“Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” Psalm 27:14
I came across this verse a while back, and at first, I experienced these words with frustration and anger. I was tired of waiting, exhausted from being patient, and ready for answers to the prayers I continuously sent up. I knew my heart wasn’t in the right place when I felt those emotions and decided I needed to come back to these words with a better perspective.
To open our hearts to the Lord takes action on our part, which is something I often forget. It doesn’t just happen with a snap of our fingers, and when His words aren’t connecting, we need to look inside and crack our soul open to understand why. Sometimes the words that trouble us the most are the ones that will teach us the most profound lessons.
When I came back to this message from Psalm 27 with a heart that was ready to receive it, I experienced these words very differently. I had been feeling as though something was missing from my life and I was desperately seeking a way to move in a new direction. I was unsure of what my path should look like and I knew I wanted more. Thus, I allowed the confusion, doubt and frustration to take over, forgetting that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28). That is the reminder I desperately needed while attempting to absorb those words that troubled me.
More recently, this state of waiting has shown itself through a knee injury. I’m a very active person and for four months, not only was I unable to do anything physical, I spent a good majority of that time on crutches. After that came surgery and now I’ve entered the recovery period. To say I’ve had to learn this lesson on waiting all over again is a huge understatement. I am not accustomed to being sedentary, but it was necessary. I didn’t want to go through this, but it was necessary. My knee was damaged from 17 years of soccer. It needed to be fixed and this injury was the path to a healthy knee. It hasn’t been fun and I had to fight the automatic frustration and embrace a new, patient attitude.
This is how these periods of waiting work. We pray for answers, and day after day nothing changes. We either become frustrated and impatient, going about our lives questioning whether we will ever receive an answer, or we embrace acceptance and take this time to learn. We don’t want to wait or accept things the way they are, but sometimes that is what we need to do. If we open our hearts, we can learn something and we can recognize the gift in the rubble.
These days, everything is about instant gratification. We really don’t have to wait for much anymore due to the increasingly fast technology, and because of this, we do not respond well when we are asked to wait. But our trust in God’s faithfulness should not be conditional. We are to fully, whole-heartedly trust in His will, His time, His way and accept that it is good. It is not enough to pledge our trust in the Lord, but then sit in anxious frustration, attempting to try and make something happen. Nor can we give up and become disheartened. Because when we least expect it, God will break through.
“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.” Isaiah 40:31
What I have come to realize is that waiting does not equate to complacency. When we are waiting, we do not “check out” and do nothing, nor do we try desperately to escape our current situation. Rather, we actively engage in trusting the Lord, knowing His absolute and unconditional love for us. It is a profoundly spiritual state in which we confidently trust that He will work on our heart and strengthen our spirit. We cannot wait while being rooted in uncertainty and reservation. We must be rooted in humility and conviction, and fully give ourselves to Christ. We must expect that we will receive an answer and eagerly await the moment we are provided with His solution. Sometimes when we think we are ready for something, God knows we are not and thus this waiting period becomes a preparation period. When we are ready, we will receive His response.
I find it interesting that the word wait is also used when talking about someone that serves, such as a waiter at a table. While we are waiting, we should serve the Lord and demonstrate that we place no conditions on our trust in Him, showing Him that we fully believe that He will fulfill His promises and supply His grace. Instead of running away from the trials that we face or desperately trying to change them ourselves, we must direct our eyes up to the Lord. We must say these words and believe them: “I will wait and I will trust. He will guide me.”
Wait with purpose. Wait with confidence and conviction. Wait with an open heart. Be ready, Beloved.