Read Genesis 15:1-6
We all know what waiting feels like. We wait in lines; we wait for promotions; we wait for marriages or children or for health to flourish. Life is full of waiting at every turn. We’re always hoping for something. It’s no surprise that the book of Psalms, a record of King David’s feelings, mentions waiting and hope more than any place else in the Bible. Many Psalms are full of lament – desperate cries in the midst of darkness, grief, pain, or out-of-control circumstances. Yet prayers of lament also express trust that God can and will bring relief and shed light. Lament is not just venting frustration, but proclaiming faith in God in the midst of human hopelessness.
The apostle Paul poignantly points out how Abraham waited: “In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, ‘So shall your offspring be’” (Romans 4:18 ESV, emphasis mine). Abraham waited years for God to fulfill his promises to him for descendants, a land, and a blessing. But the waiting made Abraham trust God more, grow closer to God and become stronger in his faith. Waiting brought maturity. Abraham believed God for what didn’t even exist and for what seemed impossible. And when God asked him to sacrifice the son he waited so long for, Abraham believed that God held the power to create life from nothing – and even to raise the dead. Waiting on God forged the character of the man who would became the patriarch of the nation of God’s people. Abraham’s waiting served to benefit God’s kingdom.
We know waiting well is an essential component of life. Toddlers need to be taught to wait, and as they grow, they continually learn to wait and defer gratification. It’s difficult, but we know it’s possible. Believing “in hope against hope” is knowing we have a powerful God who’s capable of changing our circumstances, an infinitely wise God who wills everything for our good. To wait like Abraham, we can remember all that God has done, and we can remember that God’s character is always to act on behalf of his beloved. To wait well, we must watch and observe expectantly. Abraham counted stars waiting for a son. David wrote songs while he waited to be king. Mary pondered in her heart all that God had said, waiting nine months for an immaculately conceived baby. Simeon worshipped in the temple waiting for the Savior of the world. We, too, can wait in hope today for God’s power, wisdom and grace. We can watch for his love in action caring for us, letting it bring us joy, peace, and comfort.
Reflection and Response
Micah 7:7 says, “But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.” What can you do to make your waiting richer, you’re watching fuller, and your anticipation deeper? Take a few moments to write out what waiting well looks like in your current situation.
By Donna Burns