Fear Not: Willing to Wait

“Do not fear, Abram, I am a shield to you;
Your reward shall be very great.” (Genesis 15:1)

As God’s story unfolds in the Bible, Abraham is the first person to hear “Do not fear…” from God. Let’s sit at Abraham’s feet and see what we can learn from his life about freedom from fear.

We meet Abraham as Abram in Genesis 12, as God says to Him,

“Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father’s house,
To the land which I will show you; And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”

Abraham’s is a story of faith, and Abraham’s is a story of promise.

God says GO, and Abram goes. Abram goes in God’s promise to make him a nation, to make his name great, and to make him a blessing. Abram becomes the father of Israel, and through his descendant Jesus, all the families of the earth are blessed. Every promise Yahweh made to Abram was kept.

Abraham’s story is a story of faith and promise. But those promises of a nation and a prosperity and a blessing are given when Abram is 75, and childless. Without a child, Abram could not father a nation, or have a great name, or bless all the families of the earth.

At 99, Yahweh repeats His promises to Abram, and gives him a new name, one with the breath of God inserted in the middle. Abraham’s story is a story of faith and promise. But Abram waited for 25 years before a son was born to him, before he had even a glimpse of God’s plan, the keeping of his promise.  Continue reading

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Waiting Patiently on God

Waiting Patiently on God

Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him… Psalm 37:7

Does patience come easily to you, or is waiting a struggle?

My patience is subjective and situational. Now that my daily life doesn’t involve 3 year olds who insist on doing everything themselves, I find it easy to wait on a toddler who wants to zip her own jacket.  It is harder, but I choose to be patient with my kids (most of the time) when they’re acting their age. And I try to practice patience when waiting in line, as a driver, all the normal patience-testing parts of being alive.

But I am not so patient with myself. I get frustrated and discouraged to struggle with the same issues year after year. I know I’m growing and changing, but it’s so much easier to see how far I have to go, rather than how far I’ve come.

And it’s never actually occurred to me that I need to be patient with God. But that is the command in Psalm 37: Wait patiently on the Lord.

The instruction to rest in the Lord and wait patiently on Him sounds quite passive to me. But the psalmist isn’t telling us to sit out of life and do nothing. The Hebrew words translated here are active words. The word for rest does mean to be silent and still. But the word translated “wait patiently” has child-birth undertones: travailing, bringing forth. Birthing is definitely not a passive image of waiting.

What are you waiting on God for?Are you waiting patiently?

I think about the things that make me anxious. Things I’d like to manage or control, outcomes I’d like guaranteed. I think about the unknowns in my future, about the uncertainties in my present. I think about advent and the kind of Christmas season I’d prefer to have (but may not even be a reasonable expectation, given my family and circumstances.)

In those things, what would it look like for me to be silent before God?

In those things, what would it look like for me to wait patiently on God to work, like a mother bearing down as she gives birth?

I don’t necessarily like my answers to these questions, and I don’t love the idea that waiting on God is like childbirth. Because birth involves pain, and silence doesn’t come easily to me.

However.

If I really believe that what God is doing in my life is good… If I believe in His presence and goodness, if I believe the outcome of my waiting is new life, joy, relationship, love…. If I trust God, can I choose to wait patiently?

The people of Israel waiting for generations for the promise of the Messiah to show up in the person of Jesus. Are we willing to wait?

Open up before God, keep nothing back; He’ll do whatever needs to be done:

He’ll validate your life in the clear light of day  and stamp you with approval at high noon. Quiet down before God, be prayerful before him. (Psalm 37:5-7, The Message)

 

Journaling Prompts:

How do you respond to the idea of patient waiting as being work, active, like childbirth? Is this helpful imagery, or hard to get your mind around? Why?

What are you waiting on God for? Is it easy or hard for you to be patient in this waiting? Why?

What in God’s character and your history with Him helps you to wait patiently on HIm?

 

This is today’s devotional from Waiting on God: A 4 week Advent Devotional, which started last week. If you’re interested: You can purchase the Ebook here, or SIGN UP HERE to receive it for free via email (starting with tomorrow’s devotional).

I’ve been amazed and encouraged that so many have purchased or signed up, it is such a gift to be on this journey with so many!

Waiting on God in Silence

Waiting on God in Silence (1)

My soul waits in silence for God only; From Him is my salvation… Psalm 62:1

Historically Advent is a season of quiet waiting. God’s people wait in stillness for His arrival, His coming, God-With-Us. We will conclude Advent singing of silent wonder. It is one of my favorite memories of Christmases past and present: A quiet church with voices, and perhaps candles, raised, singing “Silent Night, Holy Night, all is calm, all is bright.”

The irony of that song in what we’ve made of this season never fails to get my attention. Sometimes it is funny and sometimes heartbreaking. Silent Night, Holy Night? If I want any quiet at all during the Christmas season, I have to fight for it, and fight hard.

Because Christmas can be LOUD.

This season is a cacophony of lists, lists of things we want, lists of things to buy, lists of good deeds to do, lists of gatherings to attend. December clangs with the music of parties, the raised voices of maybe more family time than anyone needs, the strident call of all the obligations and expectations we put on ourselves. For some of us, this season is also loud with the wail of unspoken pain. Lost loved ones, lost hopes and dreams, loneliness.

What would it look like, in the midst of this loud season, to carve out some quiet for your soul? Can you choose a regular daily time to step out of your lists, to turn off the noise, to take your pain or your joy and sit in silence with God?

Can you reserve some moments at the beginning or end of your day to sit with Jesus and wait? Perhaps over your lunch hour, or your littles’ nap time?

I am convinced our souls need more silence than this loud world provides. Don’t wait for Christmas Eve to enjoy a silent moment.

I invite you to join me during this season of Advent, to set aside time to intentionally, purposefully wait on God, in silence.

My soul, wait in silence for God only, For my hope is from Him.

He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be shaken.

On God my salvation and my glory rest; The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God.

Trust in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah. (Psalm 62:5-8)

Journaling Prompts:

What feels loud in your life right now?

As you step into this advent season, where can you set aside some time to be quiet, to be with Jesus and learn to wait on God?

What is your hope this Advent season? What do you want from God, for what are you waiting?

 

This was day 1 of my 4 week Advent Devotional: Waiting on God, which started on Monday. If you’re interested:

You can purchase the Ebook here, or

SIGN UP HERE to receive it for free via email (starting with tomorrow’s devotional).

I’ve been amazed and encouraged that so many have purchased or signed up, it is such a gift to be on this journey with so many.