There are at least twenty-two scripture references on determination. All Christians have times of doubt and fear, which is sometimes compounded by feelings of shame and regret for those very feelings.
On my trip to what many in Ohio call “That State Up North” this past weekend, I used a GPS to help me find my student’s church. As you know, this handy device gives audible step-by-step directions, and even will help when you make a wrong turn. It automatically “recalibrates” and navigates to the right direction.
We can use scripture as a GPS for navigating our lives. Sometimes these verses will tell us to simply hang on or endure a difficult circumstance. Other times we are told to think through and embrace the power of God in our lives. God’s overarching theme is hope as we negotiate the daily demands, frustrations and discontent in our lives.
In Psalm 27:13-14, the psalmist declares, “I remain 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 and wait for the Lord.”
I do not like to wait. Even microwaves seem too slow for me. Like many of you, I want things to happen right now.
Waiting is hard work. Waiting can test our faith. Unfulfilled desires, unanswered prayers, waiting for test results, or for a job interview can tempt us to be impatient, discouraged, to worry, and even to wonder if God really cares.
Maybe this is why waiting is identified so many times in scripture. Joseph waited 13 years. Abraham waited 25 years. Moses waited 40 years. Jesus waited 30 years. If God is making you wait, you’re in good company.
God wants us to know that waiting is far from a passive activity in which we do nothing. Scripture teaches us that God wants us to actively participate in God’s work of waiting with patience, perseverance, and endurance.
God hears our cries as noted in Micah 7:7, “But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my savior; my God will hear me.”
Jesus gave us a promise, saying, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” Emmanuel, God’s great gift to us, comes with a promise that will sustain us while we wait with courage and hope for answers to prayer.
Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27).
May God grant us continued perseverance and determination as we wait.
Rev. Dr. Tamara Francis Wilden is Director of Field Education at Methodist Theological School in Ohio.