After reading Bathsheba’s story and her interesting relationship with King David, I wonder… did she have any say in her part of the secret affair? After the king noticed her and called for her to be brought to him, could she have declined? I’m afraid she lived in a culture where the king’s subjects were expected to obey, whatever the cost.
So, David “sent messengers and took her, and when she came to him, he lay with her. She returned to her house. The woman conceived; and she sent and told David, and said, ‘I am pregnant.’ ” 2 Samuel 11:4-5
Again I wonder. Did Bathsheba anxiously wait over the next few weeks wondering if she might be pregnant? Did she hope to be pregnant? Imagine how her status would be elevated if she were to conceive a prince! Did she wait in fear wondering how she would break the news to her husband?
We aren’t given many details. We know she told the king. Now the problem was his. How he dealt with his consequences is another story that can be found in 2 Samuel 11:6-24.
Have you ever found yourself in a situation, forced to wait with the circumstances totally out of your control? Bathsheba was a bystander in her personal plight. The next thing we hear about her is that her husband died and she mourned for him. She had to have known what had happened. The king covered up his sin by plotting the death of her husband. She was forced to wait through the early stages of her pregnancy and watch her selfish king manipulate circumstances to his benefit.
While we may never find ourselves in such a vicious and evil triangle I feel certain many of us have been forced into situations over which we had no control. The only thing we could do was watch and wait and hope for the best.
In Bathsheba’s case the best would be a long time coming. Her son only lived seven days.
When taken to God’s Wait Room how do we handle the heavy weights when everything is stacked against us?
These are the times we learn to trust in God. Some things that happen to us cannot be explained. I don’t know the answer.
I think of the three women who lived hidden in a house of horrors in Cleveland. I think of a little girl grabbed from her bus stop and forced to live in squalor in an evil man’s back yard where she gave birth to two babies during a time when she was but an innocent child. I remember Elizabeth Smart, taken from the safety of her room in the middle of the night.
I don’t understand and I don’t know how these precious girls survived. But they waited and they hoped and they were set free. Today they tell their story with dignity.
This is what I do know: “God has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favor has come… To all who mourn he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair.” Isaiah 61:3
God is able to take a crisis, a tragedy, a loss, and even a horrible incident and turn it into something of beauty.
To each of us who waits in the midst of tragic circumstances I say with complete hope, Jesus came to set us free. We wait with hope, knowing that sorrow only lasts for a short time and new mercies will come. They will come at God’s appointed time. They will come because our God is a God who loves us and will free us from our bondage.
As you wait, memorize Psalm 40:1-3. Turn it into a prayer believing and trusting God that he will bring you through your wait.
“I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay; and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. And He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.”
I guess there is no sadder wait than the one of a woman who longs to be a mother. From the time we are little girls it seems we live to nurture. We love babies. We are drawn to them. We hold those tiny humans and stare at their body parts in awe, playing with their toes and fingers and little nose. WE smell them and light up with delight when they look at us and smile. We take for granted that one day we will grow up and be mommies.
We marry and we assume the next joy of our lives will come in the form of a pregnancy. That day is delayed. The wait becomes a topic that consumes us and distracts us. Before long it is all we can think about.
Hannah was one such woman. Her story is written in 1 Samuel. Not only was Hannah distracted, she had another woman in her house who was driving her to despair. The other wife made Hannah miserable by taunting her. Can you imagine such a wait?
Hannah dealt with her wait through tears. 1 Samuel 1:7 describes her situation: “Year after year it was the same—Peninnah would taunt Hannah… Each time, Hannah would be reduced to tears and would not even eat.”
We are talking about a huge wait!
Hannah cried, but she also prayed. “Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord. “ (vss 10-11)
I think sometimes we as women are too proud to cry. We pretend we can deal with whatever circumstance has clouded our earthly journey. I have found that crying is cleansing, exhausting, healing. After a good cry I have felt liberated. Often the exhaustion has led me to sleep. After waking up, rested and with a new and clear perspective, I’ve had the strength to persevere.
Hannah prayed. She had a conversation with God. She bargained with Him.
“If you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime,” (vs 11)
I don’t know how I feel about bargaining with God, but I do see the intimacy of the relationship. Hannah felt she could talk with God like she would with anyone from whom she wanted or needed something.
Eventually God blessed Hannah with a son who became a prophet, a priest and and a well known man of God. Her wait was worth it.
1 Samuel 2 records the song Hannah sang. Verse 5 records that she went on to have 6 more children.
Hannah waited. She cried- yes, to the point of being judged as a drunken woman. She prayed and bargained with God.
Friend, you are not alone in your wait. God sees you and He hears you. At the perfect time He will answer your prayer. As you wait, don’t be ashamed to cry. Develop an intimacy with your Father. Ask Him for whatever you want. You are the chid and He I the Father. He knows what you need.
Today, before reading my thoughts about Ruth’s waits, I encourage you to read her story. The book of Ruth is only 4 short chapters. As you read write down at least three ways Ruth occupied herself as she waited. Then we can compare notes.
We know that Ruth is Naomi’s daughter-in-law. She chose to return to Naomi’s home with her mother-in-law after tragedy had struck their household. Tragedy, in the form of death. Naomi’s husband and two sons had died. She longed for her people west of the Jordan so she announced she would be returning. Ruth would not be convinced otherwise. She insisted that she go with her mother-in-law.
The two women made the journey from Moab to Bethlehem. She set up housekeeping together, and Ruth began a life of providing for Naomi. As she waited to adjust to her new surroundings, to figure out how to survive, and to possibly meet a man who would provide for her and Naomi, Ruth,
-submitted to her mother-in-law allowing herself to be mentored.
-learned and obeyed the laws of the new culture in which she found herself.
-diligently worked the fields bringing home daily sustenance.
So what do we learn from Ruth?
Personally, I have turned to women I admire and respect during times of extreme trials. I have chosen godly and faithful women and confided in them. I have asked for their prayers and their honest comments. These women have seen me through many a dark valley. They have ministered to me and in turn have been honored for the faithfulness.
If you seriously consider our life on earth you might agree with me that we are foreigners here. How God calls us to live is so often contrary to the world’s ways. God’s standard is high, sometimes lonely, and can be challenging because His way goes against our sin nature. I’ve learned to put my blinders on and dig deep into His Word while my life is put on hold. I do this because looking to the world for answers confuses me. I compare my struggles to others and wonder why I don’t have it as good as they do. I’ve come to the conclusion that my “job” while I wait is to obey God. If I focus on Him, the weight of the wait shifts and somehow I miraculously manage to live through the wait.
Five years ago God called me to His Wait Room where He handed me an extraordinarily heavy wait. Never in my wildest thoughts would I have considered our family would be afflicted with this wait. I had watched others face such a trial. I remember having pity on them. Thanking God for not handing me that body building challenge. And now here I was struggling to understand that pitiful and life numbing challenge. I think that the most difficult aspect of this wait was that it was not about me. It was about someone I dearly loved.
About the same time God offered me another challenge. I had thought that all I could do was sit and stew over my circumstances. I felt paralyzed and totally hopeless with no future. Help had not come and freedom from the chronic diagnosis didn’t seem attainable. I was at a dead end- frozen, petrified, consumed.
God called me to go to work. I had been a stay at home mother, a wife to a retired husband, a worker in the church, a gardener in my yard, a reader of great books, a traveler. Now none of those pastimes could erase the emotions that were threatening to take me down. I didn’t think my mind could concentrate enough to work. I truly didn’t believe I was capable, under the present circumstances, to be a good worker. God knew different. I applied. The headmaster offered me the job. I went to work. I thought I would work nine months. That was four years ago. Three weeks ago I returned for the fifth year.
I learned from Ruth, working and staying productive while I wait is a good thing. My mind was relieved most days. God called me to be productive, to work in the classroom. That is what I do best.
God’s best is to care for me in my moments of weakness. Today the weight of that wait that began over five years ago has been lifted.
While I worked, God worked.
While Ruth worked in the fields God worked in Boaz’ heart. Ruth provided food for Namoi. God provided a husband for Ruth.
The most important waity lesson I learned from Ruth’s life is that God takes care of me. He calls me, and others, to His Wait Room to build my trust in Him as I watch Him perform His mighty acts of love toward me!
I am praying for you as you lift the heavy waits of life. Please don’t give up. God is at work also!
Depending on the object of your wait, waiting might paralyze you.
Naomi and Rahab were connected.Rahab’s son, Boaz and Naomi were related through marriage. (Ruth 2:1).
Years after the children of Israel settled in the Promised Land a famine forced a man, his wife and their two sons from the little town of Bethlehem. They traveled east, crossed the Jordan river and began a new life.
Let’s see. By the time Naomi moved into her new home she had waited to recover from a famine. No relief came, so she waited for her husband to provide a way out of their existence. He decided they should move. Once they moved, she had to wait for her life to take on a new meaning.
Her husband died. She began the long wait of mourning and figuring out life as a single mother.
Her sons married. Life settled into normalcy once again..
Then calamity hit. Both sons died. Imagine! She had to endure the weight of her loss and then, as a widow with no sons to care for her, figure out how to survive. The Jewish laws stated that brothers and other family members had the responsibility to take care of widows. Trouble is, she was not in Jewish territory. Who knows how the laws provided for her in this foreign land.
She waited, trying to come up with a plan and then she knew. It was time to return to the land of her forefathers. She packed up and got ready to go.
She met with an obstacle. Both her daughters-in-law wanted to go with her. I would have said, “Yes! Come with me. I won’t be alone. We can journey together. We’ll set up housekeeping in Bethlehem.”
But no. Naomi told the girls they could not go with her. One turned around and stayed home. Ruth’s heart and mind would not be changed. The two set off together.
When they returned there is a strong possibility they were not met with open arms.
Elimelech, her husband, hadn’t waited for the Lord to resolve the famine. He split!
Naomi had returned a widow. Now she would be one extra mouth to feed. Widows were a burden on society.
Not one, but two women would be a burden. Oh? And Ruth? She was a foreigner. She was from Moab the land of pagans and idol worshipers. What was she doing contaminating their midst?
Naomi had to wait for her family members to accept her and her daughter-in-law. Naomi understood the law of the land. She knew how to guide and encourage her daughter in law. (Read the story of Naomi in the book of Ruth.)
Naomi was too old for a kinsman to marry her and take care of her, but she had a kinsman who began to look after Ruth. Eventually he married her.
In my waits I think of Naomi. She seemed to be confidant and know how to maneuver life. She followed the rules and the most favorable outcome resulted. Her daughter-in-law married a man of means, thus providing for Naomi. This man Boaz was Rahab’s son! Ruth and Boaz had a child who would be the great grandfather of King David.
I try to be like Naomi when I think I can no longer wait. Either I can whine and complain about my circumstances, or I can obey, following God’s commands, get moving and realize one day I’ll come out ahead
Rahab lived in Jericho at the same time that Joshua and the children of Israel returned to the Promised Land after years of captivity. She lived among pagans – people who didn’t know the one true God, but who worshiped idols, gods created in man’s image, and natural phenomena.
Moses had died. Joshua had taken over as leader. The refugees, after wandering in the desert forty years, now stood at the threshold of the land God had promised Abraham and set apart for his heirs centuries ago.
Talk about ‘wait’. The history of God’s chosen race is a history of wait. Wait in exile in Egypt. Wait for a great man to lead you from captivity. Wait as you wander in the desert. Wait until I give you permission to take over your enemies.
The story of Rahab is found in the book of Joshua, chapter 2.
Briefly, two spies slipped into the border town of Jericho. They found their way to a prostitute’s house. The officials found out. They called her hand. She lied. She returned to the spies and hid them. After more lies and deception she approached the men and said to them,
“I know the Lord has given you this land. We are all afraid of you. Everyone in the land is living in terror. For we have heard how the Lord made a dry path for you through the Red Sea when you left Egypt.”
She went on to describe the mighty ways God used the wandering Israelites to prove His powerful and protective nature.She ended announcing,
“No wonder our hearts have melted in fear! No one has the courage to fight after hearing such things. For the Lord your God is the supreme God of the heavens above and the earth below.”
Then she asked for a favor: “Now swear to me by the Lord that you will be kind to me and my family since I have helped you.”
After further conversation the men told Rahab to hang a red scarf from her window when news of their return spread across the city. The red scarf would be her protection. Her household would be spared when they attacked the city.
I find it interesting that somehow Rahab instinctively knew to protect the spies who entered into Jericho. What led her to protect them and provide them with means of escape?
Unfortunately it seems obvious that human sin nature led the spies to Rahab. This is not a sweet story for young Sunday School children. I remember being shocked when I learned the “rest of the story”. Stories like this – open my eyes to the amazing God I respect. He tells the truth, even when the truth is wrapped in sin. Then He goes on to use our human sin to set us free!
God could have used any one in Jericho. He chose a prostitute. For me the message is-
“Wherever you find yourself in your wait, you are not so far from God that He can’t reach out to you and save you.”
For me the lesson in Rahab’s wait is, “Wait with a sense of awareness. Listen to the news. Educate yourself about the world. Know what is happening. Be prepared.” Clearly Rahab was aware of the approaching mighty Israelites. She had listened to the news brought back from travelers to the south. She didn’t live in her own world. She educated herself about the Hebrew God. In her wait, she prepared. She didn’t waste time as she waited for the enemy to approach. She became acquainted with the Power behind their mighty marching machine. She knew what she had to do to survive. She believed and she served God’s people.
Rahab helped the spies to escape. As planned they returned and destroyed the city. Rahab and her family were spared.
That is not the end of the story. Centuries later Matthew would write about Jesus’ lineage that Rahab was his maternal ancestor! (Matthew 1:5)
Remember Boaz? He was the kinsman redeemer who married Ruth and together they became the parents of David’s grandfather! Rahab was Boaz’ mother!
The wait may seem unbearable. Trust that God has a plan.
Memorize what Rahab heard, learned, and believed in her wait,
“The Lord God is the supreme God of the heavens above and the earth below.’
Let’s ask God to use our wait in whatever situation or under whichever circumstance we find ourselves, to move others, including ourselves, into His Promised Land.
Abraham’s wife waited on so many fronts!
Help me make a list of her waits:
She waited to leave home. Remember Abraham was called by God to leave his home, to take his wife and go to the land God had promised and set apart for his people.(Genesis 12)
Waiting to be moved has its challenges. There is excitement about something new, but there is also sadness in the leaving, in the good-byes, in the memories left behind. Waiting to be moved conjures up feelings of discomfort and dread. “What does my future hold for me?”
She waited asking, “Are we there yet?” When Abraham and Sarah set out for their long journey, did she have any idea where she was going, when she would arrive, what her new life would entail? She might have been walking and moving toward a goal, but she also waited – to arrive in the Promised Land.
I’ve been on the move, working toward a goal, and at the same time waiting for something to pass. I’ve experienced preoccupation, forgetfulness, frustration. I’ve longed to rid myself of that “cloud” forever hovering, until the wait is over. How freeing it would be to be able to focus on one thing rather than constantly being held back by… waiting.
Her journeys were sidetracked. Eventually she found herself in Egypt.(Genesis 12:10)
We often use words like dead end, speed bump, holding pattern, and sidetracked to describe those times in our lives when pulled to the side of the road to … wait! This is when “road rage” sets in. We lose control of our circumstances. We blame others. We become poor traveling companions.
Sarah waited for a baby. Her wait was an extreme one. Eventually she gave up on God.
Waiting can drive us to take matters into our own hands. Rather than using our time constructively we spend our time contriving and manipulating.
Sarah manipulated. Her waiting led her to desperate measures. She gave her maid to her husband. (Genesis 16)Surely a baby would be the result of their union. Did she think ahead, I wonder? Few of us seldom do. We allow ouselves to be consumed with object of our wait. We are so consumed by getting what we want we forget wisdom.
Sarah didn’t think ahead to the fact that Hagar might not want to give up her child. She didn’t consider the jealous factor. She didn’t trust that God might have other plans.
While you wait, read Sarah’s story. Ask God to show you through her choices how He would have you wait. Let’s always remember, God’s ways are always better than our manipulations. He “is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” (Ephesians 3:20)
Believe me, we do not want to stir up the ant hill. God has our lives under control. It may not seem so - from our point of view. Let’s learn from Sarah’s mistakes, to wait and trust that God has a plan and it is working its way into our lives.
Before Abraham died he wanted to make sure Isaac had a wife. He sent his servant to find a bride for his son. Abraham told his servant to return to his homeland to his relatives. So the oldest servant who was in charge of Abraham’s household packed ten of Abraham’s camels with all kinds of expensive gifts from his master, and he traveled to a far away land. He arrived in the land where Abraham’s brother had settled.
After securing his camels near the well he asked God to give him success. He told God he would ask one of the girls who had come to the well for water to give him a drink. If she took the request a step further and offered to water his camels he would know she was the one for his master’s son.
As planned, he approached a lovely young lady. He asked her for a drink. She obliged and offered to water his camels.
Then he began to ask her questions.
Ø Who was she?
Her name was Rebekah. She was the granddaughter of Abraham’s brother. Verse 16 tells us that Rebekah was very beautiful and old enough to be married..
We all know how important it is for a young girl to find a husband. Especially during this time in history. So we know one thing for sure – she was waiting for the right man to come along.
Ø What did she do while she waited?
-Clearly she developed a servant’s heart. We may not realize the energy and strength needed to pull water from a well. Hauling a heavy bucket from deep in the ground is no easy feat. She shared that water with a stranger. Then she began to pull more water from the well. Do you know how many gallons of water one camel drinks? Up to 25 gallons after a week’s journey! Multiply that by ten! No wonder we need gyms in order to do our work outs to stay healthy. We aren’t lifting 250 gallons of water or more in a given day.
–She concentrated on her work. It is a temptation to allow our focus to wander while we wait. We can become distraught and sidetracked, forgetting our daily chores. Staying focused on living rather than pining for what we can’t have, that to which God has said ‘no’, is the way to survive each day.
– She maintained her purity. We read in verse 16 that she was still a virgin. Sometimes while we wait we are tempted to take matters into our own hands. Out of impatience, or fear of missing out on something the world has to offer, we make impulsive choices. It’s easy to lose our innocence.
Ø She honored her parents. As soon as she had watered the camels she ran home to announce the visitor. This showed hospitality to the visitor and honored her parents with her obedience.
Waiting is not easy. It is a challenge. It is difficult to concentrate on anything except the object of our wait. Waiting is worthwhile, though, if we focus on maturing and growing and keep our eyes on the prize.
In Rebekah’s case the prize was jewelry, fine clothes, and position. She became the wife of a patriarch and “ the mother of many millions!” (Genesis 24:60)
I know how hard it is to force myself to focus on the prize rather than the wait. I also know that focusing on the wait only weakens me, depletes me, saddens me, keeps me from my calling, robs my joy.
Rebekah’s wisdom encourages us to concentrate on that which we can control and allow God to take care of the rest.
I pray for you as you read these posts, asking God to strengthen you in the wait room.
We have all been forced to lift heavy waits after being called to
God’s Wait Room
And who better equipped to sit with us in God’s Wait Room than those who have gone before us and experienced their own time trials.
Hours in the hospital turned into days, turned into weeks. What to do with my time as my son lay in bed hour after long hour and I wondered if there was any hope of rescue from the slow demise that was threatening his life.
I opened my Bible because I do believe that,
“Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us and the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.” Romans 15:4
Long ago a mother was forced into a time trial as she waited for her son to be rescued from certain death.
Her name was Jacobed. Her son was Moses.
She waited for his birth, knowing a decree had been issued to kill all first born males.
She waited for the midwives to give her secret away.
She waited for the little basket to float into a safe harbor.
She waited for the princess to make up her mind.
She waited for her son to grow up.
She waited, wondering if the desert into which he had fled for safety had swallowed him.
She waited for her son to make a deal with Pharaoh.
She waited to be set free…
Read the entire story beginning in Exodus 1:8
Reading her story, watching the time trial unfold, knowing years passed and watching how God stepped in, I gained strength.
Time in God’s Wait Room strengthened me, encouraged me. If God could step into Jacobed’s life and answer her prayers for her son, he could certainly do the same for me.
I put my Bible down. For a few moments God had lifted my wait and in some miraculous way the body building exercise had given me the strength I needed to press on.
God does not abandon. He is always near.
How to Pray While in God’s Wait Room
Hezekiah sent for the prophet Isaiah and together they cried out to God who replied, “Do not be afraid because of the words you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me.” (2 Kings 19:6)
Friend, do not be afraid of the enemy. Listen to what your contemporary ‘prophet’, Beth Moore says about the enemies in your life.
“God will say ‘no’ to the enemy unless there is a greater ‘yes.’”
When God allows the enemy to prowl around in your life spewing lies and threatening destruction, it is because our Mighty God knows there is a greater outcome on the other side of the trial. In Hezekiah’s case, the greater outcome was more than anyone could have ever imagined or hoped for.
While the enemy soldiers hurled insults to the God of the nations and mocked Hezekiah’s kingdom, God sent a messenger to King Sennacherib, reporting an assault led by the Ethiopian king. Sennacherib changed his plan, becoming a defender of his nation rather than an attacker, but not before sending a warning to Hezekiah. He reminded the King of Judah of the mighty Assyrians who had conquered every nation in their path. No god had stood in the way. Jerusalem would be no different! Yes, his battle plan had been diverted toward a more pressing matter. “I will be back to finish the thing I have started. Wait, you and your nation will see. I will return to subdue you.”
True to his nature Hezekiah took his concerns to the temple of the Living God. As if God could not see from his heaven, treating Him like a trusted friend and ever available Confidant, the humble king spread the message out for God to “see” for Himself. I can envision it in my mind: Like running to the house of a best friend, bursting through the door, unannounced, throwing the news on the counter, and pointing. “You are not going to believe what he has gone and done now! Look at this. Just read it. Can you believe it?”
Hezekiah, though, composed and trusting, laid the message out before the Lord and prayed. He didn’t make a grand announcement, nor did he question. He prayed.
“O LORD, the God of Israel, who are enthroned above the cherubim, You are the God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Incline Your ear, O LORD, and hear; open Your eyes, O LORD, and see; and listen to the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to reproach the living God.” (2 Kings 19:15-16)
What messages have you received during your wait trials? A phone call from a teacher? A summons from an employer? A warning from a lender? A report from a doctor?
Whatever news you receive, be prepared to act as our role model, wait trainer did thousands of years ago. What you are experiencing is no surprise for our God and Father. Take your ‘waity’ concern to your Father in heaven. He will deal with it. His final plan is far greater than anything your manipulations could ever envision.
The next morning when Hezekiah woke, he threw open the curtains exposing not only the newly repaired ramparts but a sight in the valley below like nothing he could have ever conceived. There before his very eyes, spread throughout the entire enemy encampment, lay the corpses of 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. The Biblical account states that an angel of the Lord fought this battle while Hezekiah slept.
A final flourish of the historian’s pen reports the death of Sennachrib in one short verse. After returning to Nineveh, while worshiping in the temple of one of his many gods, his sons killed him with a sword.
The wait is worth it, dear one. God is fighting your battle. Let him subdue your enemy. While He battles, build your spiritual walls and ramparts. Settle into your strong Tower. Stand on your mighty Rock.
One day you will wake to a sight that you alone, in all your manipulations and planning, could have never devised. The battle will end. Your wait trials will cease.
Peace, child. Be still. God is at work. Ask Him to give you a glimpse of His power.
Oh dear friends. I do so hope this story has encouraged you like it did me when God first gave me a glimpse at Hezekiah’s life several years ago. It continues to give me strength and amaze me each time I review his reforms.
We will continue for a while looking at training in God’s Wait Room. On Monday we will take a bit of a new course. I am going to show you how various women in the Bible waited – how we can learn from them. I hope you’ll be back and I would be so encouraged to hear from you, your wait trials, your thoughts on our studies.
As you wait, precious friend, please believe, God knows what He is doing. He has not forgotten you. After all HE IS GOD!