To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, I trust in You; Let me not be ashamed; Let not my enemies triumph over me. Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed; Let those be ashamed who deal treacherously without cause. Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day. Remember, O Lord, Your tender mercies and Your lovingkindnesses, For they are from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions; According to Your mercy remember me, For Your goodness’ sake, O Lord. Good and upright is the Lord; Therefore He teaches sinners in the way. The humble He guides in justice, And the humble He teaches His way. All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth, To such as keep His covenant and His testimonies. For Your name’s sake, O Lord, Pardon my iniquity, for it is great.
Who is the man that fears the Lord? Him shall He teach in the way He chooses. He himself shall dwell in prosperity, And his descendants shall inherit the earth. The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, And He will show them His covenant. My eyes are ever toward the Lord, For He shall pluck my feet out of the net. Turn Yourself to me, and have mercy on me, For I am desolate and afflicted. The troubles of my heart have enlarged; Bring me out of my distresses! Look on my affliction and my pain, And forgive all my sins. Consider my enemies, for they are many; And they hate me with cruel hatred. Keep my soul, and deliver me; Let me not be ashamed, for I put my trust in You. Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, For I wait for You. Redeem Israel, O God, Out of all their troubles!
Waiting is something we do when we need someone else to fulfil our need. We wait at the bus stop for our way into town and we wait for our food to arrive at a restaurant. The experience of waiting expectantly to receive what we have been promised is quite mundane and commonplace most days of our lives. However, spiritual waiting is… difficult.
Because it’s of a different nature than those other kinds of waiting. If your bus is late, it is frustrating. You may even need to arrange another form of transport if it’s very important you arrive on time for a meeting. If your food is late, you may complain or perhaps leave the restaurant and go elsewhere. For spiritual matters, there is no Uber and there is no McDonalds next door. There is only one Source of fulfilment, and He is not beholden to your schedule. Yet we take refuge in false sources whenever we fail to wait.
Failing to wait is to indulge in what we think we need to be happy instead of waiting for God to provide that. It is retail ‘therapy’, porn, absenteeism, whatever your anaesthetic of choice may be. It is to go to another source in place of the Source. This is usually not conscious, but it is sin. It is a hatred of waiting on God, and seeking fulfilment outside of Him. This is, of course, a lying fulfilment. It is the serpent’s forked tongue tantalising your eyes and ears with the empty calories of worldliness. What if you didn’t take those things? What if you just sat and remained unfulfilled? Then you would be waiting on God. Christ, on his road to the cross, had the whisper in his ear of the devil saying, “You need not travel into this valley of the shadow of death. Wait not for God, take action and dominate!” Yet he didn’t. He waited where none of us would.
This is spirituality at its core. It is to keep your eyes on the Source and ignore the sources that vie for your love. It is to trust that what you need is what God provides at this very moment, and that is all. This is not to be emotionless. Christ was in agony as He waited on the Father, obediently walking to His death. And Christ has waited in your place. He is your perfect Saviour who knows temptation intimately. Cling to His finished work for you, and that this very moment you are seated with Him in the heavenly places (eph 2:6), your future secure. Wait on the Source. The end is near.
How does it feel to know that it is only at God’s dispensation that you receive what you need? How do you narcotise this scary fact? With what worldly treats do you find ways to indulge in earthly sources and not the true Source? I encourage you to a consciousness of this as you live your life (particularly when you hit a stressful time) and to wait on God.
<— psalm xxiv psalm xxvi —>