The Hardest Part (or Tom Petty: Theologian?)

Waiting can be awful.  Painful.  Gut wrenching.

Tom Petty was right: the waiting is (often) the hardest part – at least when it comes to faith.  We pray for healing that doesn’t seem to come.  We pray for financial situations to smooth out.  We pray for a wayward loved one to come to Christ and they seem to continue drifting further away.

We look to God for answers that aren’t always quick to arrive – at least not as quick as we’d like.  Yet, wait we must.

But we need not feel like waiting on God is an awful drudgery.

Wait with Praise

Save me, O God!
    For the waters have come up to my neck.
I sink in deep mire,
    where there is no foothold;
I have come into deep waters,
    and the flood sweeps over me.
I am weary with my crying out;
    my throat is parched.
My eyes grow dim
    with waiting for my God. – Psalm 69:1-3 [ESV]

David knew anxiety and trouble.  His enemies outnumbered and pursued him.  He feared for his very life.

And yet, through his troubles, David never lost faith in God.  He recognized that, even when he couldn’t sense the Lord’s presence, He was there.  God – as promised – was always with David.

He’s always with you, too.  In fact, it is a promise so big it appears twice, once in the Old Testament, once in the New: I will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not fear or be dismayed (Deuteronomy 31:8b, Hebrews 13:5b, ESV).

Wait Fearlessly

Isaiah also knew his fair share of trouble.  But, through faith in God, he was able to proclaim:

Fear not, for I am with you;
    be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10 [ESV]

Isaiah was able to wait on the Lord without fear because God made him a promise – to strengthen and uphold him.  This promise is for us as well.  We can rest confidently in faith, knowing that – despite how things may look – God is, without a doubt, “our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1, ESV).

Wait Expectantly

Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. – Romans 8:24b-25 [ESV].

Waiting in faith means waiting expectantly, knowing that – although we do not yet see what we hope for – we who believe in Jesus are the recipients of “every good gift and every perfect gift (which) is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:17, ESV).

Just because you can’t physically see God’s promises doesn’t mean they are not true. Indeed, the truest realities in heaven and earth are those we receive from God through Jesus Christ and accept by faith. If God promised it, it will come!

Wait with Ever Strengthening Hope!

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. – Hebrews 11:1-3 [ESV]

I do not know what you waiting for God to deliver you from.  I have no idea what you are praying for.  But, no matter what, God is with you.  And as we wait on the Lord, our strength grows.  Our joy abounds.  Not because we have what we think we desire, but because we see the Lord working in our lives, carrying us.

Even when we do not see it.

Especially when we do not see it.

So hang in there, dear friend.  Don’t lose heart.  Keep your gaze fixed on Jesus and wait for the Lord.  Find in Him your joy, your strength, your rest, your peace.

Remember, His grace is sufficient.

Also remember, by faith, David was able to finish the 69th Psalm as follows:

30 I will praise the name of God with a song;
I will magnify him with thanksgiving.
31 This will please the Lord more than an ox
or a bull with horns and hoofs.
32 When the humble see it they will be glad;
you who seek God, let your hearts revive.
33 For the Lord hears the needy
and does not despise his own people who are prisoners.
34 Let heaven and earth praise him,
the seas and everything that moves in them.
35 For God will save Zion
and build up the cities of Judah,
and people shall dwell there and possess it;
36 the offspring of his servants shall inherit it,
and those who love his name shall dwell in it.  – Psalm  69:30-36 [ESV]


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