March 22, 2017


It’s the answer no one wants to hear.
It’s the thing we don’t like very much to have to do. Yet, waiting is the line we must cross to move from immaturity to maturity, from childhood to adulthood. We give it a fancy name—delayed gratification—but it is still waiting. Patience, the thing we need so much, is the thing we do not want to learn, the skill we feel is some kind of punishment.

There was a time when waiting was an accepted part of growing up:

  • wait to drive a car, wait for boring private lessons and mind numbing practice to turn slowly into musicianship and the chance to play,
  • wait for the lead role and take the supporting role or the membership in the chorus or even the crew, before landing a lead,
  • wait in the middle level job for the advancement to an executive position, and
  • wait for love and marriage—both—before giving and receiving in the joys of Holy Matrimony.

In those days, gratification was surely delayed.

Gratification NOW at any Cost.
The order of this age is to plot and scheme to find shortcuts, inside tracks, and advantages either fair or unfair, to race to “the next level.” Immediacy is the thing we need. It is necessary to advance by any means for the ends will surely justify them.

This is not the story we tell as we approach the Passion Week.
There was no other place to pray than Gethsemane, no plea bargaining in Pilate’s court, and no shortcut to Calvary. Before the Passion, Jesus had already waited for more than three years of ministry, ministry full of

  • heartbreak and elation,
  • temptation and triumph,
  • miracles and unbelief,
  • huge crowds listening to every Word and then turning away to go about their lives as if nothing at all had been said, and
  • Disciples who loved Him and those who saw advantage in knowing Him.

Before those years of preaching He waited as a village craftsman doing good work with His hands while, after Joseph’s death, all in His family except His mother came to doubt Him.

Jesus knew how to wait; He learned the life lesson well, just as we have had to learn it.

Waiting is proactive not reactive; it is active not passive.
So, sometimes the answer to our prayers doesn’t come at once. Without explanation, we are delayed in our expected deliverance. The psalmists knew this and reported it faithfully. The word they used that becomes “wait” in English means to bind together as with cords in a sense of expectation.

wait-OT:6960 (kaw-vaw’); … to bind together (perhaps by twisting),… to expect…(Strong’s Dictionary)

Waiting is proactive not reactive; it is active not passive. We wait, bound to the Lord with Covenantal cords that cannot be broken.

That is why to wait upon the Lord is to renew our strength.

Psalm 130
Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord; O Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy. If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared. I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning. O Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins.
Psalm 27:13-14 NIV
I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
Isaiah 40:28-31 NKJV
Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on 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.

From James 1:2-5 and Isaiah 40:31 (SRP)
Lord Jesus, help me count it all joy when I fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of my faith produces patience. I will let patience have its perfect work, that I may wait in faith for Your answer, Your perfect, and complete answer. Lord, when I lack wisdom, instruct me. When I am weak and impatient, make me strong again. When it is time to fly, help me soar with eagle’s wings. When there is a race I must run, let there be no weariness at all in me. When a long road stretches before me, help me walk it without fainting. Amen.

Leave It There
Words and Music: Charles A. Tindley

1. If the world from you withhold of its silver and gold,
And you have to get along with meager fare,
Just remember, in His Word, how He feeds the little bird –
Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.

Leave it there, leave it there,
Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there;
If you trust and never doubt, He will surely bring you out.
Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.

2. If your body suffers pain and your health you can’t regain,
And your soul is almost sinking in despair,
Jesus knows the pain you feel, He can save and He can heal –
Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.


3. When your enemies assail and your heart begins to fail,
Don’t forget that God in heaven answers prayer;
He will make a way for you, and will lead you safely through –
Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.


4. When your youthful days are gone, and old age is stealing on.
And your body bends beneath the weight of care;
He will never leave you then, He’ll go with you to the end –
Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.


Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

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