March 27, 2020
This week, we bring to a close our three-part newsletter series Listen, Watch, Wait with a consideration of the place of waiting in the Christian life.
To be a Christian is to be a child of God. As his children we are privileged to bring our requests to him, knowing that he cares for us. We have certainly done that as a School this week. And while God’s deep benevolence gives us great confidence in prayer, we also know that he is fully wise and just and good. He will do what is right; but often we will have to wait to know what that is. God’s answers are rarely immediate. And while this can be disconcerting, there is good reason for God’s delay. It is often in the waiting that God does his best work in us.
So, as we wait upon God we develop dependence upon him – we are confirmed in the truth that he is God, not us, and it goes best for us when we let him be God; as we wait upon God our faith is strengthened – we come to a greater acceptance of our limitations and his excellencies; as we wait upon God we are stimulated to further prayer which deepens our intimacy with God and strengthens our relationship with him; as we wait upon God we gain a greater appreciation of our fellowship with those who have waited before us – Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Ruth, Naomi, Hannah, Elizabeth – a whole host of faithful followers who have gone before us and shown us what it means to have hope and never lose heart; as we wait upon God we are forced to examine our hearts to see if there is anything in us which might be blocking his blessing from getting through to us or causing us to be deaf to his voice; as we wait upon God our character is refined – we develop the fruit of the Spirit which includes patience, faithfulness and self-control.
If we appreciate how God uses the wait to grow us, we can appreciate that our waiting is not outside his plan but a necessary and vital part of it. It is not Plan B. Instead, the waiting game is how he refines and equips us to be the people he wants us to be.
I think this is what the prophet Isaiah is getting at in one of the most famous passages in the Bible (Isaiah 40.28-31):
Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
30 Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.
The Christian life is a waiting game: God speaks, we listen, we watch, we wait. But this waiting game is bigger than our own personal stories. It is as big as God’s story. Ultimately, to be a Christian is to wait for the return of Jesus who will right all wrongs and usher in a new heaven and earth marked by justice, righteousness and peace. This is the Christian hope and it is this hope that gives us reason not to despair when we encounter dark days like the present.