An Attitude of Expectation
Isaiah 25:9 And it shall be said in that day, in this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad in his salvation.
Isaiah 26:8 Yea, in the way of thy judgments, O Lord, have we waited for thee; the desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee.
Lamentations 3:25 The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.
In Jan Karon’s series of stories about the little town of Mitford, the character Father Tim always refers to the prayer “Thy will be done” as the prayer that never fails. If we pray “Thy will be done”, then we know that our prayers will always be answered. If we are seeking to be in the center of His will, and focusing on what He wants as opposed to what we want, we can be confident that whatever happens next is exactly what He desires.
As I started to plan this devotion, I was struck with the difference between waiting for something specific and waiting on God. When we talk about waiting for God to bring us a specific thing (for example – marriage, children, or a better job), we are telling God that we think that this thing is the best for us right now. In that sort of “waiting“, we’ve taken God out of the equation. We’ve told Him what we think is best and more often than not we’ve told Him that we’ll be patient, that we can wait years, even, but that He’d better be faithful and bring it sometime soon. We think we’re doing right and praying right because we’re so patient, but we’re still telling God what to do. “Waiting” like that, too, always leads to disappointment. Things in our lives rarely happen at the times and in the ways that we think they should. More importantly, when our prayers are clogged with us telling God what is best, we miss those things that He brings us every day because we’ve decided for Him what His answer should be.
A better way of thinking is to have an attitude of expectation. When we truly pray “thy will be done”, we are saying that whatever you want next for me, Lord, is what I want. When we pray this, we can begin each day “looking” for what God will bring us, instead of “waiting“ for what we don‘t have. This God that we serve brings us blessings every day and so often we miss them because we are so focused on what we lack. If we say that we want what He wants, we can always be “looking” expectantly. Now, there is nothing wrong with desiring specific things and we are even told in the Bible that if we delight ourselves in Him, He will give us the desires of our hearts (Psalms 37:4), but our attitudes need to change from waiting for the specific to waiting for God’s next and God’s best – whatever that may be.
The three verses above from Isaiah and Lamentations talk about waiting on God, seeking Him, and being glad in Him and in His salvation. If we wait on God and for God, instead of waiting for the thing that we think is best, we will be able to see when His next blessing arrives. With this attitude, we cannot be disappointed. Pray for an expectant heart, that His will be done in your life, and keep your eyes open for His next and His best.