There is an ever-present need for patience that cuts through the middle of my life. “Hurry up and wait,” is the motto of military life. We wait for orders, wait for delayed deployments and returns, wait to know where we will be living, and wait to know when we will be moving. Hawaii has been true to its stereotype in that no one ever seems to be in a hurry. Church starts late. Cars drive slowly. Clouds float by. Then, of course, fertility issues brought the dreaded “Two Week Wait” every month.
Patience has never been my strong suit. Checklists and plans are my wheelhouse. If something is wrong, that is fine as long as I can quickly implement a plan to fix it. But life doesn’t always have an easy fix. Often we are led down complicated wilderness paths where the only comfort, the only plan, is to press into the Good Shepherd and trust His guidance.
So here are some of the verses I press into when those days arrive:
1) Psalm 27:13-14
I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!
I will see the goodness of the Lord. This has become my motto during the trials of life.
Someone told me a few months ago that they were sure that God was going to give me a baby. While I appreciated their desire to encourage me, I am not sure of that. But I am sure of this, God will give me good things. The goodness of the Lord may look like a full bassinet or it may be a future I’ve never imagined. No matter which path He leads me down, I know that I will witness His goodness with my own eyes. I will see His glory and one day look into the eyes of our Father and say, “You did it. I didn’t see it then, but it was good.”
2) 2 Corinthians 12:8-10
Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Grace. Those of you who have followed me from day one know how I feel about the all-sufficiency of grace. The tattoo on my side, by my heart, reminds me daily that His grace is sufficient. My strength isn’t sufficient. I try and fail regularly. Willpower is not enough to conquer the pain, and confusion, and doubt. But grace is sufficient. In these moments of hurt, He reminds me that His strength is enough to see me through. The wrestling in my heart leads to the blessing of the Father’s presence.
These moments hurt. I don’t like relinquishing control of my life. But the beauty of this grace is blinding. It is big enough to cover the hurt of a broken body, the ache of a broken heart, and the sting of death. Because this grace defeated death and won the victory, we are now witnesses of the recreating of the world. But we are not the re-creators. Our role is to press into the sufficiency of grace and the strength of the Father. In this weakness, we see the power displayed.
When I’m hurting, when I’m waiting, I press into Him.
3) Psalm 23:5-6
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
I’ve never been a fan of the idea of dancing on the graves of my enemies, but this verse makes me smile and remember that death, pain, and sin have been conquered. He will prepare a feast for me and evil will watch as His love covers me. I can’t think of a more dramatic statement of victory. This pain, it is light and momentary. We will be lavished with a love greater than we can imagine. And one day I will finally know the answer to my heart’s burning question; If sinful earth food is so delicious, how glorious will the food in Heaven be?
4) 2 Corinthians 4:17-18
For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
The pain of this world does not feel momentary and rarely does it feel light. That’s what we fix our eyes on Jesus. When we are gazing on the Savior, we see the big picture, that the unseen is the eternal and this visible world is but a moment. We are training, prepping for the weight of the glory that we will bear.
I don’t know what this weight will look life. Often, I wonder how I will bear it and if it will challenge me. While I can’t tell you the answer to this, I imagine it will be a lot like reaching a personal best in weight-training. The pride and satisfaction that you feel in that moment, the knowledge of a job well done, it makes all the early mornings and hard days worth it.
When the waiting is long, when I am anxious to see what comes next, I remember that I am not sprinting through life, but running a marathon. Turning my eyes to Jesus, and pressing forward to the end, it is work, but I know it will be worth it.
5) Matthew 6:28-30
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
Another tattoo of mine is of a water lily. While that is not the flower this verse is referring to, I am reminded of it when I read Jesus’s words in Matthew. The water lily grows in a swamp. Beauty in the midst of adversity has been something I am trying to learn. How do I make myself, my life, beautiful in hardships?
I don’t. But I remember that He will. God will never leave nor forsake me in my hardships. He is watching, guiding, and working His purposes. The flowers of the field, they are important enough to receive His attention. They flourish and blossom. Beauty shines forth at the side of a simple country road. How much more so will He fashion your life for His beautiful purposes?
So friends, in this wait, press into our good God. Remember His words. Recount His faithfulness in the days that have passed. Rejoice at every fulfilled promise. Wait in patience and trust in the heart of your Father.
Please encourage my heart, and the hearts of your fellow readers, by taking a moment to share what verses give you hope and encouragement when the days grow long.