I’ve never been exceptionally good at waiting. While I’ve learned that waiting can only be productive if I have set the desires of my heart on the things of God, lately He’s been working on my attitude in the waiting.
Anna, the prophet, certainly knew how to wait. We don’t know the circumstances of her widowhood, but we do know a bit about her extraordinary vigil: “She never left the temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer” (Luke 2:37).
Because of Anna’s willingness to wait for the Lord out of love—not simply seeking what He would give her—she experienced a powerful, persevering faith. Scripture tells us that Anna, after having seen the Messiah, “talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem” (Luke 2:38). She didn’t stumble into the messianic revelation. It was a claim upon which she had staked her life and something she had waited many years to see. She remained in an attitude of worship of the One who would bring it to pass. And in the end, He proved to be the rewarder of her life (Hebrews 11:6).
We like to think we’re in control of the stuff of life, and we often use our own resources to bring about a desired result. We pursue a relationship, push an issue with our boss, or put ourselves deeper in debt to make sure we get what we want when we want it. Instead, if we determine in our hearts to wait for the presence of the Living God, not simply for an answer to our request, worship becomes a natural byproduct of the waiting.
Like Anna, let’s worship God even when we’re faced with unanswered prayers and unclear direction. Worship in the waiting can be a beautiful thing.
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: James 1:2-27
Read all of Isaiah 40:1-31 to fully grasp the context of verses 28-31 (a passage we often quote in reference to waiting for the Lord).
What has been your attitude toward an unanswered prayer? What is the connection between surrendering your will and worship? What does it mean to wait for the presence of the Lord?