Waiting on God
by Kathleen Gwie
"I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD." (Psalms 27:13-14)
"But as for me, I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the lovingkindness of God forever and ever. I will give You thanks forever, because You have done it, And I will wait on Your name, for it is good, in the presence of Your godly ones." (Psalms 52:8-9 )
My 3-year-old, Hannah, has a hard time waiting! It was worse when she was only 2. If we put her shoes on, she had to go outside right NOW! If we happened to say the words "ice cream" or "candy", she had to have some right NOW! If her hopes weren't immediately filled, she would cry and whine to no end. But now that she's a little older, she has learned to wait a little longer. She can play quietly with her shoes on, knowing that soon she will go outside. She can wait for ice cream or candy, sometimes for (gasp!) hours on end, because she knows mommy or daddy will fulfill their promise.
Some requests that we bring to God are so urgent and troubling that it is hard for us to wait for His answer. Like a toddler, we fall to pieces when God doesn't give the answer we hoped for right NOW. But how did the Psalmist David find strength to wait on God? He waited at least 15 YEARS from the time he was anointed king to the time he actually became king of Judah, and another 7 years before he became king of all Israel. Meanwhile, King Saul was trying to find David and kill him. At the writing of Psalms 52, King Saul's henchman, Doeg the Edomite had just slaughtered a group of innocent priests because they helped David (see 1 Samuel 22). Talk about problems! David needed help NOW!
In these Psalms, I see three clues to David's patient perseverance in the midst of urgent and ongoing trials.
- One, he "believed he would see the goodness of the LORD". Even though everything looked bleak now, David had faith that God would answer in His way, in His time. When we pray, and the answer doesn't come, do we also have faith enough to wait on God? Jesus asks, in the Parable of the Persistent Widow, "...when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8 b)
- The second clue, in Psalm 52:9, is that David waited on God's Name. Although David wasn't shy about letting God know his needs, he was careful not to put his hope in the particular answer or outcome that he wanted. Instead, David put his hope in the LORD's Name. Proverbs 18:10 says "The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous runs into it and is safe." Our God is the all-powerful, all-loving God! He is Jehovah I AM. He is our Abba, Father. As we praise Him with any of His wonderful names and attributes*, we give God glory, and we are encouraged and strengthened.
- Third, David waited on God's name, "in the presence of Your godly ones". As we pray together with fellow believers, we encourage one another, we please God, and we can give thanks together when the answer comes. There is power when we pray in unity with other believers. In Matthew 18:19-20, Jesus says, “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
We are in an exciting time at our church, where we are praying for many great things that only God can do. As my toddler is learning to trust her parents and wait for their answer, will we trust God's Name and wait for Him? Let's pray and never give up!
*You can download a prayer calendar called: "30 Days of Praying the Names and Attributes of God" at navigators.org