A Tale of Holy Love, Unfaithfulness, Justice, Mercy, and Grace
No one likes to wait. Our culture and society is driven by instant gratification. We have the internet, instant messaging, on demand TV, fast food, online shopping, and the list goes on. Almost everything we could ever want or need is at the tip of our fingers, just a click away. But God’s kingdom doesn’t work that way. He doesn’t operate on our timetable or expectations. In fact, He often asks us to wait.
Wait. Oh how we hate that word! We’d rather have God’s blessings now. We’d rather see God at work now. We’d rather do anything now. Waiting is probably one of the most difficult things for us to do. Why? Because it requires inaction and trust. Two attributes that we, as sinful humans, struggle with. Just look at various characters of the Bible. For instance, Sarah got tired of waiting and decided to “help” God out. How did that turn out? Not so great…we can thank her for all the problems the world is facing in the Middle East right now.
So we don’t do well with waiting. However, God often asks us to wait. He wants us to learn how to trust Him with our lives and circumstances. He wants to display His awesome power and might, but that requires inaction on our part. We cannot “help” God out. So we must wait. We must trust. And we must hope. And according to Hosea, we must do these things not just for a day, a week, a month, or a season, but continually.
“So you, by the help of your God, return, hold fast to love and justice, and wait continually for your God.”
Wait: “a verb meaning to wait for, to look for, to hope for. The root meaning is that of twisting of winding a strand of cord or rope. The word is used to signify depending on and ordering activities around a future event.” Thus reads Spiros Zodhiates definition of the original Hebrew word used in this verse. We are to build and wrap our lives around this principle of waiting. Just as the three strands that create rope are twisted together until they are inseparable, so also our life should be so wrapped and intertwined with our waiting on and desire for God that they become one and the same.
Now do you see anywhere in this definition that waiting means to put our lives on hold or to be without? No! Waiting for or on God does not mean that we stop living. It does not mean that we will be deprived of what our heart truly desires. It simply means: “ordering activities around a future event.” We live for the future rather than the present. We order our lives, our hopes, and our dreams around Christ’s return and we don’t live for what this temporary world has to offer. So the next time that God says “wait” on something your heart deeply desires, remember that He has your best interest in mind and is asking you to re-align your life around what truly matters and to trust Him with the future.
But how long are we supposed to wait? We are impatient people and waiting does not come easily to us, so how long must we keep it up? Well, in Hosea God commands us to wait continually. Constantly, without fail, indefinitely, habitually. We are never to stop waiting! It should become a lifelong practice. In fact the original Hebrew word denotes the connotation of a habit. Just as eating breakfast in the morning or brushing your teeth becomes habitual and requires little forethought, so also waiting should become a habit in our lives. When hard times come or when God says “no” or when the day seems dark, waiting for God should eventually become our first response.
Now this is not easy, but as we grow in waiting continually for the LORD it will become easier. So let us strive to be faithful in ordering our lives around God’s schedule. Let us be focused on Him and what eternity holds rather than the fleeting pleasures and desires of this world. For when we are faithfully waiting on the LORD we’re not running off after other things. When we have our eyes fixed on Christ we are not looking around at what else could satisfy us, but are being filled up and awed by the greatness and glory of our Savior. We get in trouble and distracted when our eyes lose their focus and wonder off our Savior. The world’s offers of pleasure and fame look more tempting when the brilliance and holiness of our God is not before us.
So let us fix our eyes on our Savior and the race set before us. And let us wait continually for our God.
“The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.”