By Hal Green
One of the major themes of the Hebrew Bible is the necessity of waiting for the Lord. This is something most all of us have or will go through in our lifetime. We will be forced to wait for God when something needs to happen that only God can accomplish.
Nowhere in the Bible is the centrality of waiting for God more powerfully stated than in Psalm 37. The psalmist urges us not to give up on our waiting and promises that those who wait will be blessed by God in God’s time and way. Somehow, our not giving up turns out to be essential to receiving what God intended to give us all
along. Our waiting for God seems to have actually been a necessary stage in preparing us to receive at long last the well-being now and forever intended by God. Great words, these:
“Do not fret because of the wicked; do not be envious of wrongdoers, for they will soon fade like the grass, and wither like the green herb. Trust in the LORD, and do good; so you will live in the land, and enjoy security. Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act. He will make your vindication shine like the light, and the justice of your cause like the noonday.”
“Be still before the LORD, and wait patiently for him; do not fret over those who prosper in their way, over those who carry out evil devices. Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath. Do not fret — it leads only to evil. For the wicked shall be cut off, but those who wait for the LORD shall inherit the land. Wait a little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look diligently for their place, they will not be there. But the meek shall inherit the land, and delight themselves in abundant prosperity” (Psalm 37:1-11).
I am convinced that the time spent waiting for God, be it a month or decade or even an entire lifetime, secretly strengthens us to continue abiding in and with God, once the living waters of heaven burst through to us and in us. What waiting develops in us is steadfastness, and with that the faith to continue believing in spite of not receiving the promised fruit of God’s good will and way. Such was the faith of Abraham and Sarah. Whenever God called out to Abraham, he would answer immediately with, “Here I am” (Genesis 22:1,7,11). The blessed couple waited over 25 years for God finally to fulfill the promise of progeny. Their faithful waiting became the model for our waiting for God in the steadfast faith that God will yet “give you the desires of your heart.”
In praying this Scripture, move through the four questions: what does the passage say; what does it say to you; what do you want to say to God; what does God want to say to you?
(Contact Hal Green, Ph.D., at firstname.lastname@example.org.)