So, what connotations does the word “wait” have for you? Is it mostly positive, negative, or neutral? I may be wrong, but I am guessing for many of us (most of us?), the word, and especially the act of waiting leans more toward the negative. Honestly, I think waiting often has a lot of groaning attached to it (Rom. 8:23-25. Also, I suppose it depends upon what or who we are waiting for. Some are waiting for their tax return, while others are waiting for a Prodigal to return. One kind of waiting is far more painful and requires more faith than the other. “Wait a second” we say (pun intended!). And, I suppose, that phrase alone reveals much of our challenge. Or, we might say, “wait a minute . . .” I have heard both phrases used often. Wait a second or wait a minute. But I have never heard someone say, “Wait an hour, day, week, month, year. . .” I don’t mind so much waiting a second or a minute, but any longer than that infringes upon my sense of entitlement or “sovereignty”. Waiting, especially when the wait is long, can be difficult. Does God care? Is He good? Can He be trusted? As the prophet Isaiah wrote to the exiles in Babylon, they were asking similar questions. Ponder losing nearly everything that matters to you. Your home, some friends and family members, your place of worship and all the things that gave you a sense of identity/security. Gone. God’s people needed comfort and tenderness (Isaiah 40:1-2). They asked the same questions that everyone asks in times of loss and confusion. We read:
Why would you ever complain, O Jacob, or, whine, Israel, saying,
“God has lost track of me. He doesn’t care what happens to me”?
Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening?
God doesn’t come and go. God lasts.
He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine.
He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath.
And he knows everything, inside and out.
He energizes those who get tired,
gives fresh strength to dropouts.
For even young people tire and drop out,
young folk in their prime stumble and fall.
But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.
They spread their wings and soar like eagles,
They run and don’t get tired,
they walk and don’t lag behind.” – Isaiah 40:27-31, MSG)
In my last post, I wrote about walking in the rain, and, how all of us will have to do this as life goes on. Trouble happens. Pain, disappointment, along with the seeming “lateness” of God’s attention to us happens all the time. Can I gently assure you, He has not lost track of you, and, He does care what happens to you. Our part? Waiting (vs.31). And, when you have a hard time waiting any longer than a second or a minute (!), ask God for the grace to help you wait. He’s listening. He cares. When the time comes that we do remember His care, we will get fresh strength from Him. And, while waiting for God in the meantime can be a mean time, God will be kind to you. He knows waiting for Him involves groaning (Romans 8:23-25). And He’s okay with that.