Waiting on the Lord
One of the most difficult and challenging aspects of being a Christian and maintaining one’s faith is having to face the troubles and trials of this life. But the true child of God will persevere, not by relying on his or her own strength, but by finding encouragement from the Lord and His holy word (Philippians 4:7). James the Lord’s brother said in James 1:2-5, “My brothers , you should be very happy when you experience many kinds of troubles, because you know that the testing of your faith will develop more endurance. Endure, so that your actions will be truly complete. Then you will be mature. You will have everything; you will need nothing. But if any one of you does need wisdom, just ask God. It will be given to you. God is the One who gives freely to all people, and He does this without complaining.” Enduring, which is another way of saying our times of waiting, will undoubtedly be extremely difficult. But it is during these times that our assurance that our belief is not in vain can grow and forge an even deeper faith in God as circumstances force us to fully trust in Him as we cling ever tighter to His unchanging hand.
I read or heard somebody once say, "I have prayed hundreds, if not thousands, of times for the Lord to heal me – and He finally healed me of the need to be healed." Bearing patiently all the things that God allows to challenge our lives in this fleshly coil may be the greatest aspect of self-denial and cross bearing we have to confront. But true love for our Lord will allow no less, for Paul said, “Love…bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:4, 6) By enduring and waiting on the Lord, then, we shall find ourselves guided, furnished, safeguarded, disciplined, and rewarded.
Had Jesus grown up in China we may very well have heard Him tell a parable of the bamboo tree to teach us a lesson about patience and endurance. The Chinese bamboo tree seemingly does absolutely nothing for the first four years of its existence. But then a truly amazing thing happens. Suddenly at some point during the fifth year, the bamboo plant shoots up an astonishing nine feet in a mere sixty days! So the question becomes, did that bamboo plant grow in six weeks, or did it grow in five years?
It is my belief that our lives and the Chinese bamboo tree are very much akin to one another. Sometimes we put forth our best effort time and time again, with apparently no fruition for our labors, and no perceptible reaping for our sowing seeming to occur. But if we endure, as James says, and if we do so out of love, as Paul says, and if we do so unto death, as John says (Revelation 2:10), we will receive the rewards for all of our efforts, as Jesus says (Matthew 25:21).
May the Lord bless you!