I waited patiently for the LORD. He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me from the pit of destruction, out of the slimy hole. He set my feet on a rock, and he gave me a secure place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD (Psalm 40:1-3).
Do you struggle with patience? I certainly do. While restlessness is not new to 2019, it does seem to be the case that we’re living in especially restless times. Maybe some of it has to do with having more at our fingertips than we can handle—more technology, more information, more news, more opinions (coupled with exponentially more forums for arguing!), more luxury and more convenience. Maybe some of it has to do with shifting expectations—when we know what we want, we expect to get what we want in a timely fashion. Fundamentally, however, our problem with patience pertains to something inherent to our fallen human nature.
Our patience is threadbare, if not non-existent, because we’re continually waiting for our hopes to be fulfilled and our needs to be met. We wait for flourishing finances, successful business endeavors, harmonious relationships and marriages, improved health and healing, the eventual triumph of our preferred political causes, etc. etc. Although none of these hopes or needs is necessarily wrong, they each fall short of where the author of Psalm 40 directed his waiting. He waited patiently for the Lord. He was aware of his need for deliverance, but he trusted God to act in God’s own way and in God’s own timing.
Consequently, whenever we feel the rush of restlessness overtaking our hearts and minds we’re called to look beyond our immediate desires. Only God can truly satisfy our deepest longings. We need to check our intentions, therefore, by asking ourselves if our preoccupations have been surrendered to the Lord or not. Are we ready to embrace the truth that it is God’s prerogative to bring about the total opposite of what we would prefer God to do? Does this sound nearly impossible? It is. Patience is one “fruit of the Spirit,” which means only the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit can transform our restless hearts and help us find rest in Jesus (Gal. 5:22-25).
Make no mistake, God can be trusted to save. No matter how deep our “pit” seems, and no matter how overwhelming our circumstances might become, the God revealed in Christ Jesus can lift us out and put us on solid ground. If God raised Jesus from the dead, then we can trust God to make a way where there is no way.
So let’s wait patiently for the Lord— “His will be done, not ours.” And may He put a new song in a our mouths, a song of redemption and hope. It’s worth the wait.