I know that I will date myself with this story, but some of you may remember this. Others will get a glimpse into a different place and time. I remember, as a kid, studying the back of cereal boxes. Why? Often they had a special, must- have kind of toy advertised that you could send away for. All you needed to do to get the prize, was send in three or four cereal box tops plus a nominal amount of money ($1) and in 6-8 weeks it would arrive in your mailbox.
Now think about that for a moment. In order to collect three or four box tops, that was a lot of bowls of Wheaties or Cheerios that you had to gobble through. Then came earning the money to send away for said toy. THEN to top it off you had to wait 6-8 weeks for it to arrive. That, my friends, is a lot of waiting!! Children in this day and age would never wait that long for gratification or satisfaction. It would be unheard of.
What children (and adults) are missing out on these days is the joy and hope found in expectancy.
Because we live in a "gotta have it right now" world, we miss out on the gifts found in waiting.
God asks us over and over again, in the Bible, to wait. Not so that He can frustrate us, but for a cause much greater - to build our character and to bestow His gifts upon us.
I would like to share some of my favorite scriptures on waiting and what gifts the discipline of waiting brings. God offers the gift of:
Strength: (Isaiah 40:31) But they who wait for the Lord will renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not be faint.
Hope: (Psalm 130:5) I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.
Blessings: (Isaiah 30:18) Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.
Goodness: (Lamentations 3:25) The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.
God's blessings, for those who wait upon Him, are endless. But, when you are in a painful place, waiting is one of the hardest things you can do. Let's face it, it is often nearly impossible to wait. The world tells us that having to wait is bad. Actually, the opposite is true. Learning to wait and learning how to wait is, in fact, good for us.
I can look back over my life and I can clearly see that is was in the times of waiting that God drew close to me. When we can't "work" the problem and simply have to be still and wait, God comes and abides with us and pours out His gentle love upon us. I love the following quote:
"Teach us, O Lord, the discipline of patience, for to wait is often harder than to work." (P. Marshall)
Furthermore, God not only tells us to wait, but He tells us How to wait. Okay, God, now you're really asking us a lot...He says to wait patiently. Patiently meaning free from anxiety and worrying. Patiently? Really?
Psalm 27:14: Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes wait patiently for the Lord.
Psalm 37:7: Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. Don't worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.
The last verse I will reference is my "Life Scripture" which you can find under headings. There was a time that I had to wait through excruciating depression and anxiety (we're talking years) until I was able to be restored to find joy in living. I Know, full well, how difficult waiting can be especially when you don't see anything (seemingly) changing. Take heart, God is always behind the scenes working. That's why He calls us to be still and let Him do His work in us.
Psalm 40:1-3: I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry...(I'll let you look up the rest)
Three things I have learned in my waiting:
He (God) is worth waiting for.
Waiting is good for us.
God blesses those that wait.
Sometimes the blessing is not realized in this earthly realm, but if we are believers, we can know that we will be blessed beyond belief in eternity.
My prayer is that I would become better at waiting patiently. Patience is not my middle name. I also pray that my children will grow in the discipline of waiting patiently. Last of all, I would pray that you would find love, joy and hope in the expectancy of waiting. God makes good on His promises because He is good and He loves you!
In His love,
ps. If you need prayers in your season of waiting, feel free to leave a prayer request in the "Comments" or email me with your request.