"The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the person who seeks him. It is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord." Lamentations 3:25-26 (CSB)
When I read this, I'm tempted to buy into the lie that I have to somehow earn God’s blessing and goodness with how well I wait in difficult seasons. I believe that I have to muster up the patience, on my own, to wait well in order for God bless me, or bring goodness into my life.
It’s a trap, and it’s a dangerous trap.
I hate waiting, and I struggle with being patient, because I am not by nature good at either task. Thank goodness for Jesus, who has not set me up to fail. I am not doomed to struggle in seasons of waiting, because I do not have to do it on my own. In each season, I see that my Heavenly Father walks alongside me, showing me how to deepen my faith and trust in Him. Every season of waiting is a season to surrender my human ability, and ask God to strengthen my heart in ways that I cannot.
“God stretches our patience to enlarge our soul” - Our Daily Bread
There is never a season of waiting where God is not trying to teach us something - something about Him, or something about ourselves. The writer of Lamentations knew this. He says that it is good for us to wait on the Lord, and to wait quietly.
The Lord often calls us into a season of slowness and stillness while He asks us to wait. They go hand in hand. I don’t know about you, but I am constantly on the go. I thrive on a busy, fast-paced schedule and love the bustling, never-sleeping city life. But God knows that in my busyness, I am not actually waiting - I am distracting myself. And He calls me to be still. He asks me to slow down. Because if I move too soon, I may miss the blessing to be found in the waiting.
Waiting is not a means to an end. It is a time woven into our testimony that reveals something about God’s goodness and our faith. The verses preceding Lamentations 3:26 read:
Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for his mercies never end. They are new every morning: great is your faithfulness! I say, “The Lord is my portion, therefore I will put my hope in him.” Lamentations 3:22-24 (CSB).
In our waiting, in our patience (and in our impatience!) the Lord remains faithful. He is quick to forgive us when we try to do it on our own, and fail. He provides new strength and new mercies each morning, to equip us for the day to come. He has set us up for success in seasons of waiting, because He has blessing for us in the midst of it - and also when the season has passed.
The difficulty of our waiting depends on what we are waiting and hoping for. If our mind is oriented on earthly things and hope for human desires, we will wait in vain and struggle when the outcome is not what we wanted. But when we align our hearts with the Lord, our hope shifts from an earthly perspective to a heavenly one. We don’t have to worry about whether the outcome is something we want, because we know that God has promised us good things because He loves us. It is that simple.
"This hope will not disappoint us because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us." Romans 5:5
God has equipped us to wait well, even when we are inherently impatient, and has given us good things to hope for in the waiting. We get to choose: what will we hope for in seasons of waiting, and where will we find our strength?