Monday, 8 May 2017

The Burden Of Waiting

I've been learning over the last few years that some trials are like the seasons we have with the weather and last for a relatively short time. There are other trials however that don't seem to come to a close after what we would class as a "season" and continue to rumble on and on.

When weeks turn into months and months turn into years it can be such a challenge not to become completely disheartened. When family and friends are longing to hear of an improvement in your situation and yet all you have to tell them is that nothing has changed and you’re still just “waiting on the Lord” and trusting in Him, it can be very difficult and frustrating for both sides. For some people years can even turn into decades and they still find themselves praying for their loved one to be saved or for the physical or financial trials to ease.

Of course there are varying kinds of storms that we go through in life and I think it's important to know the difference between a storm of correction and a storm of instruction.

If we've been rebellious or disobedient in our walk with the Lord, perhaps living in a manner that we know is contradictory to the Word of God then it's certain that we'll find ourselves in the midst of a time of correction. If we’re truly born-again and not just “Christian” by title then living in disobedience to God will grieve the Holy Spirit and convict us in our hearts. God loves us and like any good, loving father would do with a wayward son or daughter, He'll bring us into a time of chastening to bring us back into line with His Word and His will. It's not a mean-spirited thing to do, it's the loving protection of a God who wants and knows what's best for us. It may be painful for a time but ultimately we'll thank Him as He seeks to restore our fellowship with Him.

The inspiration for this poem however comes not from going through a storm of correction but rather one of instruction. I'm talking about the kind of trial you find yourself in even though you know that you've been following Jesus the whole time and this is the place God has brought you to. A storm of instruction is very different in nature because it has nothing to do with disobedience.

If we consider the fact that Jesus was in the centre of God’s will when He hung on the Cross, it certainly goes against the suggestion that anyone going through a painful time of trial must be rebelling or backslidden. The book of Job in the Bible tells us about all the awful trials he went through as a servant of God and yet he was described as a “blameless and upright” man in Job 1:1.

In Mark 4 we read about Jesus and His Disciples during a storm that was so ferocious it would seem it was demonically driven. Jesus commanded the storm “Quiet! Be still!” but in the original Greek text His words translate as "Be muzzled” or “Be gagged.” We too can be exactly where God wants us to be and yet find ourselves battling with storms so terrifying we wonder if we're going to make it. Not all trials in life are there because of a sin issue, some come our way because God wants us to learn something about Him that only this situation can teach us. Sometimes we can find ourselves right in the middle of a storm at the same time as being right in the centre of God's will.

It was during such a time as this when I found myself reading Psalm 13 which says,

“How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever?
How long will You hide Your face from me?

How long shall I take counsel in my soul,
Having sorrow in my heart daily?
How long will my enemy be exalted over me?

Consider and hear me, O Lord my God;
Enlighten my eyes,
Lest I sleep the sleep of death;

Lest my enemy say,
“I have prevailed against him”;
Lest those who trouble me rejoice when I am moved.

But I have trusted in Your mercy;
My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.

I will sing to the Lord,
Because He has dealt bountifully with me.”

The first line really stood out to me and I felt I could relate to David’s cry of despair. Although as Christians we know that God has promised to never leave or forsake us as Hebrews 13:5 says, I think there are times in life when it can feel as if God has perhaps forgotten us. This is of course never the case as even when we can’t feel God’s presence He is always there and He’s always working on our behalf. God doesn’t break Hs promises and it’s often in these times of drought that He’s doing things behind the scenes in an incredible way!

It’s encouraging though to hear in this Psalm that even King David, the man after God’s own heart also went through trials like these. I was amazed that after such a dramatic opening to the Psalm, by the fifth verse David’s tone changes and he’s quickly back to focusing on God’s goodness. I found this journey from despair to trust really encouraging and inspiring and so began to write my poem “The Burden Of Waiting.”

The title comes from the feeling that going through a long trial can seem like just waiting for things to change has become the burden that you have to carry through each day. A heavy burden is of course never from Jesus though as He says in Matthew 11:29-30,

“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

My prayer for this poem is that it can encourage anyone who feels like they’re going through an on-going trial. The devil would have you believe it’s your fault and that you’re alone in the situation. You’re not! Many are going through similar difficulties and you’re in good company! Jesus is with you, His grace is sufficient for each day and He will get you through this. Just keep trusting in His wisdom and sovereignty and don’t give up hope. We only hope in things we can’t see otherwise it’s not hope so even if things look bleak, keep hoping! Your Saviour is with you, He loves you and He will give you the strength you need in this time.

How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever?
How long must I wait in this troublesome place?
Consider and hear me, enlighten my vision.
Remember Your servant and hide not Your face.

How long must my soul take counsel within me?
How long must I carry this sorrow of heart?
Though seasons may change this season seems endless.
How long must I wait Lord to see a new start?

Yet better it is to trust in Your mercy
Than groping for answers I won't understand.
Instead of requests and demands in the darkness
Much better it is Lord to reach for Your hand.

What could be wiser than following Jesus
Though others may deem it brings little reward?
When all of their questions will meet the same answer
And all I can say is "I wait on the Lord."

Help me to carry this burden of waiting,
Let not my spirit seem lost and forlorn.
Help me to offer my praise in the desert,
Recalling Your love in the eye of the storm.

For not every trial is filled with a clamour,
Though "quiet" and "warfare" seem strangely opposed.
Sometimes the challenge is filling the silence
When once doors were open but now remain closed.

Days that were busy instead become aimless,
Heavenly gifts are put back in their box.
Reduced to "observer" as others continue
While years seem to pass with the ticking of clocks.

Hearing the devilish whispers of Satan,
Filling the head with such worry and doubt.
Groping for Jesus amidst the confusion,
That flicker of Light that never goes out.

I know that Your presence is faithfully with me
And You have not given a spirit of fear
But one of sound mind, of love and of power!
I cry out to You Lord and know that You hear.

Help me to patiently wait for Your timing,
Refining my faith as I hope in Your Word
For time and again it's truth has been proven!
Make me a witness so hearts may be stirred!

Days are not aimless when focused on You Lord,
Serving Your purpose my skills are refined.
This training prepares me for what's round the corner;
My gifts are not boxed, they're just paused for a time.

Or maybe You're teaching me lessons anew Lord,
Developing skills that are yet to unfold.
Though various trials may grieve and perplex me,
A genuine faith is more precious than gold!

I trust in Your wisdom, You guard and protect me.
My soul, don't despise the day of small things!
Wherever I go may I represent You Lord
And seize every moment this circumstance brings.

Help me to see You in each situation,
Let naught be done through the arm of the flesh.
The work You've begun will be brought to completion
So fill me each day with Your Spirit afresh!

My mouth will continually praise and exalt You,
Your goodness and mercy I'll boldly proclaim!
Humbly I give back this life that You purchased;
My worth found in You, I rejoice in Your name!

The joy of the Lord is my strength and my comfort,
I cling to each promise when doubts pose a threat.
I know You'll establish the work of my hands Lord
For You are my God and You never forget.

When I think of Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars which You have ordained
What is my life that You should be mindful?
Oh Jesus, how faithful to me You've remained!

So help me to count it all joy in this trial.
Teach me, my Father to number my days.
Knowing I wait in Your arms everlasting,
I'll come out victorious and give You the praise!

Psalm 27:13-14
"I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say on the Lord."

Psalm 61:1-2
"Hear my cry, O God; Attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I."

1 Peter 1:6-9
"In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honour, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,  receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls."

Romans 5:1-4
"Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope."

Romans 8:24-25
"For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees?  But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance."

Deuteronomy 8:2
"And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not."

2 Timothy 1:12
"For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day."
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