Waiting can be so difficult. The days seem long, and the world seems dark. I’ve been a part of a men’s group that meets for breakfast once a week where several of us have been in seasons of waiting. So, as we investigated what we wanted to read and discuss it seemed natural to find a resource that spoke into waiting. This is where we found a reading plan in the free YouVersion Bible app called “Victory in the Wilderness”
Over the past weeks we have read passages in the Bible that gave us wisdom and guidance around topics such as self-control, waiting, worrying, offense, and peace. It has been such a rich time for our group to hear each other, hear what God is saying, and to encourage one-another. We also wonder about God’s timing when our prayers our not answered in the way or time we expect.
What might it have been like for the followers of Christ to wait on the day after he was crucified and buried? This is what we learned on Sunday as Dr. Suzanne McDonald, a Professor at Western Theological Seminary, shared about Holy Saturday. In Luke 23:56b we read that “On the sabbath they rested according to the commandment” (Luke 23:56b). We can infer the darkness and hopelessness that must have been experienced by all who loved Jesus even as they were faithful in honoring the sabbath by resting.
Dr. McDonald proposed ways we might journey through dark times:
- Be faithful even if you don’t feel it.
Sometimes we just need to keep doing the actions of a faithful follower of Jesus. This might include setting aside time for prayer, reading the Bible, participating in worship on a Sunday, and gathering with other believers.
- Stop and rest in the Lord.
Step back from trying to control the outcome and, instead, hand it over to God and find rest in Him.
- Help one another see glimpses of God’s love and care.
Look for ways to love and serve others. This moves us out of a self-focus and into an other-focus. You have the ability to be the physical presence of God to those in need.
- Wait with certain hope of what God will do.
Remember what God has done in the past in order to trust in the future He has planned for you.
In addition to these ways of being in the dark times you might also find hope in the following passage from Philippians that our men’s group is reading this week:
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5 Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you. – Philippians 4:4-9 (New Revised Standard Version)
- How might you be faithful even when you don’t feel like it?
- Where can you make space to find rest in the Lord?
- How might you care for someone else as a way of showing God’s love?
- What is one area of life for which you can give thanks to God?