“Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: Wait, I say, on the Lord” Psalm 27:14 (KJV).
My sister was three years older than me and she was my best friend. From the time I can remember she took me everywhere she went. She made sure I was accepted and included by all her friends. When we were younger, I remember numerous occasions we would fly kites in a vacant field, play kickball and softball in the street, and play hide and seek with neighborhood friends. There was also a bike brigade that rode short distances to experience new places and tackle new frontiers on our Schwinn bikes. In the summer our neighborhood added more children due to children visiting relatives. We even had a future famous visitor visit yearly to join us. His name was Steve Martin. Each summer we looked forward to him coming because he was always doing things to make us laugh. As we grew older, the relationship remained the same. In some instances, when I was able to date, we would double date together. She was my hero. I went to her for advice and shared my deepest secrets. Yes, as sisters we had our squabbles, but many times they were resolved quickly.
I was the youngest in the neighborhood, but I was always included in all the activities. On some occasions when I fell behind on my bike, I would call out to my sister “Wait for me.” There were times she would wait and at other times she would continue on, ignoring my calls. As a precocious child, I was probably being pesky, and she wanted to get away from me. At these times my sister would continue onward when I called to her to wait but this only caused me to try to keep up and be like her. My little legs would stand up on the peddles of the bicycle and spin those wheels as fast as I could manage. On one occasion when I called for her to wait, she told me to wait patiently and not follow. It was too dangerous at my age to do what she and the older ones were doing on their bikes. But being the stubborn one that I was and thinking I could handle what she did, I followed. Sure enough, I fell and got hurt. That day I went home with a twisted Schwinn bicycle that looked as if it had its last day being ridable, a bloody knee, skinned elbow, and covered in mud from head to toe. As I walked home steering my mangled bike, I remember muttering to myself, “Why didn’t I listen and wait? Now I am going to be in trouble when I get home.” It didn’t help that also I kept replaying my sister’s words, “I wanted you to wait and I warned you.” The penalty for not waiting was farther reaching than the contorted bicycle and bodily injury. My parents, needless to say, were not happy and let me know that by the many angry words spoken to my innocent sister and myself. I paid a price for not listening nor waiting and unfortunately my sister had also been affected by my actions. She was so worried when she saw me tumble and she took on the guilt for not being more persuasive. My pride, punishment, bruises, and scrapes healed eventually but the remnant of a scar has remained on my knee as a reminder of that fateful day.
Now fast forward. I would like to say, I carried the mind-set of listening and obeying the words “wait for Me” into my Christian walk, but for me, waiting on anything is sometimes difficult. I’m a person who likes to get things all wrapped up in a neat package and be done. I like immediate responses to an issue instead of staying still and waiting. My personality is to help things along. But by not waiting I sometimes blurt out words even when I know the Lord wants me silent and to wait. You know that small nudge you get when you sense the Lord is speaking “wait for Me.”? I’m great at reasoning why I don’t wait as instructed by the Lord, but it usually does not end up well. Impatience is my middle name; Jan Impatience Grubbs. I would rather prefer to have a more refined middle name; Jan Waiting Grubbs.
“I waited patiently on the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry” Psalm 40:1 (NLT). Patience is not stated scripturally as a virtue, but it is implied. Longsuffering (patiently waiting) is one of the fruits of the Spirit. I have learned that waiting patiently on the Lord produces character and perseverance even though it is not easy. Some of my prayers have taken years to come to fruition while others are answered quickly. Yet if we wait, it is always in His perfect timing. Our practice of waiting brings blessings and builds character while we persevere to wait. Isaiah 40:31 (ESV), “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 benefit of waiting on the Lord produces something even better than we imagined.
Sometimes moving forwards on our own, the situation will turn out okay, but the Lord has an even greater solution, which we didn’t even consider and by waiting we would have experienced His best. Then why is it so hard to wait even when He says, “Wait for Me?” To this question I say, we put the Lord on our timetable, or we think we know what He would answer. Have you said the phrases, “I didn’t wait on the Lord and now I have to go around that mountain again” or the phrase, “I made matters worse by not waiting?” There are consequences of not waiting. Many times, when you don’t wait it can affect others. Just like the consequence of my not waiting caused myself physical and mental pain, but also caused distress to my sister. The last thing I wanted was for my sister to suffer my not waiting. My parents who loved and cared about me did not desire me to have to suffer the consequences. Our Lord’s immeasurable love and care surpasses our parents. The day you accepted Him in your life, His love overflows and His Spirit is alive to guide your every thought. He loves, He cares, He blesses and wants to guide us to His very best for us.
I am better now at waiting as I continue to grow in my spiritual walk. Yet, even now it is not always easy waiting. At times I wring my hands, mentally pace, or bite my tongue. I have even had the audacity to tell Him to hurry up in giving me His outcome! You may say, “How dare her tell the Lord what to do”, but don’t judge me as I am just being honest here and maybe in some ways there is a need for you to do the same. The Lord knows my impatience and my heart in some of those times of waiting and yet He still loves me. “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us” Psalm 103:8-12 (NIV).
When you are in those times of waiting on Him, let me encourage you to memorize and quote this scripture, “I waited patiently on the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry” Psalm 40:1 (NLT). Be assured He does hear, He listens, and in waiting, we can experience His better plan.
Lord, you are so good to me and I know You want the very best for me. Your words of, “Wait on Me”, should give me the courage to stand strong while waiting because Your ways are so much better than my ways. I recognize sometimes I step ahead of You because of my impatience and the outcome is not what You wanted. You forgiving nature helps me to not feel shame or guilt or declare Your disappointment in me when I don’t wait on You. Remind me of Your continued love for me while I am experiencing the consequences of not waiting. I recognize Your desire for me is to learn how to persevere and grow in those waiting times. I thank You Lord for Your patience, love and care of me. I thank You for teaching me to walk more in trusting You as I persevere. I recognize You see the bigger picture and know what is best. Please remind me to stop when I am about to go ahead of Your plan because Your plan is always better than mine. Amen