Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Agony of Waiting

I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God.
Psalms 69:3 KJV

How do you cope with waiting? We live in a world that embraces and often demands instant gratification, so it comes as no surprise that even believers have difficulty waiting. Yet when we study the scriptures, a reoccurring theme from God is often our need to wait upon Him! Obviously God in His wisdom has decided there are lessons to be learned from waiting, since I'm sure most of us have cried out much as David did that we are weary from waiting. But are we alone in this? Look at what Paul tells us in his letter to the Romans.

For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only [they], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, [to wit], the redemption of our body. Romans 8:22,23 KJV

Why does the entire creation groan? No doubt because of the changes brought about by the fall in Genesis where even the shape of this world was altered by the introduction of sin. Notice that Paul is telling us here that both nature and man are waiting for the exact same event; the return of Christ!

I have noticed lately that many believers are becoming weary from waiting for the return of the Lord for His church. Although we as believers know without a doubt that what we are seeing today are the labor pains leading up to our Lord's return, it is still difficult to watch what is occurring all around us, and patiently wait for His return. I'm sure I'm not the only one to notice a recurring theme in the headlines lately. Look at these examples from just this past week.

Demonstrators disrupt health care forums...
Democrats: 'Angry mobs' out to 'destroy Obama'...
It's real anger - not 'manufactured'...
Opponents of Healthcare Plan Take Glee in Democratic Anger...
Conservatives blame liberal union for town hall violence...
Protest against Obama’s health care reform continues...
Right-wing protest over President Obama’s Health Bill ends in violence...

Is it no wonder we find it difficult to wait upon the Lord? We watch as our nation experiences anger, protest, and even violence. Yet that it what is expected of us as believers, so I think it important that we should be looking for some of the reasons God asks this of us. I would like to share just three ideas I have about why we as believers find ourselves in this situation right now.

One: We are being prepared to fully appreciate eternity with our Lord.

For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 2 Corinthians 4:17 NASB

The more we must endure down here increases the joy we will find when we finally experience the glory of life with God in the place He has prepared for us. The longer the wait, the stronger the anticipation and the greater the appreciation.

Two: We are being strengthened with power from above which allows us to complete the tasks He has set for us here.

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew [their] strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31 KJV

We know what is expected of us here on this earth, and it should come as no surprise that the opportunities to share our faith will increase dramatically as the end draws near. In a way, you could say this is our time to shine, and God has promised to give us the strength necessary to succeed.

Three: We are to be living examples of His faithfulness.

For the LORD is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting And His faithfulness to all generations. Psalms 100:5 KJV

I have three daughters who are grown and living on their own now, and one of the lessons about life that I often have an opportunity to share with them is God's faithfulness. Of course I have to explain to them it's easier for me because I am a little older than they are (okay, a lot older) but having experienced more examples of God's faithfulness makes it easier to accept whatever situation I find myself in. I simply remind them of the situations in their past when they were in agony about waiting for something, yet God always came through. In these situations God demonstrates His faithfulness to us, and also through us so others can see.

At times, waiting can be agony. I won't deny that and neither will you. I am so ready for Jesus to return, but He isn't here yet and we are being asked to wait a little longer. How long? I have no idea, but it certainly doesn't look like it will be much longer until the labor pains will be over and we will be delivered to glory with Him, and the world to tribulation. There are reasons to making us wait. Look to God for strength, and be busy making the most of the opportunities we have in the short time we have left.

Keep watching.