Have you ever felt – particularly in recent days – that the world is spinning out of control?
All I have to do is read through a bit of my Facebook thread, catch John’s Twitter feed, or read the news headlines and as I do, I often ask, “What in the world is going on here, Lord?”
And friends, I am not just talking about the American world. I live in a different hemisphere. I live in a different culture. I live and interact with an entirely different people and nation than the people and nation of my birth. Therefore, I attest to this undeniable truth: Life presents unique, faith-stretching challenges wherever we find ourselves in the world. We are all involved in some kind of fight.
Every one of us contends with, struggles against, or engages in some kind of battle – either daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or all year long.
The Psalmists of old acknowledged this truth. Did you know that 72 of the psalms – almost one-half of the book – write about the challenges and hardships they face and endure because of their enemies? Back then, these foes included other nations and its armies, political opponents, angry and dissatisfied protestors, and even treacherous family members. In addition, attacks were inflicted upon the heart, soul, mind and body through loneliness, depression, disease and death. All of these encroachments had one purpose; to wound, maim, and destroy.
And who was and continues to be behind all of this destruction? Especially the destruction of our hope and faith?
The evil one deceives us into thinking that everyone and everything, except him, is the cause of our troubles.
Instead of acknowledging the spiritual battles that we are engaged, we cast blame upon the people and the circumstances that appear most responsible for our pain, our failure, our loss, and our shame. Since we can see them, since we can hear them, since we can feel the intensity of their incriminatory attacks, it’s no wonder we denounce them.
We need to take a time out.
Friends, what we are up against is not what we see in front of us or hear all around us. We are in a spiritual battle in which the evil one wants us to believe our world is out of control and hope is lost.
Paul says this: For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (New International Version, Ephesians 6:12)
And David writes this in response to the very real and very painful spiritual battle he was involved in:
In you, Lord my God,
I put my trust.
I trust in you;
do not let me be put to shame,
nor let my enemies triumph over me.
No one who hopes in you
will ever be put to shame,
but shame will come on those
who are treacherous without cause.
Show me your ways, Lord,
teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long. (New International Version, Psalm 25: 1-5)
In these verses, hope is based upon the Hebrew transliterated word, qavah. Qavah means to wait, to look for, and to expect.
David clasps a waiting hope.
He needs it.
His world is out of control.
His enemies are encroaching. Kingdom protestors are revolting. His family is tearing. And David’s heart is breaking.
Maybe you can relate in some way?
I know I can.
So, let’s do what David does. He seeks His God for divine guidance and spiritual understanding for his earth-shattering predicaments. For unless we are enlightened with spiritual truth, contemplative discernment, and prudence, we will go forward in ignorance just as the evil one desires. Instead, let’s choose a different way.
Let’s hit the pause button before we react to our circumstances.
Integrity, wisdom, peace and godliness are ours on the Lord’s pathway of waiting hope.
We find this waiting hope through prayer.
Of course, we would like a quick resolution to the challenges we encounter. However, the longer I live, the more I understand that life doesn’t work that way. And more importantly, God doesn’t work that way. He desires His saints to present every difficulty we face into His trustworthy hands and wait for Him to work it all out.
David chose this way of waiting hope, when he writes:
Lead me in Your truth, and teach me: for you are the God of my salvation; on you do I wait all the day.
(New King James Version, Psalm 25:5)
In our microwaveable-get-it-done-and-get-it-fast western world, we don’t necessarily appreciate the way of waiting hope.
Because we live in a world that seeks to be successful all the time, comfortable at all costs, free of any kind of pain, and to have-what-we-want-when-we-want-it now.
We don’t know the way of waiting hope.
Friends, there is no other time like the present, to seek God’s way of waiting hope for the challenges we face. Even the most intelligent and wise among us need the divine guidance of our God.
Let’s refrain from reacting and instead fall to our knees and start praying. And keep praying. All day long.
This is the way of waiting hope as our God sees us through and vanquishes the spiritual enemies that seek to destroy us – whatever they may be; illness, loneliness, shame, bitterness, pride, lust, anger, impatience, betrayal, judgment, depression, self-righteousness, etc. Such challenges arise and advance through our circumstances. Identify them for what they are and release them into the hands of your God.
Take a time out.
This is the way of waiting hope.