I waited patiently in a long line and was relieved to finally be next to pay my bill. Then I watched as a man walked in front of me, bypassed the entire line and stepped up to the counter. Didn’t he see the rest of us waiting? Didn’t the cashier see the rest of us waiting? The lady behind me mumbled a complaint and rolled her eyes. I was surprised at how annoyed I felt but decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he didn’t notice us or maybe he was in a big hurry. I took a deep breath and waited….some more.
I wonder if everyone dislikes waiting as much as I do. Research tells us that an average of 62 minutes a day is spent waiting. Waiting for appointments, in lines, in traffic, for tests, for results, for phone calls, on hold, for vacation, for wedding days and babies to be born. That estimate may be true for the tangible waiting. But what about waiting for grief and depression to leave or hearts to heal? I suspect that much more than an hour each day is spent waiting for these types of things to lift.
So many people in the Bible waited. Moses waited for promised miracles, Hannah waited to be pregnant, The Israelites waited for deliverance. Job waited for his trial to end, Jehoshaphat waited for victory. Leah waited to be loved, Michal waited for David. Paul waited in prison, Joseph waited to be reunited with his father. And Anna waited for the Messiah to be born.
I believe that the most agonizing wait in all of history started in Matthew 27:46 when Jesus was nailed to the cross and He said the words “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”. The sin of mankind was placed upon him and caused him to lose sight of his Father and of truth. Sin does that… It blinds. I can’t imagine what his followers thought when they heard those words. They waited for him to show himself strong, to reveal himself as King. But instead, at that moment he let out his final breath. His spirit was gone. Gone. Even though they had been warned, I bet this wasn’t what they expected to hear him say. They continued to wait. Mary Magdalene waited at the tomb and after three long days an angel finally appeared to tell her that “Jesus is risen”. (Matthew 28:17)
The waiting had to be horrendous. Waiting usually is. So often it feels like abandonment or betrayal. Or like being forsaken. There is such fear in those words… abandonment, betrayal, forsaken. Although the feelings are real, truth doesn’t lie in feelings. In order to endure waiting, in the really hard places of life, we must remember the following things:
God is El Emet: The God of truth
Going through a difficult time of waiting I was sick at heart and very discouraged. A friend said to me, “God doesn’t always deliver us”. No sooner had those words left her mouth, I looked up at the television to see a beautiful scene; water flowing among nature and calm music playing. The words written in bold letters on the screen were “And he said, The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer” (2 Samuel 22:2) Smiling, I chose to replace my friends words with those of the most high God. During times of discouragment our tendency is to look at feelings and circumstances. But Gods promises trump everything; promises like loving us with an everlasting love, or that He will never leave us nor forsake us… or the other thousands of promises He gives in Scripture. Yes, He always delivers, in His way and in His time, because He is the God of truth!
God is El Hanne’eman: The Faithful God
I asked God during a trial “I have served you and trusted you to watch over my loved ones. Doesn’t my faithfulness and trust towards you count?” Before I could take a breath, the phone rang and the answering machine picked up. I heard an older ladies voice, and recognized her as a casual acquaintance from church. She said ” I felt led to call you. I just want to encourage you to keep serving God the way that you do. It doesn’t go unnoticed. I just wanted to tell you that.” The trials in my life have very little to do with my expectations of God. But it has everything to do with my faith in him. With just a few words from someone I barely knew who was obeying the leading of the Holy Spirit, at just the perfect time, I was given strength to endure and to continue on. God promises to strengthen us during seasons of waiting- Wait on the Lord, be of good courage and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD. (Psalm 27:14) He is The faithful God!
God is El De’ot: The God of Knowledge, the One who knows
I was jogging steadily on my usual running path. This particular morning I was heavy hearted. An overwhelming trial had come upon me. I asked God “how could anything good come from this? How could you ever be glorified in this ugly situation?” That’s when I saw it. A beautiful flower in the midst of ashes. Real ashes. Acres of marsh had recently burned down. The entire city of Rochester had watched the awful televised fire, afraid that it would reach houses and people. It took firemen a couple of days to contain the fire. In the middle of the black ashes, after just a few days, a beautiful flower was growing. It took me by such surprise. I stopped my run and snapped a picture of it as a reminder, a living reminder. That God knows…he knows my heart and cares. That day he showed me, at such perfect timing, in answer to my questions that He promises to bring beauty from ashes (Isaiah 61:3). He knows our thoughts before we even speak them. Oh yes, He is the God who knows!
God is El Roy: The God who sees
My husband was driving me to the doctor to find out my test results. Melanoma had been found three weeks earlier. The waiting to see if it had spread was awful. The what-ifs and the what-nows were working to destroy my peace. Matt pulled over to the side of the road. I was irritated because I wanted to get this day over with. I wanted to be done waiting. Didn’t Matt realize that? I certainly didn’t want to be waiting on the side of the road for him to do who knows what. I didn’t voice my opinions but instead I watched. He was getting something out of the grass and fumbling awkwardly. I saw him rescue and gently cradle a bird with a broken wing. A sparrow of all things! And the song burst in my head “His eye is on the sparrow and I know he watches me”. Oh my, what a living picture that was being created for me of Matthew 10:29-31. I was comforted in an instant and knew that no matter what the outcome, He sees and He knows. God knew exactly what I needed. Yes, He is the God who sees!
We are promised that all things work together for good to those who love God. So often we must wait for the good to be fulfilled. In the midst of waiting….in the daily things and in the the bigger stuff…. may we never forget that He is faithful, He knows, He sees, and He is truth. He is our El Hannora, The Awesome God of ours!
Psalm 27:14 Wait on the LORD: be strong and of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.
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