“Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield.”
It is hard to wait. Especially when trouble comes instead of a promise. But this is frequently the way God fulfills his plan. Waiting and trouble is no accident — it is purposed.
Consider the events leading to the fulfillment of Samuel’s prophetic anointing of David, a lowly shepherd boy, to become king of Israel.
In 1 Samuel 16:18, a servant of the current king, Saul, recommended young David as a remedy for Saul’s “torment from an evil spirit”: “I have seen a son of Jesse of Bethlehem who knows how to play the lyre. He is a brave man and a warrior. He speaks well and is a fine-looking man. And the Lord is with him.”
David was summoned from the hillside pastures to play for the king, and as he did, the evil spirit left Saul. Pleased, Saul assigned David as one of his armor-bearers, and took him in as a beloved member of the royal household and family.
And so began David’s favored ascent to the throne.
Or so it must have appeared. Instead, due to his trust in God and his many successes, David fell from Saul’s favor. He ended up a fugitive, hunted prey of an increasing jealous, malicious king.
Two words define this victimized period in David’s life: Waiting and Trouble.
David endured much of both. But without Waiting and Trouble, David would not have been prepared to reign as Israel’s king. He needed growth in authority, leadership, wisdom, and skills. Obstacles were put in David’s path, not to frustrate him, but to equip him; not to discourage him, but to protect him. Through Waiting and Trouble, he developed crucial qualities for success. He remained faithful. He didn’t bail from trusting, following, and obeying God when the going got tough.
David endured fifteen years of enemy opposition, consistently proving himself in battle, before he was proclaimed king of Judah. That positioned him to remove the remaining obstacles. Finally, more than twenty years after Samuel’s prophecy, it was fulfilled: David replaced Saul as king over all Israel.
Under David’s leadership, longstanding enemies of Israel were stripped of their power. What caused the collapse of enemy strongholds? What was it about David that caused his enemies to scatter?
David had waited for the appointed time. He had completed the training that accompanies Waiting and Trouble. He was fully equipped for success. He consistently pleased God — thus, the Lord was with David.
Many of the failures of people in the Bible were due to a failure to wait: Abraham gave in the Sarah’s suggestion that they have the promised seed through Hagar, her handmaid (Genesis 16:1-2). The Israelites, unwilling to wait forty days for Moses to return from the top of Mt. Sinai, made the golden calf (Exodus 32). Saul sinned by not waiting for Samuel to arrive (1 Samuel 13). The disciples were persistent in their hurry for the kingdom to arrive. The eleven apostles and others failed to wait and appointed Matthias as the replacement for Judas, when Jesus had instructed them to wait for “what the Father promised” (Acts 1:4).
“No one who waits for God will ever be put to shame.”
The time eventually comes for fulfillment of prophecies. Obstacles and enemies disperse. Waiting and Trouble give way to Success and Reigning.
Wait on the Lord. Commit to gain from the wait. Acquire the equipping that accompanies Trouble. Be patient, stay faithful and consistently righteous. Your success depends on it.
Musician and YouTube license credit: Justin Montefiore