Handling Life's Problems

Redeem the Wait

“Lord, how long must I wait? Will you forget me forever? How long will you turn your face away from me?” (Psalm 13:1)

I grew up on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. Our winters were monstrous. Snow began in October and some years didn’t let up until May. We didn’t get a few inches, we got a few feet. In April, I foolishly thought it might start to warm up. Most of the time it didn’t, and all I could do was wait for the misery of winter to end.

Waiting is frustrating. It tries our souls. Does anybody enjoy waiting? No? I didn’t think so.

Waiting for cold weather to change is frustrating; waiting for a difficult season in our lives to change is much more frustrating.

Maybe we’ve waited for years for our child or spouse to give their heart to Jesus. Maybe we’re struggling with health problems that just don’t seem to resolve. Maybe we’ve prayed for a turnaround in our finances so long we’re starting to wonder if things will ever change. Perhaps we’ve waited and waited to find a spouse or start a family and it just isn’t happening.

Waiting happens to everyone. That’s just part of life. But how do we handle a season of waiting? What do we do to redeem the wait?

Consider these three ways to redeem your wait:

  1. Look for ways to serve others. “Every believer has received grace gifts, so use them to serve one another as faithful stewards of the many-colored tapestry of God’s grace” (1 Peter 4:10).  Even when Jesus was on the cross, he was still concerned about the thief hanging next to him and about forgiveness for those who crucified him. Don’t allow a waiting season to keep you from caring about others. While you wait, find a way to serve.
  2. Seek a closer relationship with God. “Search for the Lord and for his strength; continually seek him” (1 Chronicles 16:11). Don’t let your relationship with God grow lukewarm during a waiting season. Read the Bible and pray. Go to church. Participate in a small group. Listen to worship music. Redeem a season of waiting by drawing closer to God.
  3. Believe God is working while you wait. “But those who wait upon God get fresh strength…” (Isaiah 40:31).  It may seem God is silent as you wait, but believe he is working on your behalf, even if you don’t see it. Believe he has a perfect plan for your life. Trust that your season of waiting is part of that plan and will result in fresh strength.

Sometimes, the words, “God’s perfect timing,” start to feel like a synonym for pain and disappointment. I get it. Sometimes the hope of spring in Michigan seemed like a cruel joke. But the truth is, spring always came, and God’s timing really is perfect. His plan is motivated by love, drenched in wisdom, and executed with impeccable timing.

Embrace the season you find yourself in today. If it’s a time of waiting, choose to redeem the wait. Trust that God’s ultimate plan for your life is flawless and his timing is precise and perfect.

Dear God, it’s easy to become impatient when things don’t happen according to my timetable. Help me trust in your wisdom and your plan. When I am in a waiting season, help me to be patient and redeem the wait. In Jesus’s name, amen.

God's plan

Yet I Will Rejoice

“Yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will be happy in the God of my salvation.” (Habakkuk 3:18)

As Habakkuk observed the state of his nation, Judah, he was worried and confused. Judah was flooded with immorality and iniquity. How could God allow such evil? How long would God remain silent and let evil thrive?

Habakkuk questioned God in Habakkuk 1:3: “Must I forever see this sin and sadness all around me?”

Sin and sadness surround us today, just as it surrounded Habakkuk in his day.

Evil exists. Evil is real. But so is God, and God will triumph over evil.

When we wonder about God’s purpose in the world, and in our lives, we must remember that God has a plan and it will not be thwarted. God told Habakkuk, “Look and be amazed! For I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn’t believe even if someone told you about it” (Habakkuk 1:5). God was already doing something. God had a plan, and it was a plan beyond Habakkuk’s comprehension.

We may not understand God’s plan for our lives, and that’s OK. If we always understood God, he wouldn’t be any smarter than we are, and what a mess that would be! But even when we don’t understand it, we can be confident his plan is for our ultimate good. God’s plan is always gracious, wise, and loving. And it’s always better than our plan.

God’s job is to guide our lives. Our job is to trust him. Because he guides us and because he is worthy of our trust, we can rejoice in any situation.

Habakkuk 3:17 starts off with these words, “even if…” For Habakkuk, it was even if the fig tree doesn’t grow figs. Even if there are no cattle in the barns and even if the fields lie empty and barren.

What is your, “even if?” Even if I’m sick. Even if I lose my job. Even if I never get married. Even if I don’t understand what God is doing in my life.

You know what comes after, even if? Verse 18 says, “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord!” Whatever your “even if” is today, remember the words that come next: “Yet I will rejoice.”  

Be filled with courage and determination. Trust in God’s plan. Rest confidently in his love. And, regardless of your circumstances, rejoice in the One who saved you and holds your life carefully and lovingly in his hands. “Even if…yet I will rejoice!

Father, thank you for blessing me and my family. Thank you for your love for me. May I rejoice in your salvation every day, in every circumstance. Even if I don’t understand your plan, yet I will rejoice. I put my faith in you. I trust you with my life. In Jesus’s name, amen.