Recently I wrote about Jesus’ instruction to watch and pray. When we don’t know what to do, when we are faced with circumstances that are unfamiliar and when unnamed enemies surround us, this is should be our response. Watch and pray. Pray that God’s will would be shown to us; watch that we don’t fall into temptation.
Sometimes however the circumstances aren’t unclear, they’re just bad. Sometimes we know exactly what we should do, we just don’t want to do it. And sometimes the enemies have names* and faces that justify our temerity.
When this is the situation we find ourselves in, there is another posture that we should take – wait and hope. In the familiar Isaiah 40 passage in which the prophet exhorts the chosen people in a time of trial, he reminds them that although God sometimes doesn’t change our circumstances, He is always aware of them, and He provides what we need to overcome. Additionally, the prophet encourages the people, to “wait” (NKJ) or “hope” (NIV) in the Lord so that He may grant them renewed strength (vs. 31). Although taken from the same Hebrew word, I think that each of these constructs are illustrative of what our response should be. We should be waiting – not acting to change our circumstances when God has given us a path to travel, but patiently anticipating His action in our lives. And hoping – knowing that God is the only source of change and trusting His promise to achieve His glory. Hope is what makes the waiting bearable. Waiting is what causes our hope to grow.
There’s a popular license plate frame that says “Always late, but worth the wait”. God is never late, but He is always worth the wait. And that’s enough reason to hope for all of us.
*Sometimes the name of our enemy is cancer. This deplorable disease has struck a good friend. If you feel so led, please pray for her. Cynthia’s healing will come as a result of the prayers of God’s people.