Wait for the Lord
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.
Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite holiday. No stressful expectations of gifts. Just quality time with a fabulous dinner.
There is one problem though. My family always has appetizers! Good appetizers! By the time we sit down to dinner, I’m not all that hungry. I’m ready to rest on the couch.
Rest. That word keeps coming up as friends pray with me. I’m somewhat of an introvert and quality time is my love language so “rest” is not a difficult word for me.
As one friend prayed, the word “rest” became “sabbath.” According to the New Bible Dictionary, “sabbath” is a biblical principle observed as a day set apart to God. Jesus states that “the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” Exodus 31:17 refers to the sabbath as a time of being refreshed. A study on Nehemiah led me to the thought that the sabbath is a time to exercise our trust and dependence on God rather than on our own efforts.
But what do we do in this rest? This time set apart to God. This time designed to refresh us for our next cycle of labor. What is God doing in this time? Does he tuck us in and say “have a nice rest?” How does our soul rest?
For most of us, soul satisfaction comes in “doing” something. I believe this is because we are designed by God to contribute to life. So I asked God, after reading Psalm 27, “What am I to do in the wait?”
Let your soul get hungry. I will satisfy your soul. Don’t fill up on junk. Be hungry when I feed you.
Someone has to “do” a lot before sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner. The meal is wonderful whether I’m hungry for it or not. But when I’m hungry, it satisfies not only my taste buds but also my hunger and my body’s need for nutrition.
I’m not sure how this picture will speak to you. For some, the dinner prep is the labor and the dinner is the rest. For others it is reversed. For me, it’s both. Setting apart time dedicated TO God does not mean going to take a nap. It is preparing myself for what God will feed me.
Primarily that means clearing out the clutter so that God has room to work. Somewhat like getting your house ready so that company has a place to sit. Or getting the kitchen ready for all the food prep. It’s not easy to get all the clutter out of sight. And, if I leave it out, I want to nibble on what looks “good.” If I nibble too much, I may enjoy the taste of his meal but it won’t be as satisfying. In fact, it might make me miserable.
If I’m not hungry, his food will feel like a burden or stress.
What does this look like more specifically for me? It’s taken me a long time to say this but I am a leader. I’m not outstanding at doing any one thing but I’m designed by God to encourage people who are gifted to work together for a greater good. Sometimes that’s through teaching. Other times it’s through being in a creative growth-oriented leadership role. When I’m not doing that kind of thing, I get antsy and want to nibble.
God has called me to rest for one year. My “resting” involves watching more closely what He is doing – not just in me but in those around me and in his greater plan for all creation. He hasn’t stuck me in a room to keep me from seeing the meal. He’s showing me the ingredients. One of which is patience. Ugh! He is also showing me how he works with those ingredients to make everything just right in texture, taste, appearance, aroma AND nutrition. It’s making me hungry!
I’m four months in to my one year sabbath. At first, all I could see was the raw ingredients. It wasn’t very appetizing and I wanted to help so it would get done faster. He said something like, wait until you smell my love.
The meal is starting to come together. It smells good. But it’s not ready yet. I have a feeling it won’t look exactly the same when it’s done. I’m trying to be patient so I can enjoy all that he has prepared.
What does it look like for you to wait for the Lord? Is he asking you to rest – maybe not a year. Maybe just a day or 1/2 a day. Will you trust him to work while you rest? Maybe you can start with waiting just five minutes. As you wait, use all your senses to observe as God prepares to satisfy your hunger.
Be still and know that I am God.
Taste and see that the Lord is good.
Blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.