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Resting in God by Waiting

Readings

Isaiah 40: 25-31

During this month in the evenings we are having a series on ‘Resting’ (I wondered whether the beds from the winter shelter would be put up for us, but I can’t see them!) Last week it was ‘Resting in God the Creator’, - this week, ‘Resting in God by Waiting’.

A dictionary I looked at has a long list for “resting” but it boiled down to

Being still or going to sleep;
Waiting had ‘Delaying, expecting, or staying.’

I don’t know about you but I find it difficult or almost impossible to think of resting in God by waiting especially if we are impatient. Yet in the reading there is a verse which says that

those who wait for the Lord will renew their strength, they will mount up with wings like eagles they will run and not be weary they will walk and not faint.
If we are longing for God to do something for us or believe he has given us a promise, waiting is sometimes the last thing we feel like doing and then to think we can be restful while we wait is doubly impossible.

However let us reconsider a moment. Our reading also encourages us to remember how great and wonderful God is, and is suggesting that if God created the universe, numbering and putting all the stars in place, how could we begin to think that He doesn’t care for us or know what we are about. The Message Bible has:

25-26“So — who is like me? Who holds a candle to me?” says The Holy. Look at the night skies: Who do you think made all this? Who marches this army of stars out each night, counts them off, calls each by name — so magnificent! so powerful! — and never overlooks a single one?

27-31 Why would you ever complain, O Jacob, or, whine, Israel, saying, “God has lost track of me. He doesn’t care what happens to me”? Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening?

God doesn’t come and go. God lasts. He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine. He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath. And he knows everything, inside and out.

He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts. For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall. But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, they run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind.

The Message Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Another verse of the bible I find very encouraging is Jeremiah 29 :11 & 12

“For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will answer you and I will listen to you”.

But how about if we feel that God can’t hear our prayers; that they bounce off the ceiling and God feels miles away. We feel that he is not interested any way and we can’t begin to rest?

Come near to God and he will come near to you. (James 4:8)
No ifs and buts, He will. He’s promised.

When Jesus was about to go back to heaven after his resurrection from the dead, He is recorded in Luke 24:49 saying to the disciples, “I am going to send you what my Father promised but stay (wait) in the city until you are clothed with power from on high”.

They did as Jesus asked and a few days later, the Holy Spirit came upon them, giving them new power, joy and strength, which changed the somewhat frightened disciples and enabled them to tell others about the Lord Jesus: they were transformed, and never the same again.

So how has all this worked out for me?
I confess that I haven’t always been patient and admit that resting in God and waiting can be hard – but if we can, I do believe it’s worth it.

It took me five years after falling in love with Helen to actually say something to her: once I did things happened fairly quickly.

In 1967 the then vicar here suggested to me that it would be good to make inquiries about being ordained: this actually happened 35 years later!

Psalm 37 verses 4 & 5 says

Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart: commit your way to the Lord trust in him and he will do this.

Why not take a quiet moment; try to remember just how very much God loves and cares for you, and ask for his help so that you can begin to rest in God by waiting. Then I believe the best is yet to come because there’s always more that Christ longs to give us.