Waiting on God

All days eventually come! Do you remember waiting for a special day in your life that had not yet come, but was approaching, such as your wedding day or graduation day? An event may seem far off in the hazy future. (Especially in our younger years. I’ve just passed the 40 milestone and the years are speeding up!) We count down the days, hours, even minutes. But the day eventually does take place. All days eventually do come.

For unto you is born this day.
On a certain evening on a quiet hillside, a group of shepherds sat watching their sheep, doing the normal everyday things they had been doing for a long time, expecting nothing more than what they had always experienced. Suddenly startled by an angel, they heard the completely unexpected announcement that “unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the LORD.” Wow! THIS day! An event that God had promised, an event they had believed would one day come– the coming of the Jewish Messiah– had come! That very night, the day had come. The Savior was born! How exciting to have been present when the day of the first coming of the Savior finally came. The faith of the shepherds transformed into sight on that day.

Mine eyes have seen thy salvation.
Eight days after the Savior was born, Joseph and Mary brought the baby Jesus into the temple, to go through the processes of the Jewish law that were required of them. A man by the name of Simeon also came into the temple that day, directly led of the Holy Spirit. We are told that he was a just and devout man, with the Holy Spirit of God upon him. The Holy Spirit miraculously revealed to him that this baby was the Christ, the Savior that God had promised he would see with his own eyes before he died. Taking the baby up in his arms, he glorified God and said, “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: for mine eyes have seen thy salvation.” The faith of Simeon was transformed into sight on that day.

Before the account of Simeon seeing the newly born Savior of the world, the Bible says in Luke 2:25 that Simeon had been, “waiting for the consolation of Israel”; for the coming of the Messiah. I wonder how long he had been waiting? We are not told how long it had been from the time God promised Simeon that he would see the Christ child until it came to pass. It appears he had been waiting a long time, and was toward the end of his life when his faith was made sight, since he stated that the Lord, having kept His promise, could now let him depart in peace. He had probably waited many years for this day.

What about those shepherds to whom the angels appeared? After going and seeing that which had been made known to them, they went about telling the news of what had happened and what they had seen, obviously overwhelmed with excitement! The Bible says, “And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.” But I have often thought, then what? What did the shepherds do then? After the night of excitement and amazement, then what? Well, they were back to, you guessed it, waiting. Again.

Joseph kept his little family in Bethlehem for two years, until God told him to take them by night and run to Egypt, as Herod was preparing to kill the babies of Bethlehem in his savage efforts to destroy this perceived threat to his rule. What would the shepherds have thought after this event? Was the child killed with all of the others in Bethlehem? Where did Joseph and Mary go? Time went by– a year, five years, ten years, thirty years– I think of how their faith must have been tested in what had been told to them.

Where is faith found? In the mountaintop experiences when we see God’s hand obviously at work? No. At least, not so much. Faith is found in waiting. God promises. We believe His promises. And we wait. Like Simeon and the shepherds, we wait for our faith to be made sight, no matter the circumstances of our lives. We don’t always understand the events that take place during our times of waiting on God. We don’t understand why God would take so long to keep His promises to us. We don’t like waiting! Especially not in America, where we are used to modern conveniences such as microwaves, fast cars, and instant information about anything we want at our fingertips.  “Have it your way right away.” But, it is in the process of waiting that God is working, and that is where our faith in Him is found. Our all-knowing God does things in ways that are not our ways, and His timetable is not ours. We must trust Him during the waiting. The Bible tells us in 2 Peter 3:8-10, “… one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack (delayed, tardy) concerning his promise … but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night…”

Waiting on God to keep His promises is nothing new with God and His relationship to His people. Think of Abraham, promised by God that he would be the father of many nations, yet had no child. And God didn’t give him a child until he and his wife were well past child bearing years– Abraham was over one hundred years old! For us, looking back, it’s easy to say, “They should have believed God.” But, can you imagine day after day, week after week, years turning into decades… “God? About this promise?”

God told Noah that a flood would come, and then gave him instructions on what to do to prepare. Noah simply obeyed in faith, and approximately one hundred and twenty years later, the flood came, just as God had said it would. Did you get that? One hundred and twenty years! There is no record that God told him when the flood would come. Maybe it was just after he and his sons finished building the ark, and maybe it was long after. The Bible says they simply went into the ark when the Lord told them to. I’m sure Noah’s faith was strong on day 1 of building the ark. He had just received a promise from God Himself! But what about on day 36,500?! Years becoming decades, and still no flood. Just faith, in the waiting.

What is it in your life that you are waiting on God for? What promises have you claimed from God’s Word that you believe God for? Be assured that though the battle goes on and the waiting may seem long, the promises are sure, and God is going to keep His word! Have faith in God like Simeon, Abraham, Noah, and countless others in this great cloud of witnesses who have gone before us. Though they had to wait, their faith was eventually made sight. Let us pick up our cross on this narrow road to which Jesus has called us, believing the promises He has made to us, serving Him as we wait on the fulfilling of His promises.

We live between the two comings of Jesus. We look back on His first coming, and we look forward to His second coming, believing when He says, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:1-3) As all days eventually do, one day this day will come. What joy will be in our hearts if we have lived in faith, preparing for the promises to be fulfilled, patiently waiting for our faith to be transformed into sight!

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