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Grace Notes

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I WILL WAIT
by Philip Owen

Is there anything that tries our souls on a day-to-day basis like waiting?  Regardless of which line we get in, all the others always seem to move faster.  We are vexed at having to wait in doctors’ offices, in grocery stores, and at the DMV office.  We grow weary of listening to canned music while we wait to speak to a real person on the phone.  We become impatient to start a meeting when other attendees are slow to arrive, or to end a meeting when someone drones on without purpose.  But each of these manifestations of impatience is merely symptomatic of our impatience with the Lord, His will, and the timing of His work.   The Old Testament prophet Micah gives us insight regarding our impatience in one simple declarative statement:  “I will wait for the God of my salvation” (7:7b).

“I will wait.”  Many times we are forced to wait: circumstances over which we have no control leave us with no choice but to wait.  Illnesses or accidents may suddenly strike us, for example, and we are forced to wait them out or go through some medical treatment.  On other occasions, we may have the privilege or ability to manipulate events in such a way as to avoid waiting.  But Micah gives us the key to spiritual victory, namely the exercise of our will:  we may remain impatient, restless, and squirmy, or we may choose to wait.  We may submit our will to the Lord’s will and rest patiently.  That sort of determination is much more than resignation; in fact, it is more than peaceful relaxing.  As Micah writes in the clause before our text, “I will watch expectantly for the Lord” (7:7a).  The sort of waiting that God calls us to, the type of waiting that honors Him, and the method of waiting that blesses us is a watchful, expectant waiting.  In other words, it is not resigned, but positive, anticipatory, and preparatory.   The one who says “I will wait” with the spirit in which the Lord intended manifests the reality of his waiting by preparing for that for which he waits.  A bride who waits for her wedding day prepares her trousseau.  We need not detail what goes into this “waiting” period because almost everyone has experienced or witnessed that this is often one of the most intensely active periods that anyone ever enjoys or endures.  When we make the determination to wait on the Lord’s will, we embolden faith, encourage rest, exhibit patience, and exercise service.  In other words, genuine waiting is often the most kinetic activity we ever attempt.

“For the God of my salvation.”  Micah understands the difficulty of waiting; he is not blind to the energy demanded of those who truly wait on the Lord.  He recognizes the degree to which waiting on God tests faith.  Why, then, is he willing to commit to waiting?  He is willing to do so because of the nature and work of the One on Whom he waits.  First, he waits on God, not some frail, fallible, failing human, but the Creator of heaven and earth, the One Who holds the universe in His hands, Whose decrees order all things.  He waits on God, the perfectly kind, immeasurably longsuffering, inexhaustibly gracious, and infinitely loving One Who wishes only to bless Micah.  Second, He waits on the only One Who provides salvation.  Man’s ideas, wishes, and hopes will never save him.  Man’s most energetic and earnest endeavors will never save him.  God alone is able to do that.  No one but God holds the key to his salvation.  No one but God is able to redeem or to deliver.  He waits on God because God alone is able to save.  Everything Micah needs is found in God alone.  And so he waits on Him.  Will we try to save, or bless, or deliver ourselves; or, with Micah, will we say, “I will wait . . . .”  To do so is noble service.                                                                                                          

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