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“They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength.”  Isaiah 40:31

Trusting God is not comfortable.  It doesn’t belong in a Hallmark card picture — a colorful valley, a quaint village, a church steeple, with a sentimental slogan.  Trusting God can be extremely uncomfortable, even painful.

Rabbi David Kimchi, one of the early Hebrew lexicographers, defined the verb “wait” in Isaiah 40:31 with reference to the medieval German verb for “twist.”  That is, waiting on the Lord can involve tension and pressure and stress.  How could it be otherwise?  Waiting is pent-up irresolution.  It is not easy to wait trustingly for the Lord:

“Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, . . . so our eyes look to the Lord our God, till he has mercy upon us.”  Psalm 123:2

“My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.”  Psalm 130:6

“I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.”  Psalm 143:6

My point is this.  You may be going through hell right now.  You may be bewildered, gasping, frightened.  But that doesn’t mean you aren’t trusting God.  It might mean you are trusting God.

Isaiah really understood something.  He understood that it’s in this tension that our strength is renewed.  How so?  There is something about coming to the end of ourselves and our own strength and wisdom — that’s when our hearts finally crack open, and the love of God pours in.

When we have nothing of our own left, when nothing will suffice but that which is directly and immediately of God, that’s when God alone is our sufficiency, and we find him to be so.  He’s worth the wait.

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12 thoughts on “Trusting God is not easy”

  1. Carrie P says:

    One of my favorite quotes on waiting: “He stirs up your nest. He disappoints your hopes. He brings down your confidence. He makes you fear and tremble, as all your strength fails, and you feel utterly weary and helpless. And all the while He is spreading His strong wings for you to rest your weakness on, and offering His everlasting Creator-strength to work in you. And all He asks is that you should sink down in your weariness and wait on Him; and allow Him in His Jehovah-strength to carry you as you ride upon the wings of His omnipotence.” Andrew Murray, Waiting on God, 1896. pg 28 of 46. (Deut. 32:10-12)

    Thank you for your blog! I am often so encouraged by your posts. Blessings to you, brother!

  2. Paul says:

    This is encouraging. I’ve been going through a trial and have been somewhat disturbed by feelings of inner turmoil, even though I want to trust God.

  3. Leslie Jebaraj says:

    Personally, very timely for me. Thank you, Dr. Ortlund.

  4. Brian says:

    I so needed this. I’m totally at the end of myself…I don’t know if my prayers are just thoughts in my head or if they are being answered. It’s been so long and I keep getting increasing instances of “coincidences” when I’m at a really low point and I cry out to God, just as the phone rings with a friend with encouragement or a confirmation I’ve been waiting for. I so, so want this time to come to an end with resolution. Come quickly Lord Jesus. I have no one else to cling to but Him and I’m not letting go.

  5. Steve Martin says:

    It’s not easy at all. We need to be kept in faith. We need to stay in front of the Word. And hear those promises again and again and again. And receive His body and blood.

    Living by lists and Biblical principles is a whole lot easier…but then you really don’t need faith.


  6. Good word! Some key Scriptures that carry me: II Corinthians 1:3-11; 4:16-18;12:1-10; James 1:2-9; Psalm 62:8; Proverbs 3:5-6.

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Ray Ortlund

Ray Ortlund is senior pastor of Immanuel Church in Nashville, Tennessee, and serves as a Council member with The Gospel Coalition. You can follow him on Twitter.

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