When Wait is a Four-Letter Word

Psalm 40-1

To me, wait is a four-letter word that should never be used.

Because I hate waiting.

When I’ve decided I want something, I want it now. I find it hard to be patient. I hate the delay.

But it seems to me that God likes that word–wait. He often uses periods of waiting in our lives. He rarely gives us a desire and then grants that desire right away.

Even King David who starts out Psalm 40 so confidently:

I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,
and he turned to me and heard my cry.

Psalm 40:1

shows that he doesn’t always wait patiently for the Lord.

That same psalm is a desperate prayer for help. For help NOW.

David says:

  • “Do not withhold your mercy from me, O Lord” (v. 11)
  • “O Lord, come quickly to help me” (v. 13)
  • “O my God, do not delay” (v. 17)

It seems David is in a desperate situation. His enemies are coming for him. His foes want to ruin him. Trouble surrounds him like mosquitoes on a sticky summer evening. And he wants God to come to his rescue–yesterday.

We often feel like that. Everything is going wrong. It seems like no one is there to help. Problems multiply daily. We pray and plead with God, but we are still waiting.

What can we do when we are in that place of waiting?

We can be like David who began his prayer for help remembering a time when God did come through. A time when all that waiting paid off and God heard his cry. When God got him out of the pit.

He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
    out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground
    and steadied me as I walked along. (v. 2)

He praised God:

He has given me a new song to sing,
    a hymn of praise to our God. (v.3a)

He looked forward to the time when He could tell others about how God came to the rescue:

Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
    They will put their trust in the Lord. (v. 3b)

And realized that periods of waiting are seasons to grow in trust:

Blessed is the man who makes
    the Lord his trust, (v. 4a)

To me wait is a four-letter word. But waiting is something God often calls us to do.

When you are in a season of waiting, recall the lessons of Psalm 40:

  1. Remember when God has come through in the past.
  2. Find something to praise God about.
  3. Look forward to an amazing story of answered prayer.
  4. And realize that you have been given an opportunity to grow your trust in God.

Question: Which of those four lessons from Psalm 40 will help you most when you are waiting?