Bible people spent a lot of time waiting. Some waited well. Others, not so well.
Abraham waited 25 years between the promise that God would make of him a great nation (Genesis 12:1-3) and the arrival of the son of that promise, Isaac. Though he believed God despite the advanced ages of himself and his wife, he sometimes tried to manipulate the circumstances and “help God.” He suggested his servant could become his heir. Then he had a son by another woman. But this child was not the son of promise.
Moses “supposed that his brothers would understand that God was giving them salvation by his hand” (Acts 7:25) when he defended one of them by killing his Egyptian attacker. Instead, Moses ended up fleeing for his life to Midian. He apparently put thoughts of his people behind him. Some 40 years later, God had to have a long conversation with Moses to convince him of God’s call and enablement. (Exodus 3).
The children of Israel waited over 400 years before they were delivered from captivity in Egypt. The people welcomed news of their deliverer at first (Exodus 4:29-30), but complained through much of their way and even wanted to go back when things got hard.
David humbly waited from the time he was anointed king to the time he could actually claim his kingdom. He showed respect to God’s anointed and never marched into the throne room declaring his “rights.”
Mary’s waiting was interrupted. While dreaming and planning of her upcoming wedding to her betrothed, she received the most startling news that she was to be the mother of the Messiah. Her response: “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word,” (Luke 1:38), even though she didn’t know how her fiance or others would respond or what it would cost her.
Simeon “was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him,” and Anna “began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem” (Luke 2:25-38). These were blessed to see and recognize the Son of God in His infancy.
The disciples waited three days between the crucifixion and resurrection. But they had forgotten or never quite understood the promise that Jesus would rise again in three days. Imagine what sorrow, despair, regret they felt.
Hebrews 11 mentions many who “died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar.” Even though they didn’t receive their answers in their lifetimes, they looked ahead to that “better country, that is, a heavenly one” (Hebrews 11:13-16).
So there are right and wrong ways to wait. We can manipulate our own answers or go back on, or forget, God’s promises. Or we can wait humbly and faithfully even when circumstances seem to go against everything we hope for.
Who knows how long we’ll have to wait in isolation before covid-19 is conquered. There are plenty of things to do while we wait.
Many of the psalms give us encouragement while waiting. Here are just a few:
Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame; they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous. Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long …
My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for he will pluck my feet out of the net.Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged; bring me out of my distresses. Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins.
Oh, guard my soul, and deliver me! Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. May integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you. (Psalm 25:3-5, 15-18, 20-21).
I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! (Psalm 27:13-14).
From Lamentations 3:24-26:
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
Paul shares in Romans 8:18-19, 22-25:
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God ... or we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Other passages give us instruction:
… Be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes (Luke 12:36-37a)
Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace (2 Peter 3: 14)
I hope our waiting in isolation is not long. But meanwhile, “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning (Psalm 130:5-6).
(Sharing with Inspire Me Monday, Global Blogging, Senior Salon, Hearth and Soul,
Purposeful Faith, Tell His Story, Happy Now, InstaEncouragement,
Recharge Wednesday, Worth Beyond Rubies, Anchored Abode,
Let’s Have Coffee, Heart Encouragement, Faith on Fire,
Grace and Truth, Blogger Voices Network.