While You’re Waiting on God, He’s Working
In a time of suffering, David affirmed this:
The LORD is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?... Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident.... Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me.... I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. (Psalm 27:1, 3, 10, 13–14)
Notice how David talks to himself about God’s faithfulness and goodness, then encourages himself to wait on God. Self-talk is often misguided, but it’s terrific when it involves speaking God’s Word. David tells himself twice to wait for God, and uses His personal name: Wait for Yahweh, the God who is, and who is at work, and who is at work for you and me.
My wife Nanci, who is currently undergoing chemo treatments, is now reading several books, including The Joy of Fearing God by Jerry Bridges and Waiting on God by Andrew Murray (a South African writer, teacher, and Christian pastor, 1828-1917). She said this week in an email to a few friends, “I am learning that ‘waiting’ is an enormous tool that God uses in His working, both in our hearts, and in His purposes to be accomplished. In the ‘waiting,’ He is ‘working.’”
Then she quoted from Murray’s Waiting on God:
When you first begin waiting on God, it is with frequent intermission and failure. But, do believe God is watching over you in love and secretly strengthening you in it. There are times when waiting appears like just losing time, but it is not so. Waiting, even in darkness, is unconscious advance, because it is God you have to do with, and He is working in you. God, who calls you to wait on Him, sees your feeble efforts and works it in you. Your spiritual life is in no respect your own work; as little as you begin it, can you continue it. It is God’s Spirit who has begun the work in you of waiting upon God. He will enable you to wait continually.
Waiting continually will be met and rewarded by God Himself working continually. We are coming to the end of our lessons. I hope that you and I might learn one thing: God must, God will work continually. He ever does work continually, but the experience of it is hindered by unbelief. But, He, who by His Spirit teaches you to wait continually, will bring you also to experience how, as the Everlasting One, His work is never ceasing. In the love and the life and the work of God, there can be no break, no interruption.
Do not limit God in this by your thoughts of what may be expected. Do fix your eyes upon this one truth: in His very nature, God, as the only Giver of life, cannot do anything other than work in His child every moment. Do not look only at the one side: “If I wait continually, God will work continually.” No, look at the other side. Place God first and say, “God works continually; every moment I may wait on Him continually.” Take time until the vision of your God working continually, without one moment’s intermission, fills your being. Your waiting continually will then come of itself. Full of trust and joy, the holy habit of the soul will be: “on thee do I wait all the day” PS. 25:5. The Holy Spirit will keep you ever waiting.
My soul, wait thou only upon God!
Also, recording artist Jackie Hill Perry was recently on the Ask Pastor John podcast, and talked about waiting on God. It’s great stuff, a contemporary voice expressing in different words what Andrew Murray spoke of.