Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I Waited Patiently...

I am not a patient man. The microwave heats food too slowly. Stop lights seem to last minutes. I hate to stand in line.

So, you can imagine what it feels like when I read scripture verses like Psalm 40:1. “I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry.” David called out to God, then waited patiently for the Lord to hear his cry and deliver him. He waited. Patiently.

David was in trouble when he wrote this Psalm. He doesn’t tell us what the trouble was, but he describes it as being in a “slimy pit” filled with mud and mire. It was not good. You have probably been there. It may have been after you lost a loved one, or when you struggled with long term illness, or when your marriage is going sour, or your job is providing you an ulcer in addition to a paycheck. Whatever the stresses and trials of life, sometimes you feel like you are at the bottom of David’s slimy pit, knee deep in the mud.

When life is a slimy pit, we want a change. A new job. A new church. A new spouse. We want to escape from life, to get out of the pit. The temptation is to take action based on our emotions, our wisdom, our reason. We strike back at those who hurt us. We run away from our circumstances. We become angry and bitter.

Not King David. He tried something unique; counterintuitive to human nature. He called out to God and waited for God to act. He waited patiently. How long did he wait? Who knows? Noah waited 100 years after God promised a flood for the rains to start. Abraham waited 25 years for the promised child. Noah waited until he was 80 to begin the work he was destined for. Faith is waiting patiently for God to do what he said he would do.

Recently, I was in a slimy pit. Oh, maybe a small pit, with minor sliminess, but it was no fun. I wanted to run away. I wanted to lash out. But, for one of the unfortunately few times in my life, I called out to God. He heard me. He acted in his own time, and lifted me out of the pit. It took way longer than I thought it should, but God was faithful. At least I did not have to wait 25 years.

Look at what God does when we call out to him for help. He lifts us up, sets our feet on solid rock, and gives us a song of joy in our hearts. That’s his job. Your job is to call out to him in your distress and to wait patiently for his answer.

There is no question as to whether God will do his work. He will respond to the needs of his children, set us on a solid foundation and put his joy in our hearts. He will be faithful. The only question is whether you and I will call out to him, and wait patiently for his work.

Wait patiently, don’t get angry. Wait patiently, don’t lash out. Wait patiently, don’t despair. Wait patiently, don’t devise a fleshly scheme. Wait patiently on the Lord. He’s listening!

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