Stories, thoughts and reflections on the Bible from the WSFC Staff.
Have you ever watched as people you know and love push their way up social or corporate ladders only to find themselves in places they were never intended to be? Or watched relationships move forward against wise counsel, only to end horribly? What about seeing plans made and executed successfully only to bear no fruit? I have. And in many of these situations, the forward movement was deceptive; covering up the wisdom of principled life as well as the voice of the Holy Spirit trying to break through and guide us.
Forward movement is not always progress. On the surface our life can resemble the old adage “two steps forward, one step back.” But it’s all for good reason. Slingshots must be pulled back to launch forward. And sometimes you slow down the pace of your life, wait on God and allow Him to position you in His perfect ways, even when it’s scary, unknown and sometimes kind of boring.
Waiting on God is not easy, but it also gets a bad wrap. Because we call it “waiting” we think we must sit still in a quiet room until something magical happens. That is rarely the case. The discipline of silence is so important, but it is not all “waiting” was meant to be. Waiting on God involves movement. It involves us filling our hearts with scripture. It takes setting up meetings with godly people so they can speak into our hearts. It involves seeking out options. It involves evaluating your actual desires and needs. And yes, it also means taking all of these actions into account, sitting with God and letting him filter it all into sound decisions.
Zephaniah spoke to Judah about waiting on God. And while the third chapter of His book is not an exposition on prayer, his exhortation on what would happen to Judah after they wait on God can give us hope for what could come in our life. So here are a few things God may do in our seasons of waiting on Him.
He will purify our speech
“I will change the speech of the peoples into pure speech, that all of them will call on the name of the Lord and will serve him as one.” Zeph. 3:9
Pausing to wait on God gives us time to gain perspective. We each have the ability to produce both life and death with our words (Prov. 18:21). Waiting on Him, especially in times of emotionally turmoil, allows God to give us the words to say and not to say; the timing and tone which with to assert our perspective into a situation, give advice, or respond to criticism. “Waiting” in these situations could be remaining silent before God, talking to wise counsel that God places in your life, or searching the scriptures so they can speak into your situation. The more of each of these we can do, the better foundation we have call on God’s name and serve Him with our words.
He will release us from shame
“On that day, you won’t be ashamed of all your deeds with which you sinned against me” Zeph. 3:11
One of the ways the Holy Spirit works in our lives is to remind us of what Christ has taught us and done for us (John 14:26) At the cross He took judgement and shame on Himself so that we could enter into freedom. But life gets busy and sometimes we forget that this freedom is available to us. For most, the voice of judgement and shame is louder than the still small voice of the Holy Spirit. It speaks over the clutter and keeps us from living life from a place of victory. While we wait on God, we must allow the Holy Spirit to remind us that we are free from shame and judgement. We are not defined by our past, we are defined by the work of Jesus on the cross.
He will keep us in His presence
“No longer will you be haughty on my holy mountain, but I will cause a humble and powerless people to remain in your midst; they will seek refuge in the name of the Lord.” Zeph. 3:12
Up to this point the people of God had formalities down. They could still go up to the mountain, worship through ritual, and maybe even get a glimpse of God’s presence. But God’s presence stayed on the hill as they left. Remaining in the presence of God should be a goal and priority of all believers. The Bible refers to His presence as a refuge; a place of safety and peace. And when we wait on Him, He will envelope us with his presence and we will learn to remain there no matter what geographic location our day takes us. He presence will be a source of joy and strength as we live our lives in the easy and difficult times.
He will turn away our enemies
“The Lord has removed your judgment; he has turned away your enemy. The Lord, the king of Israel, is in your midst; you will no longer fear evil.” Zeph. 3:15
Here is what we have to remember: we do not battle against flesh and blood. God is more concerned with the enemy of our soul and the affects that they have on us maintaining victory. People with bad attitudes or malicious intent will come and go. God is most concerned with our response to them than their presence in our life. As we wait on Him through prayer, Bible reading and declaring truth to our own hearts, He will stand guard at the door of our heart and turn them away.
He will create calm with His love
“The Lord your God is in your midst—a warrior bringing victory. He will create calm with his love; he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zeph. 3:17
God needs nothing to create something. He proved that while creating this earth we live in. So when He tells us that He can create calm in our life, He doesn’t need calm circumstances to work with. He just needs us to wait on Him as He works on our behalf. And while we wait, He creates calm. While we wait, He sings over us. While we wait He pours the love of God into our hearts through the Holy Spirit and the cares of this world melt away.