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Waiting with Hope in a Gelatin World

I’ll be honest. National and world affairs burden my heart. Yes, the world changes constantly, but in recent years the Arab Spring, Brexit, and the election of unexpected leaders in a number of countries have rocked our world. Just last week elections in the Republic of Zimbabwe led to violence.

What issues weigh on your heart? I work with refugees. While refugee admissions are at decades long low in my country, there are 68.5 million forcibly displaced people worldwide, according the UN Refugee agency. The dire circumstances of so many burdens me.

What people inhabit your personal concerns? Wayward children, a sick friend?

Do you have significant personal desires that haven’t been realized?

There are moments, or even years, when we wait for change, justice, healing or resolution and then slog through the mud of dashed hopes, turmoil and disappointment. “Wait on the Lord” is one of the last things we want to hear at such times. But perhaps we need to re-examine what it means to wait.

Scriptures on waiting have stimulated my thinking. These are some of my discoveries mined from the Word:

  • Whatever we wait for, we ultimately wait for the Day of the Lord when all is just and right (James 5:7-8).
  • Waiting does not mean inaction.  It encompasses continuing on while refusing to resort to ungodly tactics to achieve God’s goals. David waited on God to ascend to the throne and refused to remove Saul from power by killing him by his own hand, or by the hands of his men (1Sam. 24:6; 26:9-11).
  • Instead of inaction, waiting often entails suffering, hard work, service with hope, persistence with love in the face of discouragement. (Gal. 6:9) Waiting leaves timing and results in God’s hands. A Christian worker I know served for many years before seeing fruit, but when fruit came, it increased rapidly.
  • God renews the strength of those who wait with hope (Isaiah 40:28-31). We base our hope in waiting on God’s character, strength, power and justice, not our own. We will never be disappointed because God will prevail (Psalm 13:5-6; Isaiah 40:18; 64:4).

Think again about the things you wait for. Renew your commitment to pray, live, and serve faithfully while leaving the results and timing in God’s hands.

Beth Barron and her husband have worked cross-culturally for decades, first in the Middle East and now in the U.S. She teaches English to refugees and uses her writing skills to advocate for them. Beth enjoys writing, biking, vegetable gardening and connecting heart to heart with other women. She is involved in her church's External Focus ministry. She and her husband have three adult children, two daughters-in-love and three grandsons. Beth graduated from Rice University in Houston, attended Dallas Theological Seminary and is committed to life-long learning.