Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Waiting Is The Hardest Part

We are a people who wait. It’s just what we do. At traffic lights, at checkout lines, at gas pumps and restaurants, we wait. I imagine that if we were to total it up, we would find that we spend a rather significant portion of our adult lives waiting for one thing or another. Sometimes our waiting is peaceful and mild mannered, yet at other times (perhaps as we become more and more used to the world of instant-everything) our waiting is filled with frustration and impatience. It’s not just the small stuff that we wait for. We all experience seasons in our life where we are waiting: waiting on an answer, waiting for God’s direction as we face a major decision, waiting for an end to a season of hurt or of doubt, waiting for justice to be done, waiting to be noticed, accepted, and loved. The bottom line is this: at some point in our lives we will wait, and while we are here in this place, waiting, what are we supposed to do?

I recently came across the story of a man who was in a season of waiting. The book of Habakkuk is one of those minor prophet books we often forget are tucked away in the Bible until we stumble across it, but what I found is a story chock full of humanity and relevance. If you have never read the book of Habakkuk I strongly recommend that you do so (it’s only three chapters long!), but here’s the skinny: Habakkuk was a prophet living in Judah during a time when he saw his own people disobeying the Lord. He waited and waited for justice to be done but it seemed to never come. When Habakkuk questions God’s lack of response and allowance of evil to continue, God responds by telling Habakkuk that He does know what has been going on and in fact is raising up the Babylonians (who are even more wicked than Judah) as a chastening rod against Judah. As you can imagine Habakkuk is even more perplexed and troubled by this answer and responds with more questions and more doubt about exactly what God is trying to accomplish. It is here where God responds a second time that I was struck by these words:

“For [the vision] is yet for the appointed time; It hastens towards the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it: For it will certainly come, it will not delay.” (2:3)

God proceeds to reveal to Habakkuk that He is completely in control of all that is taking place and that not only will He bring about His perfect plan, but that it will take place in His perfect time. When Habakkuk hears the Lord speak a second time, he has clearly undergone a change of perspective and responds with a heart of praise in the face of adversity, claiming that regardless of the current situation he faces he will rejoice in the Lord and allow God to be his source of joy and strength (v.18).

As I read this I began to think about the seasons of waiting I have experienced personally. So many times I have wanted to rush God into a solution that would benefit my needs immediately, only to find that God had a much better plan in store if I would only learn to wait on His timing. There are often times when we feel as though God is not responding as we think He ought to be, but it is during these times that we need to have a change of perspective and remember that God is in control of far more than we can even comprehend. While things in the here and now may not make the most sense to us, we must trust His plan and His timing. When we are able to leave things in the hands of the Creator, we no longer have to carry around the weight of controlling our outcomes and instead can find strength and peace in the God we serve. Regardless of our present circumstance, regardless of what we are waiting for, God is God, and therefore deserves all of the worship we can give.

Written by Brett, my awesome co-worker buddy

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