Earlier this year, my heart was pointed toward Psalm 27, specifically Psalm 27:14.
The ESV version of this says “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord.” Waiting for the Lord seems like such a daunting task.
In an era of immediate gratification and where busyness is worshiped, waiting goes against everything the world tells us. These are the questions I think when contemplating waiting: What on earth are we supposed to do while we wait? How long will I have to wait? Can I get a plan of action while I wait? But my plans didn’t include waiting? What can I do to speed up this waiting? Can you relate?
Our family has been in a deep season of waiting and transition. Please hear me say that this waiting wasn’t a choice. It was brought on by God. He has altered circumstances such that we must wait. BUT in that movement, we’ve been tested and brought closer to Him to a point where now we choose to wait. (Trust me though, not necessarily the choice I want) Sure, we could be making our plans or trying desperately to run towards something else we think will solve our problems. Instead, we have chosen to wait.
And it isn’t an activity in which we do nothing. The ESV Study Bible notes say, “To wait for the Lord is to look to him with dependence and trust, not passivity; this is what enables one to be strong and courageous.” For me, looking to God with dependence and trust is not something that comes naturally to me. It takes work on my part. It means I must be in the word daily. It means I have the mental fortitude to notice negative thoughts or lies that come to my mind that don’t come from God and reorient myself to the truth. It means I have to stop trying to solve everything and stop to pray. It means I have to learn to be okay with and even joyful in the present moment, even in the midst of suffering and turmoil. It’s hard. It is a moment by moment work. Waiting takes so much work.
Notice the next words in the verse as well “be strong.” Can we become strong passively? If I want to be physically strong I must run, lift weights, work out, etc. If I want my child to be a strong reader, I know that she must spend time reading on a regular basis. If I want to be an emotionally strong individual, I spend time in counseling and reflection through journaling and retreat. I think you get my point, strength in any manner doesn’t just happen. It takes a conscious effort. Please don’t think I’m saying the Lord couldn’t supernaturally bless us with strength, that is certainly a possibility, and I believe it does happen. For me, I find that that blessing of strength becomes evident when I work to constantly turn my face toward Him.
The Lord honors our work, and I’ve found at times the waiting is easier. My thoughts automatically go to Him and the lies don’t creep in as much. Knowing and feeling I am not alone in my waiting, I mean REALLY feeling it in my soul, makes the waiting and the work of waiting feel worth it. Who it makes me and who it reveals God to be has been shown to be worthwhile. Does it mean my earthly problems are solved? No. Does it mean everyday is easy? Certainly not. Does I mean I’ve mastered waiting? Nope. But by the grace of God I’m better than I was yesterday.