Waiting is difficult. We are often in a hurry—and often late. What comes to mind when you think of: traffic jams, long lines in the grocery store, the waiting room of a busy doctor? (What do we call that room?)
People in Bible days had problems with waiting too. David wrote a Psalm with the phrase “how long” appearing four times in two verses:
“How long; O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look on me and answer, O Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death; my enemy will say, ‘I have overcome him,’ and my foes will rejoice when I fall” (Psalm 13:1-4).
David helps us understand the battle of waiting, and especially what it means to wait on God.
Have you forgotten me? Waiting is especially hard when it appears that we have been forgotten, like those who were supposed to come won’t. It’s happened to me a few times at the airport. I worry! Hardest when the forgetter is God. David had been anointed, but it sure didn’t look that way now, being chased by a mad monarch.
Why are you not looking at me? Is God looking the other way? He’s blessing people. I just don’t happen to be one of them. A parent’s look helps a struggling child. David interpreted his trial as the absence of God. When worry mounts and panic sets in, it is often hard for our eyes to meet God’s.
Why must I fight with my thoughts? I get some crazy thoughts when I think I won’t be picked up at the airport—in another country! What are David’s thoughts? I’m a dead man. I’ll never be king. Maybe I did something wrong. Even God can’t get me out of this one. The mind easily jumps the fence into the field of doubt.
Why can’t I be a victor instead of a victim? It sure looks like the enemy is winning.
Why doesn’t God do something? I’m a wimp.’’
So what is God doing? He designs delays, His timing is perfect, and He is waiting for us. Our character is being strengthened, and our skills are being honed. Really! And a delay is not a denial. Listen to the way David ends this Psalm after four how longs: “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me” (5,6).
Doesn’t sound like the same person. Even in the questioning, God moved in his heart and gave him confidence that God could see him, that His love was personal and unfailing, that He was good after all. Rather than feeling abandoned, David felt protected and even happy enough to sing. Depressed David was singing again. It is not a dirge; it is a song of gratitude.
If you are waiting, be encouraged that God is wonderfully at work—and He sees you. If you could see what He sees, you would sing too! “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord” (Psalm 27:14). (Sorry for inconsistency. Pls pray for recovery of hard drive).