Psalm 123:2 – As the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid look to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, till he shows us his mercy. (NIV)
A friend of mine is suffering from an annoying physical ailment, which also causes much loss of sleep. This, in turn, aggravates the situation even more. The physician involved has prescribed an appropriate medication. The medication, however, takes up to a year before those taking it may begin to see any noticeable changes in their condition. Talk about feeling frustrated! What a bitter pill to swallow! Yet, what can they do but to wait and pray for continued strength and grace to endure?
Waiting is a common theme in the Scriptures. God always seems to be making His people wait. Abraham and Sarah, David, Moses, Jacob, Noah, and Daniel, just to name a few, had to wait. Their waiting periods were much, much longer than a year. Yet, what could they do but persevere and pray for continued strength and grace to endure their own bitter pill of waiting.
The Bible discusses waiting this way:
James 5:7-8 – Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near. (NIV)
In this case, the waiting refers to the second coming of Christ, and yet, when we are looking to God for an answer to prayer, isn't that also always a waiting for His coming: His coming to us to heal, or to lift us up, or to strengthen us amidst the situation about which we are praying and through which we are seeking to persevere?
Today, you may be waiting, and the waiting may be difficult and even scary. You may feel discouraged and even angry that you are still waiting, fed up with this bitter pill, and ready to throw in the towel, so to speak, on God and His promises and lovingkindness. If so, take a moment and consider all those in the Bible who waited and did not give up, but kept their faith in God, persevering — just as the farmer perseveres and awaits with anticipation the coming crop. Their names have gone down in history to be forever remembered.
Your name and my name will never appear in the Bible this way, but they will be stored in the memories of our family, friends, acquaintances, and God Himself. So, the choice is ours regarding how we want them to remember us amidst our waiting: as those who lost their hope in God due to a difficult situation, a bitter pill to swallow; or as people who "rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given to us." (Romans 5:3-5 NIV)
Prayer: Father God, waiting is never an easy thing for us human beings to endure. Yet, as we turn it over to You in faith and anticipation, You are able to do great and amazing things in our lives, through the working of Your Holy Spirit. Bless those today who are struggling with what may have become a bitter pill of waiting. Bless them with renewed hope, faith, strength, and insight, that they may know that You are, indeed, at work in their lives doing mighty things, things that will inspire and encourage not only them, but also others, to keep going within their own lives of faith and waiting. In Christ's name, we ask. Amen.
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