Originally published Tuesday, 02 June 2015.
I ran into an old friend in the store a few weeks ago. Life was busy but joyfully so for both of us. I shared that we were in the process of moving and he made a comment about being stuck renting forever because the housing market is just too expensive. I told him we were in the exact same place until the Lord arranged a surprise for us. And the truth is, we’ve had a series of very trying circumstances for a number of years, but in the midst of them, God has sent us a number of beautiful, precious surprises. Buying our first home was one of those surprises. Having our precious son after nearly a decade of infertility was another joyful surprise.
I’ve heard other older, wiser people say, “The only constant thing in this world is change” and “The minute you think things will never change, they do!” And while the advice is a little well worn, it’s true.
I was praying over a number of life needs, lifting one particularly heavy burden to the Lord for perspective and help. My frustration over the situation clouded my faith and I bemoaned how the situation was just getting worse and worse. “This is never going to get better!” I complained. I felt the conviction of the Lord. It was fine to share how I felt with Him, but if I was going to ask for His help, I couldn’t tell Him how the situation was going to end up - and with a negative-no-hope ending no less.
I remembered a verse I have long treasured:
Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him. Isaiah 64:4 NIV
What have you waited for? What have you pressed into God for? This verse is such refreshment to my heart when I have grown weary with the waiting.
One thing I have learned from my waiting is that “hope does not disappoint” (Romans 5:5) when it is correctly placed hope. If we peek back at the words in the above Scripture, that precious encouragement is ours when we wait for...who? what? For God. And God alone.
The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. Lamentations 3:25 ESV
This word from Lamentations again fixes our focus on our Lord and Him alone.
Discouragement rattles it’s ugliness at my faith when I begin to switch that waiting focus from Christ to a circumstantial change. Some of my longest held prayer requests have been for marriages and the salvation of loved ones. While I’m not saying we shouldn’t pray for those things (please don’t misunderstand me!) I am saying that we can’t settle our hope on circumstances or people changing. God is in the business of doing impossible things, but our hearts will be most secure when our vision is fixed on Him, rather than the impossible things He may or may not do.
Waiting can be a precious, purifying experience for our souls. And every time I have waited for my Father to show up, He has. In breathtaking ways He has swooped in and each time I experience the utter surprise at how His goodness was again revealed, it has captured my heart afresh. Indeed, God has surprised me. With His beauty, goodness, grace, provision, and love in the midst of the waiting.
If you are in a waiting season, my heart and prayers are with you. May God grace you to fix your hope completely on Him so that you can experience firsthand the wonder of our Father who “Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides (Him), who acts on behalf of those who wait for him” Isaiah 64:4.
Over the next few weeks we will soak in some of the beauty and good the Lord accomplishes when His children wait on Him. Join us at www.MotlMinistries.org.