Waiting. It does not matter whether you experience it sitting at the doctor’s office, standing in line buying groceries, or doing a little of both at the local DMV; waiting can prove quite trying. Waiting presents numerous difficulties for people bound by time because it highlights various uncertainties that characterize our existence upon the earth. Most uncertainties create discomfort because they simply reflect and amplify how much lies outside of our personal control. This actually lies behind the human desire to impose explanations for events beyond what the evidence (or reason) indicates. Conspiracy theories exist to comfort our human uncertainty, providing an explanation when none other is readily available. Sadly, this often leads people to attempt to superimpose some human control or blame over events (such as various natural disasters) where none exists. In similar fashion, the uncertainty inherent in waiting challenges man in another way. It forces each of us to accept that we cannot control everything, nor should we try. Instead, we should remember and live according to the One who is actually in control.
The whole of Psalm 94 revolves around this very theme: waiting. And yet, in typical poetic fashion, the psalmist walks the reader through the challenges present with having to wait to the climax of faith that the godly should both learn and employ while waiting. Nevertheless, the message of the psalm does not lie simply in an exhortation to wait, but in how to do so in a manner harmonious with faith. Therefore, do not simply wait, but wait calmly. Wait calmly for God to establish His justice rather than indignantly inflicting your own (Psa. 94:1). We have no right to judge others by our own standards. Instead, we must calmly wait for God to punish in accordance with his own (Psa. 94:2). We must also learn to wait patiently, judging success not by the trouble of the moment but by the certainty of eternity (Psa. 94:3). This further demands that we evaluate the wicked not by the mirage of power they have in the moment but by their insolence and ignorance (Psa. 94:4-7) because God knows best, and that includes knowing the best timing, including for judgment (Psa. 94:8-9). Fulfilling these things requires that we also wait humbly rather than haughtily making demands, both on others and on God. In every situation, no matter how negative, we should humbly look for what we can learn instead of seeking only to reinforce what we think we already know (Psa. 94:10-11). While it takes discipline, humility can help us see the blessings involved even in adversity, an essential trait for maturity (Psa. 94:12-13). Therefore, learn to think in terms of God’s character and your personal responsibility (Psa. 94:14-15). Nevertheless, when we approach waiting in faith, we can cast aside some of the uncertainty and wait confidently because of what God has promised. We can have confidence in His protection when seen from the right point of view (Psa. 94:16; Psa. 16:1), confidence in His help to provide the aid we need through life (Psa. 94:17), and confidence in His mercy through the trials we face (Psa. 94:18). Thus, our confidence does not derive from some promise of invincibility but from a relationship with the One in control of eternity. For this reason, we should always wait faithfully for God. When we trust His ability to handle our problems, we need not worry (Psa. 94:19; Phil. 4:6-7). When we trust God’s character, knowing He will do what is right and best for us, we remove doubt and uncertainty from the big picture of life and replace it with faith (Psa. 94:20-21). When we trust God’s will, we no longer feel an obligation to enforce our own on others (Psa. 94:22-23). God can take care of it.
Waiting reveals much about our relationship with God. It can reveal our trust or expose our doubt. It can demonstrate our maturity or prove how much growth is still needed. Waiting does not get easier with time; it gets easier with faith.