Finding Courage in the Waitingby Cynthia Jennings on November 3, 2021
We sit in a circle, some in chairs others sitting on pillows, sharing our stories with a stream of tears. At first glance, we have little in common other than the Bibles in our laps. We’re women of various ages, stages and backgrounds, yet bound by an invisible thread: We’re all living in the throes of delay.
Some of us are waiting for healing and others for breakthrough. Some are waiting for prodigals to return and others for marriages to resurrect. Some are waiting for confirmation to move forward in their gift and calling and others are questioning their gift and calling. All of us are waiting on an answer.
Days have been spent together at a women’s retreat, lifting our hands in worship and bowing our heads in prayer, sharing and crying. All too soon, we gather our things and go our separate ways, but for that moment, we find comfort in our circle.
Our tales are different, but our ache is the same.
I recall a woman blurting out, “Waiting hurts!”
“And it’s exhausting,” another adds as she digs for a tissue in her purse and dabs at the drizzles of sadness sliding down her cheeks.
We talk about the nights when our doubts run wild and the days when our faith shrinks small. We confess the ways uncertainty is sapping our strength and stirring our fear. This is making space to share our struggles, but what we need most is wisdom in our waiting. So, we shift our focus to the Bibles in our laps.
Psalm 27 was written by someone familiar with the discomfort of delay.
Even though David was anointed as a teenager to be God’s chosen king, he waited years for the promised crown. In the bewildering gap between his sacred anointing and his royal appointing, he tended sheep in obscurity, served his leaders with loyalty and battled enemies with bravery. He was mocked by his own brothers, betrayed by confidantes and hunted by the ruler who was supposed to protect him. In the end, David spent more than a decade on the run before God placed him on the throne.
It would have been easy for David to give up on God in the waiting. But Psalm 27 tells a different tale. When David’s situation didn’t seem to match God’s declaration, he chose not to run from the Lord but toward him. (Psalm 27:4A)
As I pondered long over verse 14, I wondered if the truth it touts is possible.
“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage …” (Psalm 27:14).
From the shadows of our own delay, it’s tempting to dismiss David’s bold words as empty encouragement. But when we consider David’s story, we realize he’s not expressing a flippant recommendation; he’s sharing a hard-earned realization — there is a way to grow strong in the waiting.
While David could have used many different Hebrew words to communicate the concept of strength, he selected the Hebrew word quvah, meaning "to bind together." Quvah evokes the image of a tightly woven cord.
With the gentle brushstroke of a single word, David paints a poignant picture of the source of his daily strength. David didn’t just wait on God; he spent time with God.
He worshipped and prayed, (v.4) sought the Lord’s instruction and obeyed (v.7). He looked for God’s goodness (v.14) and celebrated God’s faithfulness. And as David twined his hope to God’s heart, he found courage in the waiting.
Then, when his lament finally turned to an extol of praise, God’s chosen king penned a promise to assure us we can become brave waiters too.
When we draw near to Jesus in our waiting — paying attention to His presence and talking honestly with Him in prayer, fueling our faith with His Word and binding our confidence to His character — our strength swells instead of sags. Our hope flourishes instead of fizzles.
But best of all, we don’t just gain the grit to press on — we garner the gift of pressing in. Right there in the middle of the uncertainty we’d hoped to avoid, Jesus offers us the intimacy for which we’ve always longed. And instead of unraveling in the waiting, we find ourselves bound to a Savior who won’t let us go.
My prayer: Heavenly Father in the Name of Jesus, I’m coming before you asking that you increase my awareness of Your presence in my delay and help me to see Your unchanging faithfulness today. I want to know and love You even more when this season of waiting is over. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
PEARLStoPONDER: Waiting should no longer be viewed as an unwanted delay. But an opportunity to develop intimacy with Jesus.
Isaiah 30:18-- Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.
Isaiah 40:31-- but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
Lamentations 3:25-- The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.
Psalm 27:14-- Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!
Psalm 37:7-- Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!
1 Corinthians 1:7-- so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Galatians 6:9-- And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.