How to Find Courage in the Waiting
“Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage …” Psalm 27:14 (ESV)
We sit in a humble huddle of plastic chairs, sharing our stories with a stream of tears. At first glance, we have little in common other than the Bibles in our laps. We’re women of various ages, stages and backgrounds, yet bound by an invisible thread: We’re all living in the throes of delay.
Some of us are waiting for healing and others for breakthrough. Some are waiting for prodigals to return and others for marriages to resurrect.
We’ve spent the weekend together at a women’s retreat, lifting our hands in worship and bowing our heads in prayer. All too soon, we’ll pack our suitcases and go our separate ways, but for now, we find comfort in our circle.
Our tales are different, but our ache is the same.
“Waiting hurts,” murmurs a woman with beautiful eyes and a gentle smile.
“And it’s exhausting,” another adds as she digs for a tissue in her purse and dabs at the drizzles of sadness sliding down her cheeks.
We talk about the nights when our doubts run wild and the days when our faith shrinks small. We confess the ways uncertainty is sapping our strength and stirring our fear. This is making space to share our struggles, but what we need most is wisdom in our waiting. So we shift our focus to the Bibles in our laps.
Psalm 27 was written by one familiar with the discomfort of delay.
Even though David was anointed as a teenager to be God’s chosen king, he waited years for the promised crown. In the bewildering gap between his sacred anointing and his royal appointing, he tended sheep in obscurity, served his leaders with loyalty and battled enemies with bravery. He was mocked by his own brothers, betrayed by confidantes and hunted by the ruler who was supposed to protect him. In the end, David spent more than a decade on the run before God placed him on the throne.
It would have been easy for David to give up on God in the waiting. But Psalm 27 tells a different tale. When David’s situation didn’t seem to match God’s declaration, he chose not to run from the Lord but toward him. (Psalm 27:4)
As my friends and I study the chapter, we linger long over verse 14, and we wonder if the truth it touts is possible.
“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage …” (Psalm 27:14).
From the shadows of our own delay, it’s tempting to dismiss David’s bold words as empty encouragement. But when we consider David’s story, we realize he’s not expressing a flippant commendation; he’s sharing a hard-earned realization — there is a way to grow strong in the waiting.
While David could have used many different Hebrew words to communicate the concept of strength, he selected the Hebrew word quvah, meaning "to bind together." Quvah evokes the image of a tightly woven cord.
With the gentle brushstroke of a single word, David paints a poignant picture of the source of his daily strength. David didn’t just wait on God; he spent time with God.
He worshipped and prayed, (v.4) sought the Lord’s instruction and obeyed. (v.7) He looked for God’s goodness (v.14) and celebrated God’s faithfulness. And as David twined his hope to God’s heart, he found courage in the waiting.
Then, when his lament finally turned to a laud of praise, God’s chosen king penned a promise to assure us we can become brave waiters too.
When we draw near to Jesus in our waiting — paying attention to His presence and talking honestly with Him in prayer, fueling our faith with His Word and binding our confidence to His character — our strength swells instead of sags. Our hope flourishes instead of fizzles.
But best of all, we don’t just gain the grit to press on — we garner the gift of pressing in. Right there in the middle of the uncertainty we’d hoped to avoid, Jesus offers us the intimacy for which we’ve always longed. And instead of unraveling in the waiting, we find ourselves bound to a Savior who won’t let us go.
Dear Jesus, increase my awareness of Your presence in my delay and help me to see Your unchanging faithfulness today. I want to know and love You even more when this season of waiting is over. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Isaiah 40:31, “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” (ESV)
Do you ever wonder, “What is the point of waiting?” When you find yourself stuck in between what your life is and what you want your life to be, it is hard to imagine God will bring any good from this. We’ve been there, friend, and that's why we created this free, five-day devotional just for you. While We Wait: 5 Devotions to Find Purpose in the Midst of Waiting will help you discover purpose for the circumstances you didn’t ask for and the seasons you don’t want to be in. Click here to download now.
Join Alicia on her blog today for more encouragement in the waiting, and grab a free printable of today’s key verse.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What’s one way you can spend time with Jesus today and draw courage from His companionship? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments.
© 2021 by Alicia Bruxvoort. All rights reserved.
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