TRUST: Ready, Set...Wait?
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Today we’re talking about waiting….something we all LOVE to do;).
In our last lesson about Lazarus, we learned that Jesus delayed action BECAUSE He loved the family. This revelation really impacted me because waiting often causes us to feel like the complete opposite is true.
Waiting is not fun, but it’s a part of life we can’t get away from - we’re always waiting on something.
During our adolescence we’re waiting to become a teenager. When we’re teenagers, we’re waiting to be able to drive, to graduate high school, and to become an adult. When we’re young adults, we’re waiting to finish college, to meet “the one,” and to get on with the rest of our lives.
From then on it’s one season of waiting after another: waiting to get married, to land the perfect job, to complete higher levels of education, for children, financial stability, career goals, or dreams to come true. Even when we are living in seasons of fulfilled desires, there are other (unfulfilled) desires we are still waiting on.
We’re waiting until the end of our days. This year I watched my grandmother, who loved God with all her heart, waiting on her death bed until the moment she would open her eyes in the presence of her Savior.
Obviously sometimes our situations of waiting are more emotionally intense - waiting through a health crisis, waiting on a child to come back to God, or waiting for the pain to lessen when suffering from tragedy or trauma.
The concept of waiting is too broad to ever imagine we could address it all in a single blog post. But one thing I’ve realized in studying for this lesson is that waiting always goes hand-in-hand with our desires. If we don’t desire to get married, then we’re not waiting for it. If we don’t desire to have children, then we’re not waiting for them. If we don’t desire a certain dream, then we’re not waiting for it to unfold.
This is the kind of waiting we’re going to focus on today - delayed dreams and desires. That’s why I’ve titled this lesson “Ready, Set...Wait?” We usually feel like we’re ready to run LONG before God says “go.”
Waiting is the place where our desires become intermingled with God’s timing.
We mentioned this briefly in the first lesson, but one thing we can know for sure is that when we are seeking God we can trust our desires are from Him.
Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
To delight ourselves in the Lord is to find our pleasure in relationship with Him. The Hebrew word translated delight here actually means “to be soft, delicate.” When we love and seek God, we become pliable to being shaped by Him. He shapes our desires in order to accomplish His purposes!
In the Old Testament, there is one word for “wait” which is used more than any other. It is the Hebrew word “qavah,” and it means all of these things:
To expect, to wait, to hope
To bind together (by twisting)
Stresses the straining of the mind in a certain direction with an expectant attitude, a forward look with assurance (Strong’s)
From an origin meaning “twist, stretch, tension of enduring,” with references to threads or a strand of rope (Brown-Driver-Briggs)
The explanations of this word fascinated me. Have you ever said, “I’m hanging on by a thread,” or “I’m at the end of my rope?”
Waiting is difficult and uncomfortable. It involves “twisting, stretching, and tension of enduring;” but it is that twisting that binds us together with God because we are fully dependent upon Him.
Let’s look at a couple places this word is used, starting with Psalm 25. David starts with a declaration of trust:
Psalm 25:2a, 3a
O my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame;...
Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame;...
Throughout the rest of this Psalm, David goes back and forth between declaring good things he knows to be true of God and begging God to direct his path and to relieve his loneliness and suffering.
Let’s look at another one in Isaiah:
Then you will know that I am the LORD; those who wait for me shall not be put to shame.”
The word shame in these verses means to “be disappointed.” When we are waiting on God to act or direct or move, we will not be ashamed or disappointed that we put our trust in Him! Once again, this is a promise we can take from the Word and apply to OUR lives.
When we wait for God, our trust won’t be misplaced.
In the first lesson we talked about some stories from the Bible in which obedience led to painful journeys before God’s promises unfolded. These scenarios almost all involved waiting. Let’s look at Joseph and David again for example:
As a young man, Joseph dreamed he would be in leadership. This dream wasn’t fulfilled until about 14 years later.
Also as a young man, David heard from God through the prophet Samuel that he would be Israel’s king. This promise wasn’t fulfilled until about 15 years later.
And then there’s Moses. God began stirring Moses’ heart to help his people 40 YEARS before He spoke to him in the burning bush with “next steps.”
“When he [Moses] was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brothers, the children of Israel. And seeing one of them being wronged, he defended the oppressed man and avenged him by striking down the Egyptian. He supposed that his brothers would understand that God was giving them salvation by his hand, but they did not understand.
After this, Moses fled to the land of Midian, where he married, had children, and became a shepherd. 40 years later God showed up when Moses was in the wilderness tending sheep; and the desire God had placed in Moses’ heart 40 years earlier was finally set in motion (Exodus 3).
Let’s look at Paul. Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus and his call into ministry took place 3 years before he actually started ministry. Furthermore, God birthed a desire in Paul to preach the gospel in Rome many years before it came to fruition.
And Jesus. After Jesus was initiated into public ministry through His baptism, the Holy Spirit led Him straight into the wilderness for 40 days. (We’re going to finish out our TRUST series by talking about Jesus’ time in the wilderness next week!)