cries the cartoon comic character. His head grows to twice the size of his body and is colored in with bright red marker. His eyes are big black Xs and his mouth a hole large enough to swallow the page. He is ANGRY and his temper is portrayed garishly.
Lucy from Peanuts with her screaming tonsil. The hulk ripping apart his clothes.
Many of you lived under that parent. Or lived with that spouse, Many of you had that child. Or sibling. Or friend. Many of you ARE that person yourself.
I’m not a gaping hole of scream, a yelling monster of madness.
So I smugly walk around fooling myself that I’m all right.
I may not be a yeller who has a temper – and that’s only by the grace of God. MY faults are far worse and far more crafty. I’m still an impatient person. A frustrated person. I just show it differently.
I show it in a burst of tears when my child disobeys for the eleven hundred and twenty-second time. I show it in the whine that comes from my own mouth, not my two-year-old. I show it in how I complain to my husband. I show it in the frustration that makes me look at my children and say, “I give up.” I show it in my lack of faith. I often live my daily life as if God doesn’t listen or won’t answer my prayers. I wonder if I’ve ever really learned how to Biblically wait.
And that’s dangerous indeed. Far more dangerous than being a volcano once in a while. I’m the worst kind of impatient person.
The one who makes it a lifestyle.
I’m currently studying Joseph. He was sold into slavery by his own brothers. He was put in charge of Pharaoh’s captain of the guard’s household, but he was still a slave. Then, when he refused to give in to temptation, he was imprisoned. Interpreting a dream for Pharaoh’s cupbearer should’ve been his ticket out of the stinkhole he had been falsely thrown into, and yet he was forgotten. For two years after that, he must have lived in wait thinking, “Today’s the day, right? The old man’s going to show up with a parade to free me, right? The wine guy had to have shared about me now, right? Maybe processing paperwork is taking a few more weeks?”
I thought about HOW HARD that would’ve been for me. I thought about the grumbling and whining and crying and moping I would’ve done. I could almost feel the tears of doubt and faithlessness falling on my cheeks. Faithlessness as I waited on God’s timing and provision. Waited. Oh, the pain of it! Waiting like feeling someone scratching a long knife across my arm so slowly, every centimeter pain, the burning of the injustice and suffering of it. Not knowing when it would stop. Would it ever stop?
See, I always believe it won’t. I give up before I’ve begun!
What are you waiting on? For that day when you can get every task completed? For that child’s heart to change? That husband to become a leader in your home? The salvation of a friend? To stop being too scared to do what you know you should do? For money or a better job? For the abuse to end? For someone to forgive you? For someone to come home? To become like Christ?
Psalm 37 has the answer. In verses 3-11 we find FIVE GEMS OF WAITING. These five truths are things to memorize and meditate on so that we can learn to wait on the Lord. This is our solution:
(“Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.” – v. 3)
What does it mean to trust the Lord? It goes hand and hand with obedience. It says, “Do good.” Live where you’ve been placed, become bosom friends with faithfulness. Obey and do what you know is good every single day. These are the soil, sun, water, and fertilizer for the baby sprout called “Trust.”
(“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” – v. 4)
This doesn’t mean that if you spend some time feeling some lovey emotions toward Jesus that a Ferrari is going to pop up in your garage. This means that, when your heart starts really being like His, your desires are going to change to be like His as well. When you truly delight in God and who He is, your desires are going to become exactly what He wants them to be – so that He can fulfill them!
(“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.” – v. 5-6)
This is a promise! If you give over your ways, your desires, your future, your wants, your fears – all that you are WAITING for, He will act! He will be your justice. And He was for Joseph.
FOUR: BE STILL
(“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in His way, over the man who carries out evil devices!”)
I can picture this one so vividly! That two-year-old of mine is fidgeting, fidgeting, ever struggling to see beyond my hands that are gathering up her baby-fine hair. She wants to know what’s happening in every second that she cannot be a part of. She’s missing out – how long will this updo take? It can’t possibly be more important than what exciting mystery Baby is experiencing in the corner. I say, “Be still.” She will look so cute once it’s done. It won’t take long. It feels like forever to her, but it’s not. Be still! Wait. How very often I am like that with my Savior.
And, finally, our thumb on our hand of gems:
(“Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself, it tends only to evil. For the evildoers shall be cut off but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land. In just a little while, the wicked will be no more; though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there. But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.” – v. 8-11)
Refrain, refrain, refrain! Don’t worry, don’t get angry, don’t doubt! It leads to EVIL! Those who wait on the Lord will inherit the land! It takes meekness, folks, to be patient, to wait and be still. To trust and commit your ways to an unseen God, especially a God who feels like He has been silent. But that God IS always there if you are still enough to forsake your doubts and listen. He wants to give you and me abundant peace. He wants to delight our very soul.
Do we doubt His goodness? Do we think the thing we are waiting for is greater than God and His promises? Do we truly believe that we will one day live in delight and peace bigger than one person even could ask for?
If the answer is no, it’s time to go back to number one on our hand of jewels.
It all starts with trust.
What do you think about when you read Psalm 37:3-11? What has the Holy Spirit spoken into your heart regarding the five gems of waiting? Let me hear your thoughts so you can teach me!