I am always challenging myself to really listen to the words of any song I sing. I am especially intentional about doing this when it comes to songs about God – what many would call worship, Christian, or gospel music. I used to say that I didn’t want to sing it unless I meant it, but now I want to sing it until I mean it.
Lyrics like “ I don’t mind waiting, I don’t mind waiting, I don’t mind waiting on You, Lord” and “Take courage my heart, stay steadfast my soul, He’s in the waiting” marked my previous season. They were lyrics that I, at times, had to speak over myself when my heart didn’t mean it at all. I think the hardest part about waiting is not always knowing what you’re waiting for.
I am very happy, living my dream, serving Jesus, and surrounded by amazing people – yet I can sense the Lord whispering in my ear, ‘There’s more. Just wait and you’ll see.” That is simultaneously exciting and frustrating. But I think the waiting is good for me. It makes me lean in more – I’m forced to recognize His presence in everything. I get it. I don’t like it. But I get it. And I think Paul got it too. It all started with a life changing encounter with Jesus on the Damascus Road.
“As he was approaching Damascus on this mission, a light from heaven suddenly shone down around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?’ ‘Who are you, Lord?’ Saul asked. And the voice replied, ‘I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting! Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.’ The men with Saul stood speechless, for they heard the sound of someone’s voice but saw no one!
Saul picked himself up off the ground, but when he opened his eyes he was blind. So his companions led him by the hand to Damascus. He remained there blind for three days and did not eat or drink… So Ananias went and found Saul. He laid his hands on him and said, ‘Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road, has sent me so that you might regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.’ Instantly something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized. Afterward he ate some food and regained his strength.” – Acts 9:3-9; 17 -19
Paul was marked for life and committed, from that moment forward, to serving Jesus. Most of his letters in the New Testament are written while he was in prison or being persecuted. If anyone knew what it was like to wait – it was Paul. When I read his letters, I get frustrated for him. He’s pleading with his readers, “Learn from me! It’s all gonna work out.”
One of my favorite passages of Scripture is found in Acts 16. Paul and Silas were headed to pray and the women kept taunting them. They got annoyed and casted a demon out of her. That demon had enabled her to be a fortune teller, so her bosses got upset and had Paul and Silas thrown in prison.
“Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself. But Paul shouted to him, ‘Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!’ – Acts 16:25-28
What did Paul and Silas do while they waited?
I’m reminded of the song that’s been blaring at our church, “Surrounded.” The chorus simply says, “This is how I fight my battles.” As we sang that song last week, our worship pastor reminded us that, as believers, we fight our battles with our hands lifted in surrender. Praise is our weapon.
So while I’m waiting, I’m going to praise Him. I’m gonna cry. I’m gonna fight. I’m gonna fuss. But at the end of the day, you’ll find me with my hands raised.