I am weary with my crying; My throat is dry; My eyes fail while I wait for my God. Psalms 69:3 NKJV
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, and I'm sure most of us have cried out much as David did because 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 groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only [that], but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. Romans 8:22-23 NKJV
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! And the reason we groan? We as believers know what we will receive when Christ calls us home to be with Him forever. The anticipation of leaving this earth grows every day as we watch the events around us which give evidence that the world is, like in Noah's day, moving farther away from God rather than towards Him.
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. 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 understand what God wants from us as He asks us to wait for His return.
Let us hold fast the confession of [our] hope without wavering, for He who promised [is] faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as [is] the manner of some, but exhorting [one another], and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
Hebrews 10:23-25 NKJV
As I thought about this passage one of the ideas that came to mind was that discouragement means our focus is inward. We get discouraged because our concern is about what we have yet to receive, impatience that we are being asked to wait, and probably a little doubt about the validity of the promise. I think that is why Paul's first advice to us concerns God's faithfulness. We often need to be reminded that God is always faithful to deliver on His promises. It's never a question of “if”, but of “when”.
He who calls you [is] faithful, who also will do [it].
1 Thessalonians 5:24 NKJV
Of course, if we stop looking in and start looking out, we then see that there are others who will benefit from the encouragement we can give by sharing the message of God's faithfulness. How often have we thought that we were alone in being discouraged when in fact there are so many others within the body that deal with the same problems we do. Becoming discouraged while being made to wait is something we have all felt at one time or another, and what better way to cope than to get together with other believers who can empathize and encourage? Sharing the encouragement of God's faithfulness to others in the body is Paul's advice to us especially at this time.
“and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” I think that this phrase is also Paul's way of saying that the closer we get to the rapture of the church, the more the need for encouragement. I read more and more every day of those in the body who are going through hard times and facing attacks from the enemy and are in desperate need of encouragement. I have no doubt that Noah and his family felt their share of persecution in the time leading up to the flood, and how difficult it must have been to not get discouraged as they waited for the Lord. Yet I believe the key once again is to look forward to the promise we have from God with the knowledge He is faithful to do as He has promised.
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding [and] eternal weight of glory,
2 Corinthians 4:17 NKJV
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. 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.
For the LORD [is] good; His mercy [is] everlasting, And His truth [endures] to all generations.
Psalms 100:5 NKJV
Are you discouraged today? Does it seem like what we are waiting for will never get here? Let me encourage you by reminding you that our hope is in the Lord. He is always faithful to do as He has said. God has never failed to fulfil a promise, and of course He never will. Take the time we have left by sharing this promise with others and encourage them to receive the gift of eternal life if they have not already done so.
At times, waiting can be agony. I won't deny that and neither will you. It's easy to become discouraged when we are asked to wait when our expectations are so high. How long? I have no idea, but it certainly doesn't look like it will be much longer until the labour pains will be over and we will be delivered to glory with Him, and the world to it's tribulation. There are reasons for making us wait, and it goes without saying that every day the Church remains is another day that we can share the promise of salvation that is available because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Look to God for strength, and be busy making the most of the opportunities we have in the short time we have left.