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Wait for the Lord

Backpacking

Is anyone good at waiting? I know I‘m not. Waiting has never been easy for me. When I look back on my life, I haven’t had to wait for many things... until now. My husband and I found out I was pregnant with our first child after two months, so when we started trying for our second child, we thought we had everything planned, spacing our kids just right. Well, two and a half years later, we are still hoping and praying for another child. This season of waiting was unplanned, unexpected, and honestly, unwanted.

Over the past several years, the Lord has been faithful to teach me many things. In waiting, he reveals the things I love more than him, he teaches me about his character, and he reminds me that waiting is worship.

Waiting Exposes Our Idols

In seasons of waiting, the perpetual state of longing casts its shadow in the daily routine of life. Waiting forces us to ask ourselves, “Where is my hope?” This is uncomfortable, painful, and sometimes very sorrowful, and in these moments we can medicate our hurting hearts with self-made remedies.

As we continued to ask God for another baby, and the answer remained no, I saw my tendencies to find comfort in many things besides the Lord. In other words, the Lord was revealing the idols of comfort in my heart in times of uncertainty or pain. Personally, I found comfort in food, shopping, the hope of our next fertility treatment, and many other things.

John Piper defines an idol as “the thing loved or the person loved more than God, wanted more than God, desired more than God, treasured more than God, enjoyed more than God” [1]. When God allows detours from our perfectly planned life, the uncertainty is uncomfortable. We naturally want answers, and we, in our natural state, will cling to anything around us to ensure a false sense of foundational security. The Lord knows our hearts, and he knows that we sinfully run from his loving embrace into the empty promises of the world. In waiting, the Lord graciously exposes the things we love more than him, not as a reprimanding father but as a loving Shepherd, leading his children back to safety. As the psalmist says in Psalm 40:17, “As for me, I am poor and needy but the Lord takes thought for me. You are my help and my deliverer.”

Waiting Shows Us the Character of God

After months of disappointment and failed attempts to comfort myself, I remember sitting on the floor, crying and asking God the age-old question: “Why?” In that moment, the Lord reminded me that he hears my cry, knows my pain, loves me, and will never leave me. The Lord met me in my pain and even in my sin of idolatry, and he pulled me up. He continues to show me more of who he is, even as my waiting continues. The Lord is deepening my knowledge of my Creator, my Lord, my Shepherd.

God is Comforter: God cares for us intimately, knows our pain, and sees us in the midst of our longing. “You have seen my affliction; you have known the distress of my soul” (Psalm 31:7).

God is Shepherd: “I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet on a rock, making my steps secure” (Psalm 40:1-2). The Lord our Shepherd hears our cry, reaches down into our helplessness, and sets our feet on a firm foundation – he is our firm foundation.

God Satisfies: In waiting, we learn that nothing can satisfy our heart outside of him. “In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11). He not only satisfies our hearts, but fills them with joy.

God is Faithful: The uncertainties of this world illuminate the faithfulness of our Lord. “Your steadfast love and faithfulness will ever preserve me” (Psalm 40:11b). He will always be faithful to his children; his faithfulness is our hope and our strength.

God is Good: In waiting, we often doubt the goodness of the Lord, wondering how he could allow such pain or longing. But the psalmist David once again reminds us of a promise. “I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord” (Psalm 27:13-14). The Lord is good, and someday we will see his goodness in all things.

Waiting Is Worship

When the Lord so lovingly helps us look to Christ and away from the painful circumstances and our aching heart, our hearts are moved to worship. Waiting is no longer a means to an end, but a season where our hearts and our Healer collide. In waiting, we see more of Christ’s goodness, beauty, and love. We are not promised relief from hardship or the answers to our most fervent prayers; what we are promised is infinitely more valuable: more of Jesus. I am not waiting only for another baby; I am waiting for the Lord, with the Lord.

About a year ago, as I was rocking my daughter before bed, she grabbed my face and said, “Mama! Did you know that Jesus is always faithful?” She was speaking words of truth and life, and I replied, “Yes, my darling, he is always faithful.”

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” Hebrew 10:23

[1] Piper, John. "What Is Idolatry." Interview. Audio blog post. Desiring God. N.p., 14 Aug. 2014. Web. 21 June 2016.