Imagine that you are the sheep in the pastures of Psalm 23. These aren’t your regular pastures, the lush green fields of Ireland or in the southeastern parts of England. These pastures are dry and arid. Lush, green grass is limited here. You follow your shepherd, wondering when you are going to stop. You’re thirsty, and you’re hungry. But you know that your shepherd would never leave you without anything. So, you keep walking, hoping, waiting, and trusting. Resting in the promise that his rod and staff comfort you, that goodness and mercy follow you all the days of your life (Psalm 23:4;6)
Imagine you are Ezekiel, staring out into the massive area of dry bones. You wonder: how long have these bones been there? They have been deserted, not even given a proper burial. You stare into the valley that is filled with bones. How long had these bones been waiting to be revived by the word of the Lord? Ezekiel may have had these questions and more
Imagine being those who encountered Jesus. They had not heard God’s voice for 400 years, and suddenly, he appears in the flesh. He appears differently than they expected, and he changes the course of history forever.
We have all found ourselves in a period of waiting. Waiting for our anxiety to get better. Waiting for our loved ones to stop fighting. Waiting for the home, the spouse, the new job, the “there” that will include better days. Something that will push away the cloud of darkness that seems to never leave us.
We know the promises God has made to us. We know what he has said. But in seasons of waiting, it can be tempting to forget. To move in our strength to get “there” when we might not be ready to get there yet. There may still be some things that God is trying to do on the inside of us before he brings us into what he has promised.
What’s more, I am with you, and I will protect you wherever you go. One day I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have finished giving you everything I have promised you.Genesis 28:15 NLT
Instead of resting in “this day,” as the Lord’s prayer advises, we might try to push past “this” to get to “that.”
Waiting is hard. Feelings of anger, frustration, confusion, doubt, and fear arise. It can sometimes be hard to see what is happening while we wait. But the beautiful thing is that God is always doing something. We just need the faith to trust and rest in his promise.
Philippians 1:6 reminds us “that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” (NLT)
His hand is always at work, even in the waiting. He not only renews our strength, but he restores us and brings us to a deeper level of relationship with Him, the one who knows us best.
We can easily strive in seasons of waiting. Push forward when God told us to simply rest and enjoy this time. To go, go, go until we crash. But what about rest? God desires rest for his people, his children.
He doesn’t need us to strive to please him; he is already pleased with us. He desires for us to rest in the promises he has made for us. To stand still in our hearts and our minds as he fights the battle that seems impossible in our eyes. He is the God of the impossible.
The waiting game can seem torturous and impossible. But it is only in these moments when we learn to rest and rejoice. We have someone who is in control, who is working it all out on our behalf. Yes, there is still work to be done, but we no longer have to strive for His acceptance or approval. Instead, we can rest in His promises. His truth does not waver.
How have you seen him at work during your seasons of waiting? Maybe you’re finally out of the waiting season. But, on the other hand, perhaps you are still in one?
What has resting in His promises looked like for you? Has it been worship? Has it been surrounding yourself with community? How has your faith deepened in the waiting, in the resting?
We want to hear your stories. We pray that this series can uplift those who feel discouraged in the waiting and help us all to find a deeper rest in the Father.
Holy Bible: New Living Translation. Wheaton, Ill: Tyndale House Publishers, 2004. Print.
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