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Hope in God

By |2022-10-30T02:33:12-04:00October 30th, 2022|

As the holiday season approached, package shipments were delayed due to an unprecedented influx of online orders. I can remember a time when my family preferred to simply go into the store and purchase items because we knew we had very little control over the speed of mail delivery. However, when my mother signed up for an account that includes expedited shipping, this expectation changed. Now with a two-day guaranteed delivery, we’re accustomed to receiving things quickly and we become frustrated by delays.  

We live in a world accustomed to instant gratification and waiting can be difficult. But in the spiritual realm, patience is still rewarded. When the book of Lamentations was written, the Israelites were mourning the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonian army, and they faced a series of challenges. However, in the midst of chaos, the writer boldly affirms that because he’s confident God will meet his needs, he’ll wait on Him (Lamentations 3:24). God knows we’re inclined to become anxious when answers to our prayers are delayed. Scripture encourages us by reminding us to wait on God. We don’t have to be consumed or worried because “his compassions never fail” (v. 22). Instead, with God’s help we can “be still . . . and wait patiently for him” (Psalms 37:7). May we wait on God, trusting in His love and faithfulness even as wrestle with longings and unanswered prayers.

Unanswered Prayers

By |2022-01-30T08:06:04-05:00January 30th, 2022|

Are we there yet? / Not yet. / Are we there yet? / Not yet. That was the back-and-forth game we played on the first (and definitely not the last) sixteen-hour trip back home to Arkansas from Colorado when our children were young. Our oldest two kept the game alive and well, and if I had a dollar for every time they asked, well, I’d have a stack of dollars. It was a question my children were obsessed with, but I (the driver) was equally obsessed wondering, “Are we there yet?” And the answer was “Not yet, but soon.”

Truth be told, most adults are asking a variation on that question although we may not voice it out loud. But we’re asking it for that same reason—we’re tired, and our eyes have grown “weak with sorrow” (Psalm 6:7). We’re “worn out from [our] groaning” (v. 6) about everything from the nightly news to daily frustrations at work to never-ending health problems to relational strains, and the list goes on. We cry out: “Are we there yet? How long, Lord, how long?”

The psalmist knew well that kind of weariness, and honestly brought that key question to God. Like a caring parent, He heard David’s cries and in His great mercy accepted them (v. 9). There was no shame for asking. Likewise, you and I can boldly approach our Father in heaven with our honest cries of “How long?” and His answer might be “Not yet. But soon. I’m good. Trust Me.”   

The Will of God

By |2021-11-24T08:06:09-05:00November 24th, 2021|

God's will is sometimes hard. He asks us to do the right things. He calls us to endure hardship without complaining; to love awkward people; to heed the voice inside us that says, You mustn't; to take steps we'd rather not take. So we must tell our souls all day long: "Hey soul, listen up. Be silent: Do what Jesus is asking you to do."

 "My soul waits in silence for God only” (Psalm 62:1 nasb). "My soul, wait in silence for God only" (62:5 nasb). The verses are similar, but different. David says something about his soul; then says something to his soul. “Waits in silence” addresses a decision, a settled state of mind. "Wait in silence” is David stirring his soul to remember that decision.

David determines to live in silence—quiet submission to God's will. This is our calling as well, the thing for which we were created. We will be at peace when we've agreed: "Not my will, but yours be done" (Luke 22:42). This is our first and highest calling when we make Him Lord and the source of our deepest pleasure. “I desire to do your will,” the psalmist said (Psalm 40:8).

We must always ask for God's help, of course, for our “hope comes from Him" (62:5). When we ask for His help He delivers it. God never asks us to do anything He will not or cannot do.

New Every Morning

By |2021-02-28T08:06:05-05:00February 28th, 2021|

My brother grew up battling severe epilepsy, and when he entered his teenage years it became even worse. Nighttime became excruciating for him and my parents, as he’d experience continuous seizures for often more than six hours at a time. Doctors couldn’t find a treatment that would alleviate the symptoms while also keeping him conscious for at least part of the day. My parents cried out in prayer: “God, oh God, help us!”

Although their emotions were battered and their bodies exhausted, Paul and my parents received enough strength from God for each new day. In addition, my parents found comfort in the words of the Bible, including the book of Lamentations. Here Jeremiah voiced his grief over the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, remembering “the bitterness and the gall” (3:19). Yet Jeremiah didn’t lose hope. He called to mind the mercies of God, that His compassions “are new every morning” (v. 23). So too did my parents.

Whatever you’re facing, know that God is faithful every morning. He renews our strength day by day and gives us hope. And sometimes, as with my family, He brings relief. After several years, a new medication became available that stopped Paul’s continuous nighttime seizures, giving my family restorative sleep and hope for the future.

When our souls are downcast within us (v. 20), may we call to mind the promises of God that His mercies are new every morning.

Waiting in Hope

By |2021-02-10T08:05:19-05:00February 10th, 2021|

In the movie Hachi: A Dog’s Tale, a college professor befriended a stray Akita puppy named Hachi. The dog expressed his loyalty by waiting at the train station each day for the professor to return from work. One day, the professor suffered a fatal stroke. Hachi waited hours at the train station, and for the next ten years he returned each day—awaiting His loving master.

Luke tells the story of a man named Simeon who patiently waited for the coming of his Master (Luke 2:25). The Holy Spirit revealed to Simeon that he would not see death until he saw the Messiah (v. 26). As a result, Simeon kept waiting for the One that would provide “salvation” for God’s people (v. 30). When Mary and Joseph entered the temple with Jesus, the Holy Spirit whispered to Simeon, “Yes! This is the One!” The wait was finally over! Simeon held Christ in his arms—the hope, salvation, and comfort for all people (vv. 28–32).

If we find ourselves in a season of waiting, may we hear the words of the prophet Isaiah with fresh ears: “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint (Isaiah 40:31). As we await Jesus’ return, He provides the hope and strength we need for each new day.

Waiting for a Blessing

By |2021-02-08T16:27:20-05:00February 3rd, 2021|

A popular restaurant in Bangkok serves soup from a broth that has been cooking for forty-five years and is replenished a bit each day. The practice, called “perpetual stew,” dates back to medieval times. Just as some “leftovers” taste better a few days later, the extended cooking time blends and creates unique flavors. The restaurant has won multiple awards for the most delicious broth in Thailand.

Good things often take time, but our human nature struggles with patience. The question “How long?” occurs throughout the Bible. One poignant example is from the prophet Habakkuk, who begins his book by asking “How long, O LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen?” (Habakkuk 1:2). Habakkuk (whose name means “grappler”) prophesied God’s judgment on his country (Judah) through the invasion of the ruthless Babylonian Empire, and he wrestled with how God could allow corrupt people to prosper as they exploited others. But God promised hope and restoration in His own time: “For the revelation [of God’s help] awaits an appointed time . . . . Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay” (2:3).

The Babylonian captivity lasted seventy years. By human reckoning that’s a long time, but God is always faithful and true to His Word.

Some of God’s best blessings may be long in coming. Though they linger, keep looking to Him! He prepares every blessing with perfect wisdom and care— and He is always worth waiting for.

 

Walk in the Present with God

By |2019-12-17T12:09:40-05:00December 18th, 2019|

In Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis wrote: “Almost certainly God is not in time. His life does not consist of moments one following another . . . . Ten-thirty—and every other moment from the beginning of the world—is always present for Him.” Still, waiting seasons often feel endless. But as we learn to trust God, the eternal Maker of time, we can accept the reality that our fragile existence is secure in His hands...

Never Too Late

By |2019-07-18T12:13:13-04:00July 21st, 2019|

During the anxious moments that followed my mother-in-law’s heart attack, she was fortunate to receive immediate medical care. Later, her doctor told me that treatment within fifteen minutes of a heart attack results in a survival rate of 33 percent for critical patients. But just 5 percent survive if treated beyond that time frame...

More Than Just Waiting

By |2019-04-29T12:05:08-04:00May 4th, 2019|

Police charged a woman with reckless driving after she drove off the street and onto the sidewalk and back because she didn’t want to wait for a school bus dropping off students! While it’s true that waiting can make us impatient, there are also good things to do and learn in the waiting. Jesus knew this when He told His disciples to “not leave Jerusalem” (Acts 1:4). They were waiting to “be baptized with the Holy Spirit” (v. 5)...

From Shame to Honor

By |2018-12-14T11:15:27-05:00December 17th, 2018|

It’s that time of the year again, when families gather to celebrate the festive season together. Some of us, however, dread meeting certain “concerned” relatives whose questions can make those who are still single or childless feel that there’s something wrong with them. Imagine the plight of Elizabeth, who was childless despite being married for many years. In her culture, that was seen as a sign of God’s disfavor (see 1 Samuel 1:5–6) and could actually be considered shameful...

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