hope for churches in stress

How long?

Our longings differ. Yet each of us has an unmet need, an unanswered prayer, an unfulfilled dream. And when hope fades, we cry out, “How long, O Lord?” (Psalm 13).

We are not alone. Noah waited for rain. Abraham and Sarah longed for a son. Joseph endured slavery and prison. Moses fled into the desert. David hid in the wilderness. A father watched for his prodigal son. An oppressed widow sought justice. The apostle John saw a new heaven and a new earth.

Knowing our vulnerability at these times, the Enemy bombards us with doubts, recriminations, and a false narrative about our lack of worth and fitness (1 Peter 5:8).

Make no mistake, God has a purpose in our waiting. He refines our motives, builds our character, and enlarges our preparation (Psalm 130). He tests (and strengthens) our faith (1 Peter 1:3-9). And when the time is right, he often gives us the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:3-4; Isaiah 64:4).

Or God may want to do something beyond our expectations. God waits for us to set aside our “small” dream and to embrace a different one. Sometimes, if something new is to grow, something old must die (Isaiah 43:19).

Either way, we can be active in waiting. We can take a course of study, develop additional skills, gain more experience. We can be faithful in the “small things” at hand (Zechariah 4:10; Matthew 25:21). We can persist in prayer and surrender more fully—until we desire Jesus more than the unmet need or dream (Genesis 22).

In one way or another, God will provide. And it is always worth the wait.

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