I will never forget the first night we were able to leave for the evening without needing a babysitter. While it’s sometimes difficult to watch the kids grow so fast, this part of the maturing process is pretty much awesome…until the phone calls start coming in. The ones that indicate the sibling fighting has begun, and one child is pulling out another child’s eyeballs.
It’s pretty much awesome until then.
The kids had an eye-ball-pulling-out evening during one of their first nights alone, indicated by the absurd amount of phone calls we received during what was supposed to be a quiet dinner. And yet, somehow, we came home to a quiet house. Everyone had receded to his or her corner, eyeballs were mostly put back, and the following letter was left on our bed from our youngest:
“Dear Mom and Dad, I was being naughty to Ella. We fighted so I just want to say punish me as much as you want.” From, Lily
Oh, child. So, the next morning I asked her about the letter, and she told me this:
“Mom, I’m just really, really glad you’re home so that my sister and brother aren’t in charge anymore. I just kept waiting and waiting for you to come home. It was a really hard wait, mom. And then I just fell asleep.”
“It was a really hard wait,” she said.
Beyond the waiting we do for our parents as young children, there are many hard waits we face as adults: waiting on news about a job, waiting on a difficult marriage, waiting on test results, waiting on a child who has rebelled, waiting on a long-anticipated pregnancy, waiting for spiritual refreshment – we’ve all experienced hard waits in some capacity.
I’ve waited on death on two different occasions. This is a strange and difficult waiting, sitting by the bed of a loved one while begging God to let the suffering be over. In the last days of both parents, I prayed for death for three days, and with each moment, with each second, the Lord responded with, “Wait.”
Though it can be excruciatingly difficult, we wait patiently as believers because we are finite and not in control. We wait patiently because we belong to a loving, infinite God who is completely sovereign. But we don’t wait in vain. We don’t even wait merely for the end result, but we wait focused on who we can become in the process of a hard wait.
Worship in the Waiting
I think of Abraham and the many, many years he waited to see God’s promise fulfilled, that he would father many nations. But he did not wait in vain. Romans 4 tells us what he did during the waiting process:
“In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, ‘So shall your offspring be.’ He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised”
During the hard wait, Abraham worshiped God with open hands, and his faith was strengthened as he reflected on God’s glory and the truth that He will do everything He promised to do.
Waiting for the Messiah must have also been a hard wait filled with seasons of doubt, but “in the fullness of time,” the incarnation happened, and God Almighty took on flesh and walked amongst us. Oh, the depth of emotion Mary must have felt waiting to give birth to the long-anticipated Messiah. Her hard wait produced beautiful words of worship that often refresh my heart: “My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior…”
And David, who had much to fear, waited day after day, night after night, for the Lord to deliver Him from his enemies. In the waiting, he worshiped: “And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord” (Psalm 27:6). In the waiting David worshiped through song and offered up heartfelt melodies as a sweet fragrance to His Faithful Lord.
What Worshipful Waiting Produces in Us
My hard waits are not usually filled with worship; instead, the waiting tends to be permeated with anxiety, bitterness, and lack of trust. But turning inward during times of waiting does nothing to help the process, and blaming God for not answering in what I deem a timely manner does not bring satisfaction. It only produces bitterness that infiltrates my relationship with my husband, my children, and my friends.
The result of David’s worshipful waiting is seen in the end of Psalm 27: “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” Worshipful waiting produces in us courage and confidence in the Lord. The same God who ministered to Abraham, Mary, and David in their waiting, is the same God who ministers to you and me. Have confidence in this everlasting God! Stick close to Him in the hard waits through prayer and Scripture and worship him —corporately and individually —worship Him. If we are willing to yield our future timelines to the Lord, and instead focus with praise on the many ways He is faithfully providing today, it does something to our faith. The waiting doesn’t become easier, but our faith becomes stronger, and our confidence in God becomes deeper so that with each hard wait we more readily put tomorrow in the hands of our Savior.
About the Author:
Katie is wife to Chris, a PCA pastor at Trinity church in Kirkwood, MO, and together they have three children, Ella (15), J-Rod (13), and Lily (9). Katie works as the music director at Trinity and serves on the Women’s Ministry Committee. She also spends much of her time writing, teaching piano, leading women’s Bible studies, and speaking to women’s groups about the joy she has found in Christ. Katie serves on the board of Covenant College, where she graduated with a BA in English Education, and is currently pursuing her Masters of Arts in Theology from Covenant Seminary in St. Louis. For more information, as well as various blog entries, you can visit her website at www.katiepolski.com.