(While I had planned that JesusCentred.Life would not begin until next Monday, this week I thought I’d send out a few of the reflections I wrote for the congregation during our 5 years in St. Catherine’s, Dublin. I hope they might be helpful to you. Blessings, Craig)
 Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;
 Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
to my cry for mercy.
 If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
Lord, who could stand?
 But with you there is forgiveness,
so that we can, with reverence, serve you.
 I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
 I wait for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.
 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.
Have you been to the dentist or doctor recently? The first thing they make you do before you are treated is they direct you to the ‘waiting room’. There you have the joy of listening to the (horrific) noise of the dentist’s drill buzzing in the background or catching every disease and ailment being coughed over you from those also seeing the doctor. I don’t like waiting rooms!
As God’s people, often we spend much of our time in a place of ‘waiting’.
It often surprises people when I tell them that between the last page of the Old Testament and the first page of the New Testament is a period of 400 years. That one blank page in our Bibles represents four centuries where it seems God was silent. Through the prophets He had promised His people a Messiah, a deliverer – and then the communication line went dead. Nothing. Not a peep. And the people were left waiting. And waiting.
Maybe that’s where you are today - in a long period of waiting.
- Waiting for God’s promises to you to be fulfilled.
- Waiting for things to get better.
- Waiting for someone to come into your life.
- Waiting to experience freedom or healing in an area of your life.
In our culture, waiting isn’t something we are used to. We have fast food, instant coffee, express lanes, and immediate results. Waiting is difficult. And yet, when used properly - waiting isn’t wasted. If we wait expectantly, stay trusting, don’t give up, see what God might want to do in our character and how He might want us to develop our gifting- waiting can be more clearly seen as a period of preparation.
Isaiah 64:4 says: “Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.”
Our God acts on behalf of those who wait for Him.
Habakkuk 2: 3 puts it like this:
“At the time I have decided, my words will come true.
You can trust what I say about the future.
It may take a long time, but keep on waiting - it will happen!”
That is a direct word for some of you reading this right now!
At other times, maybe it's not so much that we are waiting on God, but that He is waiting on us to be ready. He knows if He gave us what we want now, we’d waste it, we’d miss it, we’d squander the opportunity, we’d undervalue it. I once heard a relationship expert say: ‘That which we attain too easily, we esteem too lightly.’ That’s not only good dating advice, it’s good wisdom for all of life. If we got all we wanted too easily, or too quickly, we wouldn’t value it appropriately and steward it carefully.
I can look back at some of those times in my life when it seemed like God had gone silent, that He had forgotten about me, like He’d given up on fulfilling His promises, and I can see that those are now some of the most significant periods of growth, shaping and development which have brought me to where I am today. Without stopping there, I couldn’t get here. Or without the waiting, I wouldn’t appreciate where He brought me to.
It’s a bit like a long journey by plane where you have a long stop-over at an airport. It can be an inconvenience. Or it can be used to read, refresh, rest yourself, and get ready for the next stage of your journey.
So wherever you find yourself today – waiting on God or maybe God is waiting on you – follow the example of Simeon, one of the faithful we find in the Christmas story:
“Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God….” (Luke 2:25-28)
Even though God had been quiet for 400 years, Simeon was still waiting and trusting. His waiting was well rewarded: the Holy Spirit came upon him; and he was among the first to encounter Jesus.
As one of my favourite songs says:
“You are working in our waiting, Sanctifying us
When beyond our understanding, You're teaching us to trust
Your plans are still to prosper, You have not forgotten us
You're with us in the fire and the flood
Faithful forever, Perfect in love
You are sovereign over us.”