Learning to Love Waiting, Part 1

It doesn’t take very impressive powers of observation to know that America is an ever increasing “need it now” culture. Amazon has been leading the way for years on faster and faster delivery. 2-day delivery wasn’t fast enough, so they sped up to 1-day delivery and then to same day delivery. Now, it seems that same day delivery isn’t even enough, and they are rolling out same hour delivery. It’s hard to fathom how they could get any quicker, but years ago I doubt anybody would have thought same hour delivery was a possibility!

The point is, we are not a culture that is learning to wait. We are a culture that is growing increasingly impatient and demanding. This is seen not just in online shopping, but also in relationships, careers, finances and of course the church as well.

If you know your Bible, it probably isn’t surprising that as the world wants to make waiting for anything a thing of the past, that God not only expects waiting but makes incredible promises to those who wait on the Lord.

I want to just consider a few of them so that personally as counselors we learn to LOVE waiting on the Lord and so that we can help our counselees learn to LOVE waiting on the Lord.

Promises to Those Who Wait on the Lord

1. Those who wait will not be put to shame

Psalm 25:3Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame; they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

Shame is part of the human experience in a sin cursed world. Shame entered as early and as quickly as sin entered the world when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. Genesis 2:25 says that “the man and his wife were both naked and not ashamed.” Those are the only two humans to have experienced a world without anything to be ashamed of.

I can remember as an elementary school student the shame of misbehaving and being called out in class. I can remember the shame of being announced in 2nd grade as the only person to receive a 100% on the spelling test, but to have misspelled my own name­­–Gerg! I can remember the shame of being skin and bones with hardly any muscle. I can remember the shame of forgetting to put on deodorant and having horrendous body odor after recess. The list goes on and on.

I bring up those examples, not to mention much, much more serious sin in high school and as an adult that is so much more shameful than having BO, to highlight how glorious the promise of not being put to shame is for all of us who know shame so well.

Everyone wants to be accepted and loved rather than exposed and shamed.[1] But what everyone cannot agree on is how shame needs to be covered in order to be accepted and loved. But according to Psalm 25:3 NONE who wait for the Lord will be put to shame.

A very key question to ask is, why does waiting for the Lord result in not being put to shame? And the along with that, why does being wantonly treacherous or could we simply say, not waiting on the Lord mean that there will be shame?

The answer to the first question is implied by what David says in Psalm 25:5. He says that “you are the God of my salvation.” In other words, God is the one who rescues him. God is the one who delivers David. God is David’s salvation. If David needs to be saved, which the entire Psalm clearly shows that David does, how does being saved bring about not being put to shame? Doesn’t the fact that David needs delivered and saved show that he is in trouble, weak and incapable of rescuing himself? So how could waiting to be rescued mean not being put to shame?

This is where the cross of Jesus Christ provides the most clear and robust answer. Jesus’ crucifixion was a shameful death where he was stripped naked and lifted up high for all to look upon in derision. That’s what David’s sin deserved, that’s what my sin deserves, and that’s what everyone’s sin deserves. But for those who have trusted in the Lord (cf. Psalm 25:2), the shame that they deserve is placed on Jesus (cf. Isaiah 53:3–5) and the perfection and righteousness of Christ is imputed to them (cf. 2 Cor. 5:21). As a result, those who wait on the Lord will ultimately on judgment day be vindicated completely from any shame that was hurled upon them in this life—deserved and underserved. Therefore, those who admit they are helpless and wait on the Lord’s salvation will not be put to shame. They will experience the victory of the resurrection of Jesus Christ! That’s why Peter closes his first letter with this promise:

1 Peter 5:10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

Those who have suffered a little while and WAITED on the Lord’s salvation, will experience the glory or the honor (the opposite of shame) in Christ and be restored, confirmed, strengthened and established!

With a promise like that—those who wait on the Lord will never be put to shame—don’t you WANT to wait on him?!

But for those who don’t wait on the Lord they will be put to shame. The reason is because ­those that think they deserve honor, and glory don’t recognize that their sin means they are helplessly lost apart from the grace of God that comes through Jesus Christ. Therefore, whether or not they experience a shame-filled life or not, they will be put to shame when they have to stand before the Lord on judgment day, because they will have failed to acknowledge that apart from Christ they have nothing to boast or glory in. Even the deeds they thought were good will be shown to be filthy rags (cf. Isaiah 64:6). Therefore, they will be shamed as fools and rebels.

Potential Objection

There will undoubtedly be the hang up for quite a few, that waiting for vindication in heaven doesn’t really help me today with the trouble and shame that I’m going through. So that’s great that someday there won’t be shame, but that doesn’t provide much hope today.

To that kind of thinking I would say I completely understand, because all of us in our sinful flesh are naturally bent to think in such short-term selfish ways. That’s why many, many scriptures speak to the foolishness of that kind of reasoning. Here is one:

Hebrews 12:1–2 …let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Notice the connection between joy and shame in verse 2. This verse tells us that Jesus went to the cross because of joy! The cross was an instrument of intense suffering, torture, death, humiliation and shame. And yet, this verse tells us that Jesus endured it BECAUSE there was joy to be had on the other side of the shame. Instead of suffering, rejection and shame Jesus is “seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Because of the shame and suffering and his obedience to his Father and him waiting on the vindication from His Father, Philippians 2:9 says that, “God has highly exalted him and bestowed upon him [Jesus], the name that is above every other name.”

Jesus is much more than just an example to us. But the Bible makes it clear, as does Jesus’ own words, that shame and suffering precedes the honor, glory, vindication and no shame that is promised to those who wait on the Lord. Jesus said, “Deny yourself, take up your cross daily (an instrument of shame and suffering) and follow me” (cf. Luke 9:23).

I hope this helps us want to wait rather than begrudgingly wish that we didn’t have to wait on the Lord for the promise of not being put to shame. His promises and his plan are inscrutably glorious!

Conclusion:

In the second part of this blog, we’ll look at 2 more promises that God makes to those who wait on him as well as think about practical ways to grow in this area. Before then though, I’d encourage you to make a list of things that you had to wait on that you’re thankful you waited. And then make a list of things you didn’t wait on, that didn’t turn out well. Let those two lists encourage you to believe and trust that those who wait on the Lord will not be put to shame!

 


Photo by Amanda Jones on Unsplash

[1] There isn’t space to argue for how even people that seek humiliation and other ways of being shamed truly want to rid themselves of the shame. But those extreme forms of seeking to be shamed are a form of self-atonement with the hopes of after being shamed and punished enough they will have reached “salvation” and be good enough.

Greg Wetterlin
Pastor of Men's Ministries at Faith Church. Blessed to be married to the woman of my dreams in order to serve the Savior we both are unworthy to have.