Do you find waiting tough? Most twenty-first century people do. We don’t want to wait in traffic, wait in line, wait for the economy, or wait for a table. So the thought of waiting on God sets us back on our heels. We think our timing is what matters and then God says, ‘Wait!’ and it can be especially difficult to wait on God.
Look at this great promise from the prophet, Isaiah. ‘Those who wait on the Lord will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not grow faint’ (40:31). And the prophet, Jeremiah, said, ‘The Lord is wonderfully good to those who wait for him and seek him.
The Lord will reward you for waiting upon him. You can remain calm when it appears that nothing is happening when you think it should. Waiting is a response contrary to the ways of the world. But when you learn to wait, you’ll find the winds of adversity will lift you up, like wind beneath the wings of an eagle, instead of knocking you down. As you develop a patient faith in God, you will be able to endure to the end of the race’and win. As you seek God and wait on Him to complete His work in your life, you will be find strength. Try it and see!
Innocent bystanders often get hurt by the mistakes and poor decisions of others. Disasters happen that haunt us for life even though we have no direct responsibility for the events that take place. Often the best way to handle these things is to accept them and to make the best of the situation.
Daniel and his friends were innocent bystanders. They suffered a lifelong exile to Babylon because of their country’s prolonged disobedience to God. But they didn’t let their misfortune destroy their relationship with God. With courage and faith, they faced the realities of exile and lived successful lives. Their lives offer us insight into how to deal with tragedy.
After being taken from Jerusalem to Babylon, Daniel and his three friends were trained for service in the Babylonian government. Their captors often demanded that they do things that stood in opposition to God. To protect their relationship with God, Daniel and his friends set clear boundaries for their behavior. They followed God’s plan for their lives, despite its conflict with the command of their captors. And God protected these faithful men from the foreign laws and unstable tyrants they lived under.
Although Daniel and his friends were exiled to Babylon for the sins of their ancestors, they didn’t use that as an excuse for continued failure. Instead, they trusted God to redeem their lives, and they were determined to live according to God’s precepts and teachings. You can do the same.
Simon the fisherman was reckless, vacillating, and often thoughtless. He friends could probably think of some apt nicknames for him, but I doubt any of them came close to what Jesus called him: Peter, which means ‘Rock.’ What greater evidence could there be that Jesus accepted Simon as he was but also had a vision for the man he’d become? And what an amazing transformation took place in that burly fisherman!
Most men can readily identify with Simon Peter. His intentions were usually good, but he was impetuous in speech and impulsive in action. When Jesus revealed that his divine mission would involve a painful death, Peter rashly told Jesus to stop talking that way. At the last supper he brazenly objected to Jesus washing his feet. When Jesus was arrested he cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant. And we all know how he denied knowing Jesus three times.
Later in Simon Peter’s life, however, we see what Jesus saw when he called him ‘Rock.’ He was used by God to perform miracles, he preached publicly about Jesus despite opposition, and exhibited strong leadership in the early church.
In Simon Peter’s life we see hope for our spiritual renewal and transformation. He wasn’t perfect, but he grew in his life in Christ and God used him to have a profound effect on the world.
Jesus has the power to transform even the most unlikely people. Keep this in mind for yourself and for others.