Wait For It
If you’re in a hurry but the light is red, you wait for it. If you’re a teen but you don’t have your driver’s license yet, you wait for it. If your baby if failing to thrive because he needs open heart surgery, but the doctor says not yet, you wait for it. If your dad died from cancer, and the Lord hasn’t returned yet, and you don’t expect to get another hug from him for decades, you wait for it.
Waiting is hard.
The Lord knows our frame, and He loves us. He knows waiting is hard on us, and so His Word has many comforting words to those who wait. In Lamentations 3:25–26, Jeremiah says this about waiting on the Lord:
The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul who seeks him.
It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
Jeremiah had witnessed his city destroyed and his people deported in a massive relocation plan to weaken the homeland’s defenses. The Lord had promised in Jeremiah 29:10 that the captivity would not last forever, but would end after 70 years. Indeed, 70 years after the temple and the whole city of Jerusalem was destroyed in 586 B.C., a second temple was completed and consecrated for worship in 516 B.C. after God had been returning people to the land for some years.
I grieved the other day when I realized that if I live to be 100 years old, I will have to wait 70 years before I see my dad again. I realized just now as I read Jeremiah 29:10 that the Israelites had the same number of years to wait before they saw their home restored. The Lord was faithful to His promise then, and He will be faithful now.
But what do we do in the meantime? We pray and we trust. Jeremiah continues in verse 55:
“I called on your name, O Lord,
from the depths of the pit;
you heard my plea, ‘Do not close
your ear to my cry for help!’
You came near when I called on you;
you said, ‘Do not fear!’
Jeremiah was in a dark place, so he did what children of God do—he prayed. His prayer was desperate, yet simple, “Do not close your ear to my cry for help!” The Lord’s reply to Jeremiah is the same comfort He speaks to you today, “Do not fear!” Waiting is hard, but the Holy Spirit will comfort us through the Word of God and soon today’s troubles will seem as far in the past as 586 B.C.