Waiting with Demands

Adam Navis

Read: Psalm 40

Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me! O LORD, make haste to help me! (v. 13)

Has it ever, in the history of the world, helped anyone, anywhere, to be told, “Just be patient”? Patience is something that’s always forced upon us when the situation gets out of control. If we didn’t have to, would anyone ever choose to be patient just for the sake of being patient?

In Psalm 40, David teaches us how to wait while also being active. The psalm begins with a summary: “I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry” (v. 1). Then David remembers how God has acted in the past: “He drew me up from the pit of destruction . . . and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth” (vv. 2-3). David is realistic about the current situation, remembers the past action of God, and then calls on God for help in the future: God, please hurry up!

As we pray and wait for the deliverance we need, we can become fixated on the problem rather than on what God has promised and who he is. Self-focused prayers lead to frustration. But in our misery, prayers that remind us of God’s actions in the past reorient us toward the source of our deliverance. Whatever help and deliverance you are waiting for, try to focus on the promises of God rather than the size of your problem. —Adam Navis

As you pray, remember that God is good, powerful, and loves you.