Psalm 37:7 Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him;Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.
Have you ever been to an amusement park and hard to wait in line? Some of them have little signs that say “from here, the wait is 30 minutes.” I’m not sure if they are intended to encourage you or kill you! Maybe you have never had the privilege of waiting at an amusement park so let me ask you this do you enjoy standing in long lines at WalMart? How do you feel about having to wait? If you are like me, you don’t like it. But why do we hate waiting? I think it may have it’s roots in our basic understanding of what it means to wait. We view waiting in a passive manner. “Well, I can’t do much about it so I guess I’ll just have to WAIT.” We think of waiting as wasting time yet God calls us to wait on Him not to waste time but to redeem it. The problem is that we have been conditioned by the world to “get it now.” We have become impatient, impetuous and impulsive and one of our greatest struggles in the Christian life is to wait upon. God’s plan for waiting isn’t wasting our time it is resting in Him. As we read Psalm 37 we see a contrast between the wicked and the righteous. It is easy to get sidetracked with what others are doing and start to wonder and worry. The Psalms remind us of four critical factors, Fear not, Fret not, Faint not, and Forget not. Yet for most of us the words that would describe the world we live in would be frazzled, frantic and frustrated. We are called to live faithful lives not frantic ones and to do that we need a rest that can only come from waiting in the presence of The Lord.
The Hebrew word for “rest” means to be silent, to be still, to wait, the problem is that this goes back to our basic view of waiting. We are taught from an early age to get going and to stay in motion. We believe that being busy is best and because belief always affects behavior we are constantly busy. As a result many Christians lead frazzled lives where there is much fighting and frustration. We seem to prefer keeping the antacid companies in business than rest in the Almighty. Psalm 37 gives us a progressive prescription for heartburn free living, in it we see a chain of living linked together in a relationship with The Lord:
1. Trust in the Lord. Vs. 3
2. Delight yourself in the Lord. Vs. 4
3. Commit your way to the Lord. Vs. 5
4. Rest in the Lord. Vs. 7
5. Wait on the Lord. Vs. 34
Most of us when we think about waiting tend to focus on what we are waiting for but with God why we are waiting is just as important as what we are waiting for. From the time God called Abraham and told him that he was to be a father of a great nation until the birth of Isaac was 24 years. God was teaching Abraham something as he waited those 24 years. From the time that God promised Jacob that his family would leave Egypt and become the nation of Israel was 400 years. God was teaching the Israelites something as they waited those 400 years. In Romans 8 Paul gives us a clue as to why we wait: Romans 8:23 “Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies”
We wait so that God can do the work, so that during the time of waiting we become what God wants us to be. Waiting brings rest because we relax and leave the work to The Lord, but waiting on the Lord requires trusting in the Lord. Waiting puts us in a position where we have to learn to trust God. My problem is that I want what God has for me but I don’t want to wait for it in His timing. We may want His truth but we don’t want His timing, so rather than wait for His timing we settle for what we can do. Waiting brings rest because its not all up to us, the problem here is that we like to be in control. If I am forced to wait then I am not in control, someone else is and I have to yield to their control and that is humbling. This brings us to one of the often overlooked reasons why it is hard to wait, waiting on the Lord requires humility. Waiting with grace by its very nature requires humility. As a husband I might wait for my wife because she is not ready and I have to but how do I wait, is it with grace? Waiting on God reminds us that He is the One who does the work because He is in control. When we forget this we end up leading frantic hurried lives where instead of resting we are revving up the motor. This world is so deceiving, it entices us to move up the ladder of success by causing us to buy into the belief that the higher we move up the less we will have to wait. Yet no matter your position or your power in this world you still need to wait on the Lord. Many of us forfeit the gift of rest because we will not wait on the Lord. We need to be reminded that waiting is not wasting, so are you going to wait or work?