Waiting Develops Patience
Impatience can be an ugly thing to encounter. It's easy to notice in young children, who at times can hardly wait for anything. In our spiritual lives, patience is mature virtue, or rather a virtue that comes from maturing. God loves us too much to allow us to skip the character building times when waiting develops patience. James 1:3-4 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. [We are also taught by the Lord to not "run faster than we have strength" (Mosiah 4:27)].
Waiting Encourages Others and Gives Greater Ability to Witness
Psalm 40:1, 5, 9-10 A Psalm of David. I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me, and heard my cry. …5 Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders which Thou hast done, And Thy thoughts toward us; There is none to compare with Thee; If I would declare and speak of them, They would be too numerous to count. … 9 I have proclaimed glad tidings of righteousness in the great congregation; Behold, I will not restrain my lips, O LORD, Thou knowest. 10 I have not hidden Thy righteousness within my heart; I have spoken of Thy faithfulness and Thy salvation; I have not concealed Thy lovingkindness and Thy truth from the great congregation.
Psalm 119:43-44, 74 And do not take the word of truth utterly out of my mouth, For I wait for Thine ordinances. 44 So I will keep Thy law continually, Forever and ever. … 74 May those who fear Thee see me and be glad, Because I wait for Thy word.
We must never discount the impact of our lives on others both for bad and for good. It is hard to have a positive word and a positive witness to others when we haven’t been waiting and aren’t resting on the Lord.
David wrote Psalm 40, a psalm of praise (vss. 1-10) and petition (vss. 11-17), while surrounded by trouble. First, he praised God for past deliverance and declares the blessedness of those trust God (vss. 1-4).
Psalm 40:2-12 A Psalm of David. I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me, and heard my cry. 2 He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay; And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. 3 And He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; Many will see and fear, And will trust in the LORD. 4 How blessed is the man who has made the LORD his trust, And has not turned to the proud, nor to those who lapse into falsehood.
Second, he declares the incomparable nature of God and offers his life in dedication to God and His purposes (vss. 5-10). Verses 6-8 go beyond David and apply to Jesus. 5 Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders which Thou hast done, And Thy thoughts toward us; There is none to compare with Thee; If I would declare and speak of them, They would be too numerous to count. 6 Sacrifice and meal offering Thou hast not desired; My ears Thou hast opened; Burnt offering and sin offering Thou hast not required. 7 Then I said, “Behold, I come; In the scroll of the book it is written of me; 8 I delight to do Thy will, O my God; Thy Law is within my heart.” 9 I have proclaimed glad tidings of righteousness in the great congregation; Behold, I will not restrain my lips, O LORD, Thou knowest. 10 I have not hidden Thy righteousness within my heart; I have spoken of Thy faithfulness and Thy salvation; I have not concealed Thy lovingkindness and Thy truth from the great congregation.
Third, he then brings his present needs before the Lord, but it is his knowledge of the Lord and His truth which preserve his heart in the midst of his plight (vss. 11-12). Thou, O LORD, wilt not withhold Thy compassion from me; Thy loving kindness and Thy truth will continually preserve me. 12 For evils beyond number have surrounded me; My iniquities have overtaken me, so that I am not able to see; They are more numerous than the hairs of my head; And my heart has failed me.
Finally, he cries out to God for deliverance and vindication from his enemies, but in it all, though asking God not to delay, his motive is “The Lord be magnified.” Therefore, he is committed to waiting on the Lord as his only help and deliverer (vss. 13-17). Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me; Make haste, O LORD, to help me. 14 Let those be ashamed and humiliated together Who seek my life to destroy it; Let those be turned back and dishonored Who delight in my hurt. 15 Let those be appalled because of their shame Who say to me, “Aha, aha!” 16 Let all who seek Thee rejoice and be glad in Thee; Let those who love Thy salvation say continually, “The LORD be magnified!” 17 Since I am afflicted and needy, Let the Lord be mindful of me; Thou art my help and my deliverer; Do not delay, O my God.
I don’t know what you may be going through at the moment, but whatever it is the challenge of Scripture is to wait on the Lord because, unlike temporal man and the fleeting world in which we live, the sovereign Lord of the universe loves us with a steadfast love and personally cares for us like a father. So David wrote in Psalm 103:13-19: Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him. 14 For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust. 15 As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes. 16 When the wind has passed over it, it is no more; And its place acknowledges it no longer. 17 But the loving kindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children’s children, 18 To those who keep His covenant, And who remember His precepts to do them. 19 The LORD has established His throne in the heavens; And His sovereignty rules over all.
Wait for the LORD; Be strong, and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.
[Rather than getting bogged down with Why? and How long?, we should instead choose to say, “I will wait upon the Lord . . . and I will look for Him” (2 Nephi 18:17), perhaps in a moment when we’re not expecting it, we will find Him.]
1 Mark S. Wheeler, “Hurry Up and Wait,” Kindred Spirit, Autumn 1991, p. 11.
2 G. Abbott-Smith, A Manual Greek Lexicon of the New Testament, 3rd edition, T. & T. Clark, Edinburgh, 1937, p. 384.