"I waited patiently for the Lord, and He inclined to me, and heard my cry . . . and He has put a new song in my mouth, even praise to our God." Psalms 40:1-3.
Come and listen to the testimony of one who can speak from experience of the sure and blessed outcome of patient, waiting on God. True patience is so foreign to our self-confident nature, it is so indispensable in our waiting on God, it is such an essential element of true faith that we may well once again meditate on what the word has to teach us. The word patience is derived from the Latin word for suffering. It suggests the thought of being under the constraint of some power from which we fain would be free. At first we submit against our will; experience teaches us that when it is vain to resist, patient endurance is our wisest course. In waiting on God it is of infinite consequence that we not only submit, because we are compelled to, but because we lovingly and joyfully consent to be in the hands of our blessed Father. Patience then becomes our highest blessedness and our highest grace. It honors God, and gives Him time to have His way with us. It is the highest expression of our faith in His goodness and faithfulness. It brings the soul perfect rest in the assurance that God is carrying on His work. It is the token of our full consent that God should deal with us in such a way and time as He thinks best. True patience is the losing of our self-will in His perfect will.
Such patience is needed for the true and full waiting on God. Such patience is the growth and fruit of our first lessons in the school of waiting. To many a one it will appear strange how difficult it is truly to wait on God. The great stillness of soul before God that sinks into its own helplessness and waits for Him to reveal Himself; the deep humility that is afraid to let our own will or own strength work anything except as God works to will and to do; the meekness that is content to be and to know nothing except as God gives His light; the entire resignation of the will that only wants to be a vessel in which His holy will can move and mold: all these elements of perfect patience are not found at once. But they will come in measure as the soul maintains its position, and ever again says: "Truly my soul waits on God; from HIM comes my salvation: He only is my rock and my salvation."
Have you ever noticed what proof we have that patience is a grace for which very special grace is given, in these words of Paul: "Strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, to all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness?" Yes, we need to be strengthened with all God’s might, and that according to the measure of His glorious power, if we are to wait on God in all patience.
It is God revealing Himself in us as our life and strength that will enable us with perfect patience to leave all in His hands. If any are inclined to despond, because they have not such patience, let them be of good courage; it is in the course of our feeble and very imperfect waiting that God Himself by His hidden power strengthens us and works out in us the patience of the saints, the patience of Christ Himself.
Listen to the voice of one who was deeply tried: "I waited patiently for the Lord, and He inclined to me, and heard my cry." Hear what he passed through: "He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet on a rock, and established my goings. And He has put a new song in my mouth, even praise to our God."
Patient waiting on God brings a rich reward; the deliverance is sure; God Himself will put a new song into your mouth. O soul! Be not impatient, whether it is in the exercise of prayer and worship that you find it difficult to wait or in the delay in respect of definite requests, or in the fulfilling of your heart’s desire for the revelation of God Himself in a deeper spiritual life - fear not, but rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.
And if you sometimes feel as if patience is not your gift, then remember it is God’s gift, and take that prayer (2 Thess. 3:5): "The Lord direct your hearts into the patience of Christ." Into the patience with which you are to wait on God, He Himself will guide you.
"My soul, wait only on God!"