May 7, 2007

Waiting in Faith
by Pastor George Van Alstine

“Waitâ€? is not a favorite word to kids. If they want something, they want it now. If they want to go somewhere, it should happen immediately.

One indication that kids are growing up is their increasing ability to “postpone gratification,â€? to overcome impatience so that a better result may emerge. But even for adults, waiting is never easy. Shouldn’t somebody do something? Shouldn’t something be happening?

Our Monday night TLC group is about halfway through a study of Isaiah. We’ve read a lot about warfare, sinister intrigues and impending judgment. It’s been kind of depressing through the middle chapters of Isaiah’s prophecy.

This week we got a little relief by reading chapter 30. After describing the people’s frantic attempts to make alliances that would give them some hope in the face of the threat of enemy attack, the prophet expressed the word of the Lord:
“In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and trust shall be your strength.â€? (verse 15)
“Rest,â€? “quietness,â€? “trustâ€?—these are passive words. The threatened people Isaiah was writing to felt that they had to do something active.

Then a few verses later, Isaiah comments with these wonderful encouraging thoughts:
“Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are those who wait for him.â€? (verse 18)
There’s that word “wait.â€? Twice. First Isaiah says the Lord is waiting. Then he encourages the suffering believer to wait.

What is the Lord waiting for? He’s waiting “to be gracious.â€? But why wait? Why doesn’t he pour all that graciousness out on us right now? Isaiah doesn’t explain, but apparently God’s graciousness is best when it’s allowed to ripen and is expressed in just the right time and circumstance. When that moment comes, “he will rise up to show mercy to you.â€?

So Isaiah encourages the believer to wait along with God, trusting him to choose the time and place. Those who learn to wait in rhythm with God’s waiting are truly “blessedâ€?:
“Blessed are all those who wait for him.â€?