I waited patiently for the LORD to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry.” (Psalm 40:1 NLT)
Puzzling angle, this call to wait patiently when our natural instinct is to sprint ahead to fix our mess, straighten up the chaos, get our life in order. When our tendency is to line up our ducks perfectly, grab hold of our bootstraps and yank hard, or force our head above water to gulp in air, the Lord impresses on us the need to “wait patiently” on him.
In this posture we are in one sense a patient of his – his response to us far beyond that of a physician who has ascertained precisely what we need regarding care or treatment. God wants us to quietly and steadily persevere, to strive to bear up under whatever is provoking us without anger or complaint, and to expect his help with confidence that he will show up big.
The startling reality is that as we wait patiently on him, the Lord “turns” to us (Psalm 40:1), his ear bent in our direction to hear the cry of our heart. Picture a king with a compassionate heart setting his complete and undivided attention on the concerns of his servant. Or imagine a devoted, tender father making his hurting child his highest priority. Our God would exceed both.
The mightier one with all the resources to resolve the situation moves toward the weaker one with his divine relief. God “hears” our cry for help and is acutely aware of our dilemma; our ache is right in front of him. He is not indifferent or callous or too preoccupied with more pressing concerns.
He does not leave us to figure it out on our own. Rather in some inexplicable way, he lifts us out and places our feet securely in a new spot so they will not slip (see Psalm 40:2). He doesn’t simply help us adjust to the rotten place in which we find ourselves, but actually steadies us and enables us to keep going forward.
As we wait on him, our Lord continues his rescue by giving us the gift of a “new song” to sing. He replaces the old with the new, filling our minds with renewal. This song is a hymn of praise to God smack dab in the middle of our difficulties and perplexing problems. Our response to God’s intervention in our life in turn causes others to “put their trust in the Lord” (verse 3).
Remarkable! Because we are in need, turn to the Lord for help, and wait patiently for him to work, many around us will be drawn to trust Christ as well. Is it any wonder he calls us to wait on him? He has a great work to do in the lives of others and will use our present circumstances to draw men and women to himself.
Go ahead. Wait on the Lord. And then look out for the extraordinary to take place in due time.
Elizabeth A Mitchell
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