Hope in the Waiting
I remember it like it was yesterday. I’d find myself awake at 3 a.m. Unable to sleep, I’d go out to our family room and sit on the couch to pray, weep, and groan for our three prodigal children who were running from God. I felt hopeless. Cheated. My expectations for what my life would be like in that season were blown apart. I couldn’t see an end in sight. My husband and I prayed, wept, talked, listened… yet no breakthrough. I asked myself, what good can come of this?
Have you ever asked that? Maybe you’ve experienced a loss of relationship, an illness or a death. Have you felt cheated, ripped off, or disappointed?
This is where we need hope. In the waiting. In the praying. Scripture tells us how to wait when it seems like no good can come of our pain.
Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are (Romans 8:18-19 NLT).
A little later in the same chapter, Paul adds,
We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children. Romans 8:23
Did you notice how we are to wait? Eagerly! With eager expectation. Not just trying to get through it, but more like Christmas morning.
As a kid, I felt like Christmas would never come. Remember trying to sleep on Christmas Eve, waking up at 2 or 4 a.m. only for your parents to send you back to bed? You were bursting with eager expectation! You couldn’t wait, couldn’t sleep, and could hardly wait to see what was in those wrapped packages! When Christmas finally came, the wait was over. You leapt out of bed in jubilation and raced downstairs to tear open the gifts.
This is how we are to live in the middle of a season of suffering, with eager anticipation for the good thing that God will do with our pain, our suffering. So how can we do that?
And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God (Romans 8:26-27).
We wait with the help of God’s Spirit, which is better than me trying to keep my chin up in my own strength. He takes on our groaning and communicates directly to the Father on our behalf. Prayer is not about having the right words. Prayer is often welcoming the Holy Spirit to pray through us. He knows what’s in our hearts and the will of God for us.
So, can anything good come of what you’re going through? The answer is a resounding YES!
And we know that God causes everything to works together works for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them (Romans 8:28).
Not that all things are good, but God is at work in all things—the good, the bad and the ugly. God is working out His purposes in our lives for our good, for His glory, and so the world will see Jesus. God changed me in my season of suffering. He took my weakness and taught me to pray and wait with eager expectation for the good thing that He would do in my life and the life of my kids. My mindset changed. Instead of, “What good can come of this?” I began asking, “God, what good thing will You bring from this?”
Do you hear the difference? That’s courageous living.
2 Chronicles 13:5 5Don’t you know that the LORD, the God of Israel, has given the kingship of Israel to David and his descendants forever by a covenant of salt?
Abijah inherited the throne of Judah after his father Rehoboam’s death. When war came between the northern tribes of Israel and southern Judah, Abijah found that his troops were outnumbered two to one. He climbed a hill and shouted out to the army of Israel the above passage. Little explanation is given in Scripture about the salt covenant, but we can piece together from other texts what it must have meant. When two parties sat down and ate salted bread they entered into a peace agreement. It implied that they were friends and were bound to defend one another. When did David do this with God? It was when he ate the shewbread while fleeing from Saul. God promised to make David king and later promised his descendants would reign. Abijah was reminding Israel that God was on their side because God keeps His word.
He went on to describe how their leader Jeroboam had forsaken God and made his own gods. If that weren’t enough to cause them to doubt, he described how you could buy the priesthood with a certain number of sacrifices.
While Abijah was declaring his right to rule, Israel was sending troops behind him. Suddenly Israel attacked from both directions, but the house of Judah had placed its trust in God. When the army shouted out their battle cry, God turned the troops of Israel. Abijah’s troops soundly defeated Israel that day, destroying over half their army. In our day the idea of having God on your side is laughed at. It still makes the difference.
Remember: You can always count on the promises of God.
Streams In The Desert – August 6
- 20226 Aug
Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south, blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out! (Song of Solomon 4:16).
Look at the meaning of this prayer a moment. Its root is found in the fact that, as delicious odors may lie latent in a spice tree, so graces may lie unexercised and undeveloped in a Christian’s heart. There is many a plant of profession; but from the ground there breathes forth no fragrance of holy affections or of godly deeds. The same winds blow on the thistle bush and on the spice tree, but it is only one of them which gives out rich odors.
Sometimes God sends severe blasts of trial upon His children to develop their graces. Just as torches burn most brightly when swung to and fro; just as the juniper plant smells sweetest when flung into the flames; so the richest qualities of a Christian often come out under the north wind of suffering and adversity. Bruised hearts often emit the fragrance that God loveth to smell.
Word and Deed
SCRIPTURE READING — MARK 1:21-28
The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.”
When God’s enemy and ours, the devil, tempted Adam and Eve and humanity fell into sin (Genesis 3), all of our relationships were broken—with God, with each other, with ourselves, and with creation. Temptation and sin opened the way for the devil and his followers—impure spirits—to attack and influence our lives, sometimes even taking possession of people’s hearts, minds, and bodies.
God’s Son, Jesus, came into the world to rebuild what was broken and to restore the goodness of creation, healing many people’s bodies and minds. Jesus came as God’s authoritative Word, and with power he drove impure spirits out of the people they had possessed.
The crowd in Capernaum heard the Word of God and saw the power of God that Sabbath day. They were amazed to see God’s love presented to them in the person of Jesus. And as he worked wonders in God’s great plan of salvation, Jesus showed that his power was far greater than any demonic presence.
The people heard Jesus speak God’s Word, and they saw his amazing acts of restoration. They witnessed “God with us,” Immanuel, and they spread the news about him everywhere.
Lord, thank you for showing your love in the person of Jesus Christ. May we seek him in the written Word you have given us, and may we tell of your power and love everywhere. Amen.