Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of Him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret—it only causes harm. Psalms 37:7-8
As we have looked at these verses in Psalms 37, we have learned to delight ourselves in the Lord (Part 1), commit our way to Him (Part 2), and now finally we learn to rest and wait patiently for Him. For me, this is probably one of the most difficult things to do. I have the tendency to say, “God, you’ve called me to this. This desire is from you and I have dedicated myself to be committed to what you have for me. Let’s do this!” As a wise father, God sees that our enthusiasm often precedes our ability and our maturity.
God’s timing is so incredibly different from ours and His ways higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:9). Ultimately, God has a plan that is greater than anything we could ever come up with, but we have to trust that He will open the doors for us to do what He wants in His timing. Too often, I see Christians justify impatience with a “calling”. “I’m called to do this and therefore I will force open doors and it should all work out because this is God’s calling for me.” A calling from the Lord cannot be an excuse for impatience. When we act out of impatience, we almost always mess things up and then wonder why God doesn’t seem to be blessing what we are doing. We must be reminded that it is not about what we are doing; it is all about what God is doing through us. We have to wait for Him.
Does this mean we passively stand by and do nothing? No, we continue to commit our way to Him as we discussed earlier. Working hard at what He has for us today, and anxiously wait to see what God will do next. We must continue to delight in him and then, and only then, as He leads, we can move forward to the next chapter of God’s story. We must be willing to go if the doors are opened, but careful to not force open doors.
Numerous times in my life I felt God was calling me to something new, but I was not yet ready for what was to come. I thought I was ready, but in hindsight, I am so thankful that He gave me time to grow and learn so that when the door was finally opened I was ready. Had I jumped right in and forced things to happen, it is very possible that I would have destroyed the very things I was hoping to accomplish. Impatience paired with great passion and enthusiasm can be a very destructive combination. In that impatience, we act on feelings and emotions instead of following the leading of the Holy Spirit. This will almost always end in disaster.
As we find ourselves wrestling with our emotions as it relates to our desires, it is easy to then find ourselves stressed. “God, when are you going to open the doors for me? Why does that person who is less qualified have more success than me? How can it be that these other people, some who don’t even know You, seem to have all of their desires fulfilled so perfectly while I still have nothing but a yearning heart?”
This is where we can find comfort in Psalms 37:7-8. Do you trust God? Do you trust that He has a plan for your life? Then, wait patiently. This is so freeing. No longer do you have to worry about how you can make things happen or how you can overcome the seemingly impossible things in your path. In patience, we allow God to work miracles. Rely upon His wisdom and His strength, instead of your own. This can only happen if you get out of the way and allow Him to work. Do not be apathetic, but instead…
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:6-7)