By Rebecca Holloway
If you’re like me, you’ve been watching Christmas movies since before Halloween. Or maybe you have strict rules that you don’t start doing that until after Thanksgiving. Kudos to you! One thing I have noticed about those movies is this: Someone in the movie is always waiting for something. They’re waiting for their true love to come.
They’re waiting on Santa to arrive. They’re waiting for the first snowfall so they can kiss under the mistletoe. They’re waiting for the fight they’ve had with this new love they’ve found to end so the movie can end. Somebody is always waiting for something.
We’re always waiting for something – no matter the time of year. But have you noticed something? We’re not good waiters. I mean, if it’s only for a few minutes, we’re okay. We understand and we’re gracious. But if we have to wait for something over an hour or day or a week or God forbid months or years, we start getting a little salty about it. We get angry. We start making smart alack comments. We start complaining. We are a very, very impatient people.
And it’s even worse if God has told us to wait on something. There have been lots of times of waiting in my life. One of the greatest “waits” I ever had was while I was in college. Around the end of the first semester of my sophomore year, the Lord did something in my life that was unbelievable. He told me I was going to marry Stewart. I didn’t know what to do with that, but I assumed if the Lord told you something was going to happen, then BOOM! It happened immediately. Well, it didn’t. It was a full year before he ever even asked me out on a date. I can tell you that year was one of the hardest of my life. I got a little testy with God at times. But can I tell you that was one of the biggest years of spiritual growth in my life?
You see, I think we have two choices when God has put us in a season of waiting. We can sulk, or we can seek. The choice is ours. Psalm 27 says:
The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When the wicked advance against me
to devour me,
it is my enemies and my foes
who will stumble and fall.
3 Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then I will be confident.
4 One thing I ask from the Lord,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple.
5 For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
and set me high upon a rock.
6 Then my head will be exalted
above the enemies who surround me;
at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make music to the Lord.
7 Hear my voice when I call, Lord;
be merciful to me and answer me.
8 My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”
Your face, Lord, I will seek.
9 Do not hide your face from me,
do not turn your servant away in anger;
you have been my helper.
Do not reject me or forsake me,
God my Savior.
10 Though my father and mother forsake me,
the Lord will receive me.
11 Teach me your way, Lord;
lead me in a straight path
because of my oppressors.
12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
for false witnesses rise up against me,
spouting malicious accusations.
13 I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.
David wrote this psalm, and you can kind of see him going through a range of emotions throughout it, can’t you? At first, he’s kind of triumphant. (v. 1-3) He proclaims who God is to him and that God is going to take care of business with his enemies. He’s feeling pretty good about things. Then in verses 4-8, he even talks about worship. He wants to dwell in the house of the Lord forever. We’ll get back to that part in a minute. But then in verses 9, he shifts a little bit.
Here’s my thought. Maybe he had been waiting on the Lord for a while. Maybe things aren’t going so hot, and what he thought the Lord had promised him hasn’t come to pass at all. It could be that things are going in the opposite direction of where the Lord had told him they were going. So he starts to doubt what the Lord told him.
Have you ever felt that way? You’re in the middle of the waiting, and you’re pretty sure God has forgotten what He said to you. Or obviously you’ve done something to make Him change His mind. You feel rejected and forsaken. You just start crying out to God, “HOW LONG?” And then you get so angry with God you quit reading your Bible. You may quit going to church. And if you do go to church, you just kind of stand there all mad during worship and just don’t listen to the sermon. Because we hate waiting. We hate it. And the enemy likes that we hate it, because if we start getting angry, he can use that anger. I mean, that sounds pretty good to him for you to quit doing “God stuff” like quiet times and worship. We spiral down to that pit of despair, and we sulk. But do we have to? Absolutely not.
Our other choice when we’re in a season of waiting is to seek. Seek the Lord with all your heart. David started out this psalm with confident faith and he ends with confident faith. If the Lord has told you that He has a plan for you, then it is coming. Yes, it may take a while. Yes, you may want to run ahead of Him and taken matters into your own hands, much like the story of Abraham and Sarah in Genesis. But when we do that, we miss out on the great blessings that God has ahead of us. We need to seek Him. We will see His goodness. It will come. It came for me. As I told you, it was a full year after the Lord told me I was going to marry Stewart before he asked me out. When it finally happened, the timing was so perfect that it could have only been God.
Here’s another key: keep worshiping. David proclaims those lovely verses in verses 4-8 about staying in the house of the Lord and seeking Him. Your worship is not only essential to your seeking the Lord. It is also essential in you fighting the enemy who wants you to give up in despair. You need to seek Him, yes, but you also need to not give up worshiping.
I read in a commentary that the word “wait” in the Hebrew means waiting for something with expectation. We’re to expect the Lord to act because He has promised He will. This is not an angry waiting. It’s not a “keep looking at your watch and tapping your foot” like you’re waiting in line. It’s not a “get mad at God” waiting. It’s a waiting to see what God’s going to do. And He never does anything bad.
Last week during Thanksgiving break, Zach got up one morning and said, “Mommy, I didn’t sleep well last night.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. Was something wrong?” I asked.
He said, “No. I was just thinking about Thanksgiving and Black Friday and Christmas and my birthday. And I just got so excited that I couldn’t sleep! I just can’t wait!”
That’s how we’re supposed to wait. We’re supposed to watch with great expectation. We’re supposed to seek. We’re not supposed to sulk. How else are you going to be strong and take heart, as verse 14 says? How else would you “mount up on wings like eagles” like Isaiah says? What other way can you “run and not grow weary?” And “walk and not faint?” You have to seek God continually as you wait.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.
Rebecca Holloway is the wife of Stewart Holloway, pastor of First Baptist Church, Pineville. This editorial first appeared on her blog.