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Waiting on the Lord

(Lamentations 3:22-36)

Lesson 10 -- third quarter 2007
August 5, 2007

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2007

Needy hoping

Perhaps as you read this you are going through a time of desperate need. You no longer know what to do to help yourself. All you've done has not helped. Only God can resolve the matter and help you. So you are waiting on Him, hoping He will decide to take up your cause. You are taking hope from Jeremiah 3:25 and 26:

"The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quiety wait for the salvation of the LORD."

While you wait and hope and wonder, consider a friend of mine who has ventured into the blazing Sonoran desert that straddles Mexico and the United States. One of those times he found himself in a strange, oppressive land...and low on water. He and his companions walked and walked, heading north, aware that they might not reach civilization again before dehydration defeated and killed them. They took plenty of risks in that effort to enter the US illegally because they felt in desperate, urgent need of jobs and money. But after a couple of days in the desert, that need faded into something far less as their increasing thirst brought home a new overarching need -- water. They learned about the panting of the hart of which Psalm 42:1 speaks -- "As the hart panteth after the water brooks...." (Eventually they made it to water and lived to tell their tale.)

Let's get back to your need, the one for which you continue to wait on God. How would you categorize that need? Is it a need like the ones that drove my friend into the desert or is it a need like the one that almost kept him in the desert? Do you have even greater needs that you might be ignoring?

As I read that paragraph, I suspect I'm not getting to my point very clearly. So consider the rest of Psalm 42:1 as well the verse that follows it.

"So panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?"

Oh yeah. Among our other needs (even the desperate ones), there is the matter of our souls. As much as our bodies need water, our souls need God far more. I know that to be true both from study and from experience. Even so, most of the time I ignore or overlook that huge need. I do not pant after God as my friend panted after water. I do not push myself to satisfy my soul's thirsting for God. It seems I want God to meet my needs without my having to "work" at it. Do you know what I mean?

When shall I come before God? Maybe tomorrow. Who knows, maybe even later on today. You know, when I have more time or at least less distractions. My friend, those are not the answers of one who is paying attention to his desperate need! I do want God to draw me to Himself. I do want to draw close to Him.

Fine. But what does that have to do with the urgent need you have right now?

My friend who was waterless in the desert was finally down to his determination to live and his rediscovered hope in God. His hope clung fiercely to God and he clung fiercely to his hope. We all have that need. And our hope in God is always an urgent need. This needful hope enables us to surmount the obstacles we face in life. This essential hope keeps us going when many things and other people go wrong. And this blessed hope gives us a song in the night of our life. Not only that, our steadfast hope gives us purpose and direction when life is bright, cheery, and positive.

Did you know you can nourish your hope in God? Yes! This is a hope we need never give up or lose. Sadly, many people do, and they just wouldn't have to. Hope in God is developed and then nourished and strengthened by...focusing on God. Keep your eyes on Him, and you'll always have hope.

Accept His timing

Remember Jairus? He had expected his little girl to get over her sickness. Then he had hoped against hope that she would improve. Finally he had hurried off to plead with Jesus for His help. He knew if Jesus intervened, his daughter would recover speedily if not immediately. Even though Jesus agreed to intervene, people kept getting in the way and impeding their progress. Then Jesus stopped to help someone who wasn't even at the point of death. What was He doing?! Didn't He know time was of the essence? It must have been extremely difficult for Jairus to stand and wait on Jesus and His timing.

Perhaps you feel that way. God wants you also to accept His timing. Accept it with submission. Accept it in faith and hope. Accept that the Timeless One knows more about time and timing that you do. If someone's timing is wrong, believe that it will never be His.

Another kind of waiting

Waiting -- that is what we are doing. Waiting -- for the promised redemption. Waiting -- on the Lord to come back for His own. Waiting -- in expectation. Waiting -- as we have been commanded.

But what shall we do while we wait?

Some two millennia ago, the followers of Jesus were told to wait for His return. They were also told to wait for power from on high. The power came and they took off. They busied themselves in the Lord's work while they waited for His return.

Could it be that in our age we might do too much waiting? Sure, we wait for the Second Coming, but maybe we also wait to do the Lord's business. At times it seems our transmissions are stuck in Park.

If a car is in the wrecking yard with no power train, then it doesn't matter if the gear selector points at P. It is understandable that it doesn't do what cars are supposed to do -- go from point A to point B carrying a load.

Christians shouldn't lie abandoned in life's wrecking yard! The Lord sent His Spirit to comfort and encourage us in our waiting for His return, and to empower us for Christian living and Kingdom work.

So I ask you: are you just waiting or are you busy waiting?

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