"Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him." Psalm 37:7

The tide was low, the sands stretched far and wide, and the briny sea spread away until its azure blended with the sky. During centuries that shore, alternately saturated with salt and scorched by sun, had never yielded refreshment to the faint. The "sad sea waves" sullenly breaking reminded of the thirst they could not slake. But suddenly I saw a tiny pool bubbling amid the sand. It was fresh, living water, forcing its way from hidden depths, irrepressible. Little birds came to sip it. I stooped, and my thirst was quenched. My soul was refreshed, for it sang an old familiar song, "O rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him."

There are times when life seems a dreary desert. Yet, after days of weary travel, we reach some Elim with its palm trees, and if, as at Marah, the inviting waters are bitter, God casts some tree of promise into them, and makes them sweet. We faint, and perhaps murmur, but God opens fountains from the flinty rock. We rest beside some Jacob's well; and, though it be deep, faith draws up its living water, and we hear the voice of God saying, "I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen." Let His people therefore trust in Him, and wait.

We could not rest in our weakness. But underneath the weakest believer are "the Everlasting Arms." The Red Sea still divides at His touch. The wildest storm obeys His word, "Peace, be still." Strength without love does not give rest—but He in whom we trust is our compassionate Father. He gave his Son for our salvation. He dwells in us by His Spirit. We are "engraved on the palms of His hands." A father will not leave unsuccoured the child who appeals in need or peril. Jesus says—"Let not your heart be troubled."

We seek earthly support from sources on the permanence of which we cannot absolutely rest. The cistern leaks; the fountain fails; storm desolates the vineyard; the solid ground turns to quicksand. But Jesus Christ is "the same yesterday, today, and forever." He is not an unknown God—"We have heard with our ears, and our fathers have told us what things You did in their day, and in the old time before them." We have ourselves proved His power, love, and constancy. He has delivered us from a worse bondage than Egypt, and has promised never to leave us or forsake us—"My sheep shall never perish."

Patient waiting is sometimes more difficult than actual suffering. How distressing the suspense when expecting critical tidings, waiting the arrival of the physician, watching for rescue from a sinking ship! But if our help comes from the Lord, we may "wait patiently for Him." Patiently, because He acts on a plan prompted by wisdom and love, deliberately formed, carefully carried on, sure to be perfected. Delayed deliverance is being accomplished meanwhile. Intervening frosts and rains are "preparing for our use the kindly fruits of the earth, so that in due time we may enjoy them." During the darkest hours of night the earth is rolling onward to the dawn. Vessels on changing tacks, bound to the same port, may seem going from it, yet they are thus approaching it, and by that contrary course are escaping wreck. Children might disturb the roots to see how their plants and flowers are growing. Impatience hinders, not helps. Why pluck the fruit before it is ripe? Be patient, and let it swell into fullness, and sweeten in the sun.

God is patient. The silent stars, with seeming slowness yet unamusing certainty, pursue their course. Steadily the seasons change, and day follows on to night. The husbandman has long patience until he reaps the reward of his ploughing and sowing. God was patient during Joseph's reproach and imprisonment, until the Divine plan was perfected in the protection and nurture of the chosen race. He was patient during the sins and wanderings of the Israelites, until, purified and strong by trial, they were fit to occupy the promised land. The disciples waited patiently for the promised Comforter, and the Church still waits patiently for the glorious appearing of her Lord. How patiently has God waited for us, saying, "Behold I stand at the door and knock!" And shall we not wait patiently for Him? His season for manifested support is the best. "God is never before His time, and never too late." Let us wait the Lord's leisure. "If the promise tarries, wait for it—it will surely come—it will not tarry."

"Yet a little while." The pain, the grief, the privations, the fears, are but "for a moment" compared with the "eternal weight of glory." Heaven is not far off! Safely landed on the heavenly shore, we shall wonder that the trials of the wilderness journey seemed long. And these very trials are the pathway to that home, strengthen us in reaching it, and fit us for enjoying it. They "work out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."

Let us, then, respond to our Savior's call—"Come unto me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." "Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him." For salvation, we may rest on His atonement. In all our weakness, we may rest on His strength. In all our sorrow, we may rest on His sympathy. In all our perplexity, we may rest on His guidance. In all our need, we may rest on His help. In all our danger, we may rest on His deliverance.

The snows of winter nurse the hopeful corn;
Long patient months produce the harvest fair;
The darkling clouds the sunset's throne prepare;
'Mid glacier-crags are noblest rivers born;
The tempest's tracks the mountain-face adorn;
In deepest mines are treasured gems most rare;
The port seems calmer reached through storms of care.
The night of weeping ends in joyful morn;
Events are not as first they meet the sight;
The sons of God, by passing griefs are blessed;
Amid the dark He ever leads to light,
His purposes and plans are always right.
Commit your way to Him—His way is best;
O wait for Him, wait patiently, and rest.
—Newman Hall

Home       QUOTES       SERMONS       BOOKS