Lessons from Waiting

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When I think of the word wait, I sometimes react the way a toddler would, kicking and screaming. There have been numerous periods of waiting throughout my life. Some have been far more difficult than others. I’ve reacted in various ways during times of waiting, the worst of which I am ashamed of. As I think about my reactions in the past I am encouraged to find a better way to wait, a way to wait more faithfully, putting my trust in the one true God.

We are currently in a season of waiting for God to move us. Quite literally. We love our current house but feel the need to be closer to church family and work. So, we are waiting on God’s timing and not our own, which is hard. This season of waiting has led me to think about how we wait and how waiting can honor God. As I look to the Bible for guidance on how to wait faithfully I have been drawn to the story of the Israelites, who were no strangers to waiting. Their history is a pattern of God’s rescue followed by waiting. Sin and more waiting. Law and waiting until final redemption arrived in the Messiah.

Before the Israelites spent 40 years in the wilderness, God rescued them from captivity. I can only imagine what the people expected freedom to look like, and yet God’s plan was so much different. He used their time in the wilderness to change their perspective from that of slaves to that of free people. He had a plan, and yet the people complained. He provided and the people complained. He gave them the law and they broke it. I can identify with how the Israelites reacted to their situations in which their expectations were not met. During seasons of waiting my instincts are to find a faster way through the season and to complain. It feels so natural to react that way, and yet I feel the Spirit’s pull to a better way.

So how do I wait faithfully? What have I learned from how the Israelites waited in the wilderness? In Leviticus 26: 11-13, God says, “I will put my dwelling place among you, and I will not abhor you. I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt so that you would no longer be slaves to the Egyptians; I broke the bars of your yoke and enabled you to walk with heads held high.”

I see two truths from these verses that can change the way I wait:

  1. Remember that God has not left me alone. His expectation is not for me to blaze my own way through life and to pull myself up by my bootstraps. He has given me the Holy Spirit to comfort me.
  2. Remember the faithfulness of God in my past and throughout history. The Bible is full of truth and stories that teach us about the character of God, and when I look at my story up to this point I can see how faithful God has been to me.

So, I turn to God. Over and over again. Admitting that I put the yoke of slavery to sin back on myself. Complaining and self-righteousness are old friends of mine and yet I have to forsake them over and over and turn back to the one who is faithful. He is faithful to respond, to break the yoke of slavery, and to enable me “to walk with my head held high” despite whatever circumstances in which I find myself.

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