I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.
Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie! – Ps 40:1-4
I’m posting this passage because it has become so meaningful to me. Just recently I was feeling anxiety about the Lord working out my circumstances. We need to get used to the biblical dynamic whereby things usually get worse before they get better. Whether it’s the history of Israel or the healings and deliverances of Jesus in the Gospels, the protagonists usually must pass through a crisis stage before they see God’s mighty power come through for them.
Here’s how I see it. Even when our cause is good and just, God alone must get the glory from His workings, and our imperfect flesh gets in the way. And so he allows us to go through the refiner’s fire of cleansing trials, to get ourselves out of the way.
But who can endure the day of His coming? And who shall stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire, and like fuller’s soap.
And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver. And He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may be offerers of a food offering in righteousness to the LORD. – Mal 3:2-3
Then he can give us the good and perfect gift. He not only can grant our requests, but He will do so in a way that pleases Him, that draws us closer to Him in holy Christlikeness.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness nor shadow of turning. –Jm 1.17
The blessing of the LORD itself makes rich, and He adds no sorrow with it. Pr 10.22
This is why it’s so important to abide patiently, faithfully and reverently. As we incline our hearts toward the Lord, He inclines His ear to the yearnings of our hearts. As we continue to abide, our desires are purified. The self-glorifying stuff drops off, and we come to want what God wants, for the right reasons – to extend His glory and His Kingdom. Now in perfect intercession, the perfected pray-er becomes one with his prayer. We can say that he actually becomes the prayer – and that’s a hard prayer for God to resist.
As we continue walking this way, and as we see our prayers answered, we are imbued with a greater sense of God’s sovereign ability and faithfulness. The Bible’s “faith chapter” states
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. – Heb 11:6
All this is implicit in just that one phrase of David’s psalm, “waited patiently”. David embodied the reverence and faith and humility that sees God as both exalted and faithful, and so he waited. It’s no wonder God loved his heart and worked mightily in his life. Though David went through incredible trials and dangers, and even suffered devastating failures, God never abandoned him and kept making a way for him. In doing so, God glorified himself through David, and established the channel by which the Perfect One himself would enter the world.
If we wait patiently for the Lord, he will answer and deliver us as He did David. And He will bring Christ into the world through us as well.
But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. -2Cor 2.14