Believers anticipate that God will make something good out of troubling circumstances. This hope may come from the scriptural statement, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) This verse tells us that God continues working in all the circumstances of life. While He works, we are patiently trusting God. John Piper once said: “To wait on God means to pause and soberly consider our own inadequacy and the Lord’s all-sufficiency, and to seek counsel and help from the Lord, and to hope in Him (Psalm. 33:20-22; Isa. 8:17)… The folly of not waiting for God is that we forfeit the blessing of having God work for us.” We need God to work on our behalf.
While God is working to refresh our lives, we may do some important things.
We may wait. The Psalmist says, “I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart.” (Psalm 27:13-14) In our waiting we will pray. We will read scripture and reflect on the promises of God. The great 19thcentury missionary Adoniram Judson once wrote, “The future is as bright as the promises of God.” Corrie Ten Boom once said, “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” The promise of scripture is, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run, and not become weary; and they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 KJV)
We may hope. God’s Word says: “the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.” (Psalm 147:11) In hope I believe that God loves me and there is a future. I can envision a future that is wonderful because the God I serve has my future planned. He’s planning blessings for us. When Namaan was told by Elisha the prophet that his leprosy would be healed if he washed himself seven times in the Jordan River, he became angry. He thought there were better rivers in Damascus and was offended that the prophet did not minister to him personally in prayer. But after Namaan’s attendants encouraged him to follow the prophet’s words, Namaan dipped himself in the Jordan seven times. “…and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.” (II Kings 5:14) Hope allows us to imagine a future that is better than our present, and also our past. God’s word instructs us to, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” (Romans 12:12-13) That leads us to a third practice.
We may serve. God blesses others through our service. Joseph could have been bitter toward his brothers after being sold into slavery. He could have given up. Yet, while in slavery, and later in prison he continued to help people. His journey to Egypt was used by God to elevate Joseph’s role in humanity during the seven years of famine. After their father, Israel, died his brothers came to Joseph in humble contrition. Joseph said, “‘You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.’” (Genesis 50:20) Joseph had a vision of his life that included the big picture. God was not only doing something great in Joseph’s life but also in the lives of the people he would help. While waiting on something good to happen Joseph committed himself to serving. We may not serve on the scale of a Joseph, but remember the words of Albert Schweitzer, “Always keep your eyes open for the little task, because it is the little task that is important to Jesus Christ.”
Good things are ahead for God’s people. Our Lord told the people of Israel, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.’” (Jeremiah 29:11) Good things come from a good God!
Pastor Ken Atchison
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com.