Make All Your Waiting a Waiting On the Lord
All of us are waiting for something.
Most immediately, I think of the kids in this room who are eagerly waiting for Christmas morning to finally come.
I also think of you students, who are waiting for finals week to end and, more ultimately, for your graduation day to arrive.
For the rest of us, you may be waiting on a vacation, a visit from an old friend, or — like my wife — the big reveal of Joanna Gain’s next line of Hearth & Hand products.
There’s a hundred other things like these that you may find yourself waiting on, but there’s another deeper sense of waiting. You likely know what I’m talking about. When you dig down a little further, you uncover a sort of ‘waiting’ that so often feels like sandpaper to your soul.
Let me paint a few portraits to describe what I mean. As I do, consider if you see yourself in these descriptions.
You’ve been hurt, slandered — abused even — and the offender has seemingly gotten away with the evil they’ve committed against you. You’re waiting for justice. But, every day that your offender walks free, the pain they’ve caused you compounds, leaving you feeling paralyzed under the weight.
Or, you feel alone. Your closest friends moved; their life-circumstances changed and you no longer share the same things in common; or—worse yet—you had a falling out and the warmth and affection you once enjoyed is now replaced with coldness and awkward interactions. You’re waiting to be found, known, and loved; but the longer you wait, the deeper your loneliness sets in and the more tired and weary you become.
Maybe for you it’s guilt and shame. You’ve done unthinkable things and caused seemingly irreparable damage. You know it and, even though you own up to it, you can’t shake the sense of worthlessness and rejection you feel. You’re waiting to be accepted, forgiven, and freed, but you feel perpetually stuck on the outside and your hope for reconciliation is drying up.
Or, you’re here this morning and you’ve lost some one and, now — especially this time of year — you’re experiencing a deep and pervasive sadness. Even the celebratory gathering of family and friends just isn’t the same because around every table and in every group photo the only person you can see is the one who is not there. You’re waiting for healing, for the tears to stop, for the grief to end; but it doesn’t feel like that day will ever come.
So, what is it that you are waiting for this morning?
And, my exhortation to you is this: take whatever it is that you’re waiting on and out of the depths bring it before the Lord again this morning. Together, let’s make all of our waiting a waiting on him. In faith, we will wait on him to make good on his promises to act justly; to seek and save to the uttermost; to pardon and free from all sin and shame; and to bind every broken-heart and lovingly dry every fallen tear.
We say with the Psalmist this morning, “For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him” (Psalm 62:5).
In our waiting we are tempted to run a thousand other places for comfort and rest, but none of them ultimately satisfy. No lawyer or judge can completely fulfill our craving for justice. No community or friend group can met every one of our longings to belong. No amount of penitent tears can sufficiently remove the shame of our sin. And, for all the comfort we can find in an affectionate embrace or a sincere word of encouragement, it still won’t bring back the ones we’ve lost.
But, O merciful Father, you can. And you will! You will bring about final justice. You will make our home with you. You will clothe us in garments of pure righteousness. You will exchange our ceaseless sorrow and grief for eternal joy and comfort in your presence.
Lord, we believe and we need you to graciously help us in our unbelief. So now, we come before you and confess the ways we have not trusted you. We confess that we have refused to wait on you and have sinfully taken matters into our own hands — and, still, we’re unable to find the healing our hearts need. We confess and we bring before you our deepest longings and yearnings, and we do so in the silence of this moment.