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The God Who Waits

Originally published Monday, 27 July 2015.

Therefore the Lord longs (same Hebrew word as "waits") to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long (wait) for Him. Isaiah 30:18

In the midst of our waiting it is easy to lose sight of the reality that we aren’t the only ones waiting. The Lord might be waiting and longing to do a work in our lives just as much as we are waiting and longing for Him to do it.

Somehow it feels strange to picture the Almighty waiting for us, but based on this verse, He might be doing just that very thing. Even though God is all-powerful and all-knowing, He includes us in His plans. He didn’t wind up the world and just leave it to run down like a clock and He didn’t wind us up like robots to motor through life without passions or wills. So somewhere in the mystery of God’s plans and actions He has a plan that will, for absolute certain, come to pass. He also has a series of desires for us that He choses to engage with us over, and those, somehow, depend to some degree on our involvement. While this point of theology could be debated, the verse for today’s devotional certainly points to the notion that God could very well be waiting on something or someone to bless us!

In the midst of those waiting seasons, if we could see the Lord leaning eagerly over our life waiting for the prime moment to reach in and bless, change, or anoint something in us or in our circumstances, I think it might go a long way to boosting our patience and faith.

It’s a terribly simplistic illustration, but I’m going to share it anyway! I was recently watching a Little House re-run with my sick son. Before the luxury of cell phones and speedy travel one of the characters in the story went to the city to purchase a special kind of seed that only he could get access to for all the farmers in the area. He was a good man with good intentions, but his horses ran off, broke the wagon in the process, and left him in a ditch with the wagon on top of his legs. Two days late the farmers were angry and nearly ready to lynch him if they ever laid eyes on him again because they feared he had absconded with their hard-earned seed money. I was struck at how easily we treat the Lord the same way.

When God doesn’t show up on our schedule we are so quick to assign character flaws to Him. And if we could only see the truth that He is waiting to reach in with love, joy, healing, and hope, it would change our waiting. Like the farmers in the story couldn’t see what their new friend was doing with their seed or their money, we often can’t see what God is doing with all the trust we’ve invested in our relationship with Him. And when He is “late” it is all too easy to make assumptions about His character that are based on what we perceive in the moment, rather than what is actually happening. We don’t have all the pieces of the puzzle. We don’t have the whole picture. And when our lack of information or understanding is stirred up, that is the time to reconsider what we do know about our Lord.

Our Father is:

- Gracious and compassionate (Isaiah 30:18)
- The God who Sees our hurts and our needs (Genesis 16:13)
- The God of lovingkindness (Deuteronomy 7:9)
- Faithful when we are faithless (2 Timothy 2:13)
- Slow to anger, abundant in love, ready to forgive (Numbers 14:18)
- Near to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18)
- Our strong refuge (Psalm 71:7)
- With me (Psalm 23:4)
- The God who works wonders (Psalm 77:14)
- And so much more...

We know these truths from Scripture, but we know them more deeply when they are known by experience. If you are having a hard time remembering God’s character because a hardship has clouded your vision of Him, spend some time looking over an old prayer journal or ask the Lord to remind you of His past faithfulness to you. Write it down when you remember it. Roll your thoughts in the remembrance of how God has revealed Himself to you. Really wallow in the remembrance of who He has been to you. I keep a “miracles” scrapbook. It has photos of moments in our life when God blessed us, brought us through a trial, provided for us, and things like that. It does my soul good to pop open those pages and stroll down memory lane with my Father. It readjusts my perspective.

While the waiting can be lonely and hard work, remember Jesus words: “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working” John 5:17 (emphasis added). The Lord is up to something good and beautiful.

Let’s wait together to see His character and handiwork revealed.

For more from the "Waiting" series here.