Waiting on God: For More than We Know
“And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.
Deliver me from all my transgressions.”
Psalm 39:7, 8
There may be times when we feel as if we knew not what we are waiting for. There may be other times we think we do know, and when it would just be so good for us to realize that we do not know what to ask as we ought. God is able to do for us exceeding abundantly above what we ask or think, and we are in danger of limiting Him, when we confine our desires and prayers to our own thoughts of them. It is a great thing at times to say, as our psalm says: “And now, Lord, what wait I for?” I scarce know or can tell; this only I can say—”My hope is in Thee.”
How we see this limiting of God in the case of Israel! When Moses promised them meat in the wilderness, they doubted, saying, “Can God furnish a table in the wilderness? He smote the rock that the water gushed out; can He give bread also? Can He provide flesh for His people?” If they had been asked whether God could provide streams in the desert, they would have answered, Yes. God had done it: He could do it again. But when the thought came of God doing something new, they limited Him; their expectation could not rise beyond their past experience, or their own thoughts of what was possible.
Even so we may be limiting God by our conceptions of what He has promised or is able to do. Do let us beware of limiting the Holy one of Israel in our very prayer. Let us believe that the very promises of God we plead have a divine meaning, infinitely beyond our thoughts of them. Let us believe that His fulfilment of them can be, in a power and an abundance of grace, beyond our largest grasp of thought. And let us therefore cultivate the habit of Waiting on God, not only for what we think we need, but for all His grace and power are ready to do for us.
In every true prayer there are two hearts in exercise. The one is your heart, with its little, dark, human thoughts of what you need and God can do. The other is God’s great heart, with its infinite, its divine purposes of blessing. What think you? To which of these two ought the larger place to be given in your approach to Him? Undoubtedly, to the heart of God: every thing depends upon knowing and being occupied with that. But how little this is done. This is what Waiting on God is meant to teach you. Just think of God’s wonderful love and redemption, in the meaning these words must have to Him. Confess how little you understand what God is willing to do for you, and say each time as you pray: “And now, what wait I for?” My heart cannot say, God’s heart knows and waits to give. “My hope is in Thee.” Wait on God to do for you more than you can ask or think.
Apply this to the prayer that follows: “Deliver me from all my transgressions.” You have prayed to be delivered from temper, or pride, or self-will. It is as if it is in vain. May it not be that you have had your own thoughts about the way or the extent of God’s doing it, and have never waited on the God of glory, according to the riches of His glory, to do for you what hath not entered the heart of man to conceive? Learn to worship God as the God who doeth wonders, who wishes to prove in you that He can do something supernatural and divine. Bow before Him, wait upon Him, until your soul realizes that you are in the hands of a divine and almighty worker. Consent but to know what and how He will work; expect it to be something altogether godlike, something to be waited for in deep humility, and received only by His divine power. Let, the, “And now, Lord, what wait I for? My hope is in Thee” become the spirit of every longing and every prayer. He will in His time do His work.
Dear soul, in Waiting on God you may often be ready to be weary, because you hardly know what you have to expect. I pray you, be of good courage—this ignorance is often one of the best signs. He is teaching you to leave all in His hands, and to wait on Him alone. “Wait on the Lord! Be strong, and let your heart take courage. Yea, wait thou on the Lord”
“My soul, wait thou only upon God!”