Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: When God is protecting you in the waiting room

When God Places You in Protective Custody
A devotional by Sarah Cole

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”—Psalm 91:1-2 (NIV)

At times, we all have felt the pain of seeing everyone else enjoy what is achingly out of our reach, and we wonder if God has forgotten us.

I'm a dog sitter. When I watch Frank—a ravenous dachshund—he runs into the kitchen to devour my dog Zoe's food, his nails clicking on the hardwood flooring. I wouldn't be a good pet parent if I didn't protect Zoe, so she stays behind a gate in the kitchen. Out of ignorance, she misinterprets my good intentions as withholding the freedom Frank enjoys.

As a single person, I share Zoe's frustration. Living in a couple's world often makes me feel like an outsider. Sometimes, being in God's waiting room can be lonely. However, I remind myself that I have fewer distractions keeping me from a deeper walk with God.

In today's key verse, the psalmist reminds us that in our time of need, the best place to dwell is not in a state of discouragement or complaint but in God's protective custody, where He assures us of His watchful care and provision.

Trusting God when we don't know when He will move on our behalf requires courage and faith that He is good and faithful to meet our needs regardless of His timing. And if we're honest, His timing can feel cruel and inconvenient. But there’s a lesson to learn when we consider some of the heroes of the faith in the Bible—Jacob, David, Hannah, Sarah, and Abraham—who all waited on God. We learn that no matter what happened, they leaned on their faith in God’s character and sovereignty. Did they do it perfectly? No, and neither will we.

Sometimes, God will cause a delay not to deprive us but to protect us from what's merely enough so that we experience His best. His waiting room doesn't have to be a prison sentence but a time when our trust muscles grow and our faith matures.

As flawed human beings, we tend to think we know what's best for us, but only God, in His omniscience and perfect love, knows the best time to answer our prayers. He knows the downside of giving in to our demands and He knows the benefit of making us wait.

We can rest when we realize that even when there's no evidence God will fulfill our desire, He is already working behind the scenes, preparing us for our breakthrough. In Isaiah 64:4 (NIV), the Bible says, “Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.” My prayer for you today, friend, is to find hope in the truth that God hasn't forgotten you. Instead, He's anxious to see you smile when His answer arrives and exceeds your expectations.

Let’s Pray:
Dear Father God, as I recall how You've protected and provided for me, Your beautiful love causes my heart to worship. Being in Your waiting room tests my faith, but I trust You will provide out of Your unlimited resources at the perfect time. In Jesus's Name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Wait on the Lord” by Donnie McClurkin. Listen to it here.

Author Bio:

Sarah Cole’s interest in writing began in grade school when her poem was published in the local paper. As she got older, her mother’s chronic illness inspired her to design a line of greeting cards. Since then, she has written for her college newspaper and two community newspapers where she wrote restaurant reviews and articles for their “Best of” spread.

Her experience as an administrator in the marketing field gave her the opportunity to write ads for a local business journal.

After a 20-year detour and a three-year season of adversity, God reignited her passion to write. Two divine appointments later, the short story she wrote about her father appeared in the St. Paul Almanac, and a short story about Gigi (her Cocker Spaniel) was published in Guideposts (magazine) Mysterious Ways. She believes her adversity was worth the lessons God taught her.

Since 2022, Sarah’s devotionals have been published in The Secret Place by Judson Press, as well as David C. Cook’s Devotions and The Quiet Hour. To this day, she smiles, pinches herself and gives God all the glory.

When she’s not writing, Sarah enjoys watching cooking shows, designing cards and mugs, and taking day trips.

Connect with Sarah:

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