The benefit of waiting: Dependence

Next time you feel like you’ve waited long enough for God to do something, reflect upon the characters of the Bible. Author Joann Weaver is bold enough to say what many of us were thinking when we read these stories.

Was it really necessary to leave Joseph rotting in an Egyptian prison cell for such an extended period? Was it vitally important that the Israelites wander in the desert for forty years and Noah drift on a flood for months in a boat that took perhaps a century to build? Were twenty-five years really necessary to move Abraham from the promise to Pampers? Surely there had to be simpler, not to mention faster, method by which to fulfill God’s purposes (Lazarus Awakening, p. 61).

We deeply desire independence. As we enter our teen years we crave it, and in our senior years we fear the loss of it. Perhaps it is because we long for that independence so much that God has us wait, even for a lifetime, for some of the things we desire. Waiting, like fasting, has the potential of developing a greater sense of dependence on our God. His leading. His plans. His purposes. If we respond properly to the waiting process we end up desiring our will less, and God’s will more.

With that understanding consider the following Scriptures.

Be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10)

May integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you (Psalm 25:21)

Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! (Psalm 27:14)

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices . . . For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land (Psalm 37:7, 9)

But for you, O Lord, do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer (Psalm 38:15).

I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry (Psalm 40:1).

And Isaiah 40:30-31 remind us,

Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

I once saw an eagle ascend on hot air thermals when I was fishing the Madison River in Montana. He continued to ascend effortlessly until he disappeared from my vision. In the five minutes that he was within my view, I never saw him beat his wings. He simply rode those hot air currents higher and higher. He was dependent on something other than his own strength.

The waiting period was intended that you and I might sense our weakness, inability, and frailty, and depend wholly on the Lord.

It’s Christmas day…the waiting is over.

This morning children of every age will awaken with this thought: The waiting is over. For days now they have been staring at the packages under the tree, and waiting. Perhaps some have even succumbed to their own curiosity, and haven’t waited.

Are you among those who have a Christmas secret in your past?  You looked to the left, then to the right, carefully unwrapped the gift prior to Christmas morning, and then rewrapped it quickly and hoped no one could tell the difference?

I had a gift like that once when I was a child. It was a packaging box in the top corner of the closet that drew my attention. When I pulled it down and took a peek inside I discovered a set of ceramic bookends. One was a baseball glove, and the other a football. I kept returning to that box when no one was watching. One day when I got that box from the closet it slipped from my hand. When I looked in the box what had been two bookends was now three. I put them back in the box and never looked again. When I opened the gift I saw that the baseball glove had been put back together.  Although the observant eye (and my guilty conscience made mine very observant), could still see the fracture and the thin line of glue that now held the left bookend together. Later that day, my mother pointed out the glue and shared a curious story. She recounted that when she had first ordered the bookends they were in one piece, but when she went to wrap them one was broken. I guess I wasn’t the only one with observant eyes that morning.

There are two characters in the post-Christmas  story that had been waiting: Simeon and Anna. When the baby Jesus was brought to the temple for his dedication (40 days after his birth) Simeon appears. He had been “waiting on the consolation of Israel”  (Luke 2:25).  The word consolation means to bring comfort. That’ not only what the nation of Israel needed, but what we all need as well. Jesus is meant to bring comfort to the soul that is anxious, troubled and hurting this Christmas day.

Anna was prophetess. She had been a widow for 84 years.  And that entire time she had been “waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem” (Luke 2:38). That’s a long time to wait for something. The word redemption means to “buy back and set free.” Jesus bought us back from the addicting slavery of our selfishness and set us free to fulfill our God intended purpose — bring glory to God.

So this Christmas, as you open those gifts, pause to remember the gift that was worth the wait. The One who brings both comfort and redemption.