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Saturday, February 1, 2014
Daily Devotional - The Waiting God
And therefore the Lord [earnestly] waits [expecting, looking, and longing] to be gracious to you; and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you and show loving-kindness to you. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are all those who [earnestly] wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him [for his victory]. —Isaiah 30:18
This verse has become one of my favorites, and it has often been a source of encouragement to me when I’ve had hard times. The Living Bible paraphrases the verse like this: “Yet the Lord still waits for you to come to him, so he can show you his love; he will conquer you to bless you, just as he said. For the Lord is faithful to his promises. Blessed are all those who wait for him to help them.” Let’s think of the implication of the promise. God waits for us. As I think of that promise, it staggers my mind. The Creator of the universe and the Giver of all life has chosen to wait for us—waits for us to come to our senses, waits for us to respond to His love, waits for us to turn to Him for help.
That’s a staggering thought. God wants to show us love.
Perhaps as much as anywhere else, Satan attempts to build a mental stronghold right there. When we contemplate God’s love for us, many of us can’t take it in. We can only think of our failures, our shortcomings, and dozens of other reasons why God shouldn’t love us.
That reminds me of a kind man I’ve known for many years. One day he took care of a situation for me that he didn’t have to. I was surprised and deeply touched. “You are probably the kindest man I know,” I told him.
He stared at me in shock. “Me? Kind? Oh, I can be mean-spirited and cruel,” he said. For several minutes, he explained to me that he couldn’t possibly be a kind man. “I live with myself all the time, and I see all my defects.”
“Maybe that’s the trouble,” I told him. “You see your defects so clearly, you don’t see your caring, compassionate qualities. You discount all those things.”
He never could accept that he was kind. I also used the word gentle and that surprised him, too.
Perhaps that’s how it is with many of God’s people. We are so absorbed by our failures and all the wrong things we see about ourselves, it’s hard to believe that God wants to bless us. If we read, “God wants to punish you,” we wouldn’t have trouble, saying, “Yes, that’s what I deserve.”
But how would we answer if someone said, “God wants to bless you”? We probably would say, “I don’t deserve that.”
How many of us believe we are entitled to God’s blessings? We want the good things. We want God to love us, encourage us, bless us, and give us victory, but to say we deserve the blessings may be more than we are willing to accept.
Why do we struggle over the concept of deserving? Our tendency is to think that we have to do something to earn the blessings . . . that we have to be good enough or faithful enough. We miss the point of God’s powerful, gracious love. Our blessings from God are not a result of our goodness. They are the result of God’s goodness.
We are entitled to God’s blessings for only one reason: because we are His children. It’s just that simple. Those of us who are parents grasp that concept with regard to our children. We brought them into the world, and they deserve our love. We freely give them our love before they do anything good or bad. They deserve our protection and all the good things we choose to give them. They don’t deserve those things because they’ve done something to earn them, but simply because they are our children.
Satan loves to trip us up on this one. As soon as we think it is right for us to be blessed, he points to our weaknesses or our failures. God points to our relationship. That’s the difference.