Friday, February 17, 2012

God waits, too

"Wait for the Lord" (Psalm 27:14).

"Waiting has four purposes. It practices the patience of faith. It gives time for preparation for the coming gift. It makes the blessing the sweeter when it arrives. It shows the sovereignty of God to give just when and as He pleases." Dr. James Vaughan,
Streams in the Desert.
There is also a condition attached to our waiting: "Don't be impatient for the Lord to act! Keep traveling steadily along his pathway and in due season he will honor you with every blessing" (Psalm 37:34 RSV). We are to attend to the little duties as well as to the large ones. Wait and work; pray for grace and then exercise it.

It is interesting that God also waits: "Then he waited for the harvest" (Isaiah 5:2 RSV). He waits for us to consider His nature which proves His intelligence and beauty and goodness; He waits for us to reflect on history threaded through and held together with His justice and mercy. He waits for us to realize that the alternates of adversity and prosperity, friendship and enmity, sorrow and joy, are but the instruments of His spiritual instruction that we may finally dwell in the mansions He has already prepared for us.

We waste much time waiting for signs and wonders. Christ told the expectant crowd, "This is a wicked generation. It asks for a miraculous sign" (Luke 11:29). In our day of the Gospel, which is filled with the plainest evidence of God’s care for us, we do not need to use a flashlight to shine it on the Son who is the Light of the world and we don't need to dump in our buckets of contaminated water to add to the Living Water. To ask for signs from God when He has already pledged numerous promises is to tell God we are ungrateful and undeserving.

The duty of waiting:

The Christian soldier is long in learning to wait.
Marching and countermarching are much easier to God’s warriors than standing still. There are hours of perplexity when the willing spirit anxiously desires to serve, but knows not how. Shall it vex itself by despair? fly back in cowardice? turn aside in fear? rush forward in presumption? No; simply wait; but ­
I. WAIT IN PRAYER. Call upon God; spread the case before Him; tell Him the difficulty; plead His promises.
II. WAIT IN SIMPLICITY OF SOUL. In dilemmas it is sweet to be humble as a child. It is sure to be well with us when we feel and know our folly, and are willing to be guided by God’s will.
III. WAIT IN FAITH. Express unwavering confidence; for unfaithful, untrusting confidence is an insult to the Lord. Believe that though He keeps us tarrying He will come at the right time and will not tarry.
IV. WAIT IN QUIET PATIENCE. Not rebelling under the affliction, but blessing God for it; nor murmuring against second causes, as the children of Israel against Moses; nor wishing to go back to the world again; but accepting the case as it stands, and putting it simply and whole-heartedly into the hands of our covenant God. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

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