing can (and should) be a time of rest and growth in relationship with the Shepherd. Instead of rushing ahead or worrying about whether He will provide, wouldn’t it be better to sit at His side waiting patiently for Him to move, trusting that His timing is perfect and good? But sometimes (maybe, most of the time if you’re a little impatient like me…) that’s not easy.
So I thought I would share a few quotes that I’ve gleaned over the years that encourage my heart when I’m in waiting mode. (Many of the Psalms are helpful as well; Psalms 25, 27, 37, 62, and 130 are my favorites for this theme. And I’ve linked to the online pdf versions of the books below for your reading enjoyment.)
We are taught and enabled to wait by grace as we learn to live as Christians: “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.” (Titus 2:11-14)
“He stirs up your nest. He disappoints your hopes. He brings down your confidence. He makes you fear and tremble, as all your strength fails, and you feel utterly weary and helpless. And all the while He is spreading His strong wings for you to rest your weakness on, and offering His everlasting Creator-strength to work in you. And all He asks is that you should sink down in your weariness and wait on Him; and allow Him in His Jehovah-strength to carry you as you ride upon the wings of His omnipotence.” Andrew Murray, Waiting on God, 1896. pg 28 of 46. (Deut. 32:10-12)
“Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” – C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, 1942. pg 1 of 9.
“My brethren, the reason why you have not got contentment in the things of the world is not because you have not got enough of them. That is not the reason. But the reason is because they are not things proportionable to that immortal soul of yours that is capable of God himself. Many men think that when they are troubled and have not got contentment, it is because they have but a little in the world, and if they had more then they would be content. That is just as if a man were hungry, and to satisfy his craving stomach he should gape and hold open his mouth to take in the wind, and then should think that the reason why he is not satisfied is because he has not got enough of the wind. No, the reason is because the thing is not suitable to a craving stomach.” Jeremiah Burroughs (1599-1646), The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, pg 54 of 142.
“Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it” Psalm 81:10