When Waiting Is Good
Christians often poke gentle fun at themselves when the following is heard in a committee meeting: “Well, it seems we’re out of options—I guess we need to pray.” Invariably the reply will come, “So, it’s come down to that, has it?” The failure being pointed out is that we often do last what we should do first, and that is to seek the Lord. But sometimes, preemptory prayers notwithstanding, we find ourselves in situations of increasing pain and danger. The value of those experiences is that they cause us anew to focus our hope on the Lord.
For instance, the godly king Jehoshaphat of Judah found himself facing a huge invading army. While he had already renewed Judah’s focus on God by tearing down idol altars and teaching the people God’s word (2 Chron. 17:6-9), his focus was about to be made much sharper (you can read his amazing story in 2 Chron. 20). He gathered the people together—“all the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones”—and prayed for help. A great statement of focused faith in the sufficiency of God alone came as the last sentence of his prayer: “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.” Now that’s focus. The only resource in Jehoshaphat’s field of vision was God. If God didn’t do it, it wasn’t going to get done.
This is the kind of focus Jeremiah the prophet is talking about in Lamentations. Years after Jehoshaphat’s reign, Jeremiah wrote to lament the destruction of Jerusalem. The city and temple were demolished, the best of her people had been taken as captives to Babylon, there was no food to eat—it was a disaster. But Jeremiah said, “It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” Because God’s compassions are new every morning, who knows what tomorrow will bring? “Therefore, I will wait for him.”
If you are in a painful place right now, with absolutely nowhere to go or turn, don’t invent something to do. Let pain do its focusing work. Be content to wait on the Lord. “The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him.”
God’s Promise to You: “I delight in being your first, last, and only hope!”