But then again I do take some comfort in the fact that I am not alone. In fact there are some incredibly strong fathers of faith in the Bible that were also guilty of being impatient; more than once. And the other day in an effort to hear from God I was once again led to the Psalms where He reminded that impatience is one of our greatest struggles in walking with Him.
Consider David. Time and time again he questioned God regarding His apparent lack of action, on His delay in answering David’s prayers. Haven’t you found yourself there on more than one occasion? I certainly have, and at the present time I am once again wrestling with the sound of silence in response to my prayers. But, as usual, when the Lord speaks it is often not in direct answer to my plea. And the other morning He once again took the opportunity of my current dilemma to teach me more about what walking with Him involves. He led me to Ps 61.
The opening verses of David’s psalm certainly summed up my situation…
Ps 61:1-2 Hear my cry, O God; Attend to my prayer. 2 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.
Oh how many times I have uttered those same words, making that same plea to the Lord when the circumstances surrounding me had me overwhelmed. When I desperately needed to hear from Him in order to know what to do or where to go. My prayers in those times always seem to be filled with the same pleas… Lord, just tell me what you want me to do. Tell me what Your will is. I need to hear from you because I am overwhelmed (ataph; clothed in darkness).
Well, the other morning He reminded me that He has already told me what to do when I find myself crying out for His Word. He reminded me what David had learned and stood on. David cried out for God to Hear his cry, Attend to his prayer, and to Lead him. Let’s look at what David was really asking God.
- Hear… shama; to hear intelligently; to pay attention to.
- Attend… qashab; to prick up one’s ears; to hearken to.
- Lead… nachan; to guide; bestow, govern, straighten
Isn’t that what underpins our prayers in our times of trial, confusion, and challenge? We want God prick up His ears and pay attention to us and give us direction; straighten things out and guide us through our circumstances. And don’t we find ourselves getting impatient when we discover that His time frame is not the same as ours? Well, we need to read on and follow David’s example of what to do when we feel stuck and all alone in our current set of circumstances.
Ps 61:3-4 For You have been a shelter for me, A strong tower from the enemy. 4 I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings. Selah
David reminded himself of not only what God had always been for him, he reminded himself of what He needed to do. Let’s take them one at a time.
- A Shelter… machaceh; a place of hope and trust
- A Strong Tower… oz migdal; a bold, mighty, strong castle
David was not only reminding himself what God had been to him, He was reminding God. He had always been David’s hope and trust that was secure in a mighty and strong castle; highly lifted up. The New King James uses the term “tabernacle” instead of “tower,” which is interesting because Jesus was God’s Tabernacle (the tent containing God’s glory here on earth). In truth David was speaking of Jesus, our hope and protection in this world. But at the same time David remembered his responsibility. He was to Abide and Trust in the One to whom he was crying out.
- Abide… guwr; to turn aside from the road and lodge; to sojourn with; to stand in awe of
- Trust… chacah; to have hope in
David knew from God’s previous action in his life that in order for him to be in a place of shelter, a strong tower, he needed to abide in and trust in God. We are not living permanently in this world, we need to remind ourselves that we are just passing through; sojourning with Jesus as our guide. It was only then that He could lift up his pleas to God and know that He would hear David’s cry and attend to his prayers. Isn’t that exactly what we need to do today? Can we really expect God to hear and answer our prayers if we are abiding and trusting in our own efforts, in our own strength, and in towers of our own construction? How can we expect Him to Hear and Attend to our prayers and Lead us if we are not Abiding and Trusting solely in Him? Yeah, I know that’s hard to do in the middle of the battle. But we need to remember that unless we do, we may not hear His voice, hear the very Word that will lead us forward. Thankfully David did not leave us without reminding us how we are to do that.
Ps 61:8 So I will sing praise to Your name forever, That I may daily perform my vows.
And there it is… the answer that we knew all along. The answer that I seem to always forget in the midst of my “crisis.” While we lift up our prayers in faith that God will answer them just as He has in the past. We need to press on with the last direction He has given us and “perform” our “vows;” our promises that we made to Him when we accepted the sacrifice that He made for us… daily! And most importantly, we need to seal those vows each and every day by singing praise unto Him. And that is often the most difficult part; setting our needs, our circumstances, our crisis, our test, or our challenge aside and lift up our praise to Him. Praising Him for who He is and for the promises He has made.
Yes, I get impatient when God is quiet. But at the same time I know that I can stand on His promises, not the least of which I should never allow to leave the center my thoughts… I will never leave you nor forsake you. And we can cash that check anytime we need it… it will always be paid. Even when we become Impatient!