Tag Archive | Waiting On God

Grateful For Grace

“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” Matthew‬ ‭7:11‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” James‬ ‭1:17‬ ‭ESV‬‬

These two verses have taken on new meaning in my life this week, each time I glance out the window or walk out the front door of our home and see one of God’s good gifts sitting in our driveway! After over a year of praying for the Lord to make a way for our family to replace our vehicle that stopped running over a year ago, His gift of provision is a daily reminder of two important truths of Scripture: that our God answers prayer in His own way and His perfect timing, and that His gifts are given because He is a God of grace and goodness, not because of anything we have or ever could do to earn them.

When the Lord provides for a major need in our lives in a way we would have never come up with in our wildest imagination, being grateful comes easy. The words on a neighborhood church sign that we drove by on our way home from the car dealer with our new mini-van last Friday said it perfectly: “God works in unexpected ways!” I never would have come up with the idea of meeting this need through a retired widow living on a fixed income, one who has been a prayer warrior for our family for many years.

The provision to purchase a vehicle without adding to our debt came on the very last day of a month when God had been speaking many life-changing truths to my heart through an e-book by Andrew Murray entitled Waiting On God: A 31-Day Study. This timely study had reminded me that God works in His timing, that as we wait for Him to work in our circumstances He is first doing a needed work in us, that we must wait patiently as we focus on losing our will in His perfect will, that the Giver is greater than the gift and our waiting on Him is the only way to learn to find our life and joy in Him. These truths and a long series of other important reminders of God’s ways during the waiting have been a source of strength during the painful and stretching month of September.

But of all God has spoken to me in this amazing provision, what has stood out above all else are six short words spoken by the leader of our church iConnect Bible study class last Sunday morning, a dear friend who along with his wife has been walking with my husband and me through a situation that is still very much in progress, one where God is doing a major overhaul on our lives. The simple words, “What a gift of God’s grace!”

The very nature of God’s grace is that there is absolutely nothing we can do to earn it. It is an undeserved gift from God. Faith is a part of the progress, but even that doesn’t earn us anything good from God. Scripture teaches a pathway to grace that God has been walking us down during this past six weeks, the pathway of humility. As James 4:6-10 says, “But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.”

This week as I rejoice in the good gift God has given our family since my last Thankful Thursday post, I am equally grateful for the spiritual truths He has reminded me of during this situation we have been and still are walking through. As we move forward from here, the turning around of the overall situation we are dealing with is still definitely a work in progress. The work in my husband’s life and in my life are also still very much works in progress. But the lessons God has been teaching us about His character and His ways are settled a little deeper in our lives. And they are unchanging. ‭‭We don’t know what lies ahead of us in the coming months. But we do know our God and His ways a little better than when this season first began.

Exploring Our Theme, Part 2: Still Anchored in Hope

As I sat in the hospital in September caring for our extremely sick special needs son David, I wrote what I fully expected to be part one of a two part series exploring the theme of my blog. You can read that post here:  https://readywriterbr.wordpress.com/2017/09/24/exploring-our-theme-part-1-anchored-in-hope/

Then life happened. David survived his life-threatening illness, but he returned home with a whole new list of medical problems. In October and November, my time was occupied with managing his care and with my leadership team responsibilities with God-Living Girls with Chronic Illness Facebook group. Other than a couple quick Five Minute Friday posts my blog was quiet. December has been filled with daily Advent posts on the names of Jesus.

As 2017 comes to an end, a year in which I chose Hope as my Word of the Year, I feel it’s time to reflect back on what God as taught me this year about Hope. 

What is Hope?

  • First, biblical hope is not wishful thinking. True hope – even when you look up the definition in a reputable dictionary such as Merriam-Webster – is closely tied with confident expectation of fulfillment.
  • There are two Hebrew words usually translated hope in the Old Testament. The first, yachal, is a verb and includes the idea of waiting (usually on God) with an attitude of hopeful expectancy. The second, tiqvah, is a noun and is used in reference to the ground of our hope or the things hoped for.
  • In the New Testament, the main Greek words translated hope are elpis (noun) and elpo (verb). Elpis is probably best translated expectation and can refer to expectation either of good (resulting in hope) or of evil (resulting in fear). When translated hope, the noun is used to refer to the object of our hope (the Author of hope, the One who is its foundation) or the result of our hope (especially the joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation). The verb form, elpo, means to anticipate, usually with pleasure.

What has God taught me about hope this year?

  • The most practical lesson I’ve learned is that hope is especially needed during seasons of waiting on the Lord. This year has been filled with lessons on waiting, and having hope during those times has made the difference between walking in victory and falling in defeat. When Isaiah 40 speaks of waiting on the Lord, the Hebrew word used is yachal, which is often translated hope. The two concepts cannot be separated.

Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah‬ ‭40:30-31‬ ‭ESV‬‬

  • Another concept which God has taught me this year is that biblical hope is one of the most important factors in not being shaken by difficult circumstances. When storms come against us, we need an anchor to hold us firm. According to Hebrews 6:19, Hope is that anchor.

We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain,Hebrews‬ ‭6:19‬ ‭ESV‬

  • A quote by the late RC Sproul of Ligonier Ministries explains this better than I can.

“Hope is called the anchor of the soul (Hebrews 6:19), because it gives stability to the Christian life. But hope is not simply a ‘wish’ (I wish that such-and-such would take place); rather, it is that which latches on to the certainty of the promises of the future that God has made.”  RC Sproul

Many times this year, circumstances have felt overwhelming. I found myself in need of something stable to hold onto. I found that in reading and believing the promises of God’s Word and in trusting what Scripture reveals about the nature and character of God. By God’s grace, I would latch on to one of these and be strengthened to keep going. The storms didn’t go away, but by anchoring myself in God’s character and promises, the “boat” of my life did not capsize.

As 2017 comes to an end and I pray about a new Word of the Year for 2018, I still have much to learn about biblical hope. I’m sure God will continue revealing new truths to me in this area. My hope has grown this year, but I definitely still have room to continue growing and several still unresolved issues where increased hope is needed.

During this year of focusing on hope, there have been many songs which have encouraged me to hold on to hope. I’ll close by sharing my favorite, one that has repeatedly strengthened me during this difficult year.

Waiting Can Be Hard!

Have you ever been on an airliner that was in a holding pattern? I don’t like flying, so this would be a really stressful situation for me. Your trip is almost over and now you’re ready to land, get off the plane, and relax. But the pilot announces that there will be a delay in landing. You don’t know the reason. And while the aircraft is low enough that you can see the ground, you keep flying in a circular pattern, waiting for landing clearance.  If were on that airplane, I would be more than ready to get off!


As I was praying and journaling on Monday morning, the above picture came to mind. For almost a year now, my life has been in a “holding pattern.” In the summer of 2015, my pain management doctor decided to see if an cervical epidural steroid injection would give me some relief from pain. Unfortunately, the injection had the opposite effect. Since July 2015, I have experienced severe pain (worse than before the injection) in both my cervical and lumbar spine. And my relatively mild disability increased to the point where I to use a wheelchair for any outings to church or out to eat.

The pain management doctor and my PCP had no idea what was going on, so next a saw a neurologist. After testing, she said the damage to my spine was so severe that all she could do was refer me to a neurosurgeon. In February, my condition grew even worse. I started having severe headaches, nausea, vertigo, ear pressure, shakiness in my hands, and frequent brain fog, and the pain in my neck, upper back, and shoulders became worse. On March 10, 2016, I saw the neurosurgeon, and after a thorough exam he said I needed surgery both in my cervical and lumbar spine. After much prayer, we decided to move forward with scheduling the first surgery, the one on my cervical spine. More doctor’s appointments and tests, numerous phone calls, and over three months later this surgery is still in the process of being scheduled.

The message on my heart today: Waiting is hard! Even though people are involved in this long time of waiting, I believe God is in control of my life and of the timing of my surgery, so I see this ultimately as a season of waiting on the Lord. I believe that God has a purpose in this whole situation, and I choose to trust in His timing, but this doesn’t make waiting  any easier. We are hopeful that the surgery will help, but waiting is even harder when we are uncertain about the outcome. We’ve tried to walk through this season in a way that pleases the Lord, but for some reason this week have been extremely hard emotionally, as well as physically.

I don’t know how much longer the wait will be, and I’m feeling drained. So how do I keep waiting on the Lord, in a way that pleases Him? What does Scripture say about this? I invite you to join me in my search for the answers to these questions.

  • One of the most familiar Scriptures about waiting on the Lord is found at the end of Isaiah 40: “Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40: 30-31 ESV)
  • First, this is a promise of renewed strength. After a long season of waiting, we need strength to keep going – physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. God promises renewed strength as we wait. God keeps His promises! This is a basic truth we need to hold onto during a season of waiting.
  • Some simple word study of the Hebrew word translated “wait” in this verse increases our understanding. The root word means “to bind together, as by twisting.” Waiting on the Lord, then, is  binding ourselves together with God. To do that we must trust that God our safe refuge in this storm.
  • This reminds me of Jesus’ words in Matthew 11: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”” (Matthew‬ ‭11:28-30‬ ‭ESV‬)‬ As believers in Christ, His yoke binds us together with Him.  And remember, it is an easy yoke, nothing to be afraid of.
  • So waiting on the Lord isn’t passive. There are some choices we must make. The other definitions of the word include “to be strong” and “to expectantly await.” In a situation such as mine, strength isn’t going to come from myself. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12: “”My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭12:9-10‬ ‭ESV)‬  Therefore, while waiting we must choose to rely on God’s grace and His strength.
  • We are also to wait with expectation. Paul was in prison waiting for deliverance, when he wrote to the Philippians: “For I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.” (Philippians 1:19-20 ESV). His goal was that Christ would be honored in his situation, which is a good goal for us to adopt during seasons of waiting.
  • Another key to waiting as God desires is found in Romans 8:25: “But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” So we see that patience is another important factor in waiting for God to move on our behalf. We need to recognize that God sees the whole picture, and that He loves us and wants the best for us. So His timing may be painful, but we can trust it is for our benefit. This helps us to choose patience when we are waiting.

As I prayed today and allowed the Lord to lead me in my study, God clearly brought the above Scriptures to mind. Most of them were not ones I had associated before with waiting on the Lord, but God used them to speak to me. Yes, waiting is hard.  No, I still don’t know when this time of waiting wil be over. I am still in a holding pattern,  which could end next week or next month or even later. But this study has renewed my mind – and hopefully yours too. I feel more prepared to continue this lesson on waiting, until God releases me from it.