We live in a world of instant gratification. Knowledge is one Google search away, communication is one text message away, the new tool you need is one click away, and on and on goes the list of ways that our desires can be immediately satisfied. Despite our society’s attempts to eliminate any kind of waiting, the fact is that it is impossible to do so. Many circumstances are simply out of our control, and we are unable to force the clock, the person, or the technology to move faster than they can. Our inability to force the world to move faster is evidence that we are not gods of this universe. The one, true God has installed waiting in the human program. We do not have to look far in God’s Word to see that waiting is a part of God’s sovereign plan for humanity. Abraham had to wait until he was one hundred years old to have the son God promised him. Joseph waited in prison before his God-given dreams came true. The Israelites waited in the desert for forty years before entering the promised land. And the prophets waited hundreds of years for the Messiah to be born.
When you find yourself in a season of waiting, be encouraged to know it is not a hiccup in God’s plan. Rather, waiting is part of His intentional, carefully-crafted purpose for you. It is difficult for me to write on this topic knowing I am an all-star at impatience. Whether waiting for my child to buckle her seatbelt or waiting for shelter-in-place restrictions to end, it is easy for me to become frustrated and weary while I wait. The author of Lamentations, too, was consumed with weariness and frustration while waiting on the Lord to relieve his burden. In the emotional third chapter, we can relate well to the writer’s agony as he is tired of waiting for his bad days to end and is ready for rest and peace. As badly as he is hurting, God inspired his words to help us in our own waiting. Three truths from Lamentations 3 help to align our minds, hearts, and souls with the Word of God while we wait.
1. Wait Humbly
Why should a living man complain, a man, about the punishment of his sins? Let us test and examine our ways and return to the Lord! Let us lift up our hearts and hands to Heaven: “We have transgressed and rebelled, and you have not forgiven.”
Why should we receive what we want, right when we want it? Do we deserve such quick satisfaction? No. God’s prophet in Lamentations humbles us by defining our position before the Holy God. All human beings deserve punishment for sin. We are undeserving of any good thing, let alone instant gratification. If we do experience relief from waiting, it is solely an undeserved gift from the God against whom we continue to rebel. Waiting with humility before the Lord, knowing he is holy and we are not, can break our illusion of entitlement and align our minds with the truth of God’s Word.
2. Wait Contentedly
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”
What are you waiting for right now? A job? A spouse or child? Health? Rest? We all have deeply personal and legitimate desires that we are waiting to see fulfilled. The writer in Lamentations 3 is waiting for his pain, bitterness, and shame to end. However, he knows that even if they do not cease, he will have the Lord “as his portion”, and that is enough. As you hope for your desires to be satisfied, never forget that the Lord has already fulfilled your greatest need by giving himself to you through Jesus Christ. As we gaze at him in his Word, we will see that this Savior is more than enough! The Lord, our portion, is full of mercy that never ceases and faithfulness that never fails. Waiting with contentment in the Lord, knowing he is enough, can make our unmet desires less consuming and align our hearts with the truth of God’s Word.
3. Wait Quietly
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.
Waiting can be full of “loud” emotions. Though we may look composed on the surface as we wait, inwardly our souls echo with the “screams” of worry and the “shouts” of impatience. This “noise” is caused by frequently fixing our eyes on the desire we want so badly to be met. However, patient trust takes root when we fix our eyes instead on the one who has saved us and remains good to us in our waiting. As we seek the Lord in his Word and ponder his proven and perfect character, we can become inwardly calm. Waiting quietly before the Lord, knowing he is steadfast in his goodness, can turn our soul’s passion into peace that is aligned with the truth of God’s Word.
Take courage, Christian! In his perfect timing, our good Father will take care of us, his beloved children. God has a sovereign plan to bring good to all of his children, even amidst seasons of painful waiting. The same God who delivered a son to Abraham, freed an imprisoned Joseph, led his people to the Promised Land, and sent the Messiah to eternally save sinners, will prove his faithfulness to us as we wait. May we place our trust in the loving Savior whose mercies never end. May we wait humbly, contentedly, and quietly for his glory!