The last verse of the Psalm caught my attention, which says,
24 Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart,
All you who hope in the LORD. (Ps.31:34) NKJV
To "hope in the LORD" means to wait with a confident expectation for His favor.
In fact, most of the cross reference verses for Psalm 31:24 mention waiting on or for the Lord
Wait for the LORD;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the LORD.
Wait on the LORD,
And keep His way,
And He shall exalt you to inherit the land;
When the wicked are cut off, you shall see it
I waited patiently for the LORD;
And He inclined to me,
And heard my cry.
My soul, wait silently for God alone,
For my expectation is from Him.
I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
And in His word I do hope.
And it will be said in that day:
“ Behold, this is our God;
We have waited for Him, and He will save us.
This is the LORD;
We have waited for Him;
We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.”
In these verses the Psalmist speaks of;
- waiting prayerfully
- waiting faithfully
- waiting patiently
- waiting silently
- waiting expectantly
Hoping in the Lord requires us to wait expectantly, knowing that His plan and purpose unfolds in His time. He hears all of our prayers, yet it seems like He's not listening at times, or He somehow turns away from us. There are times when our own sinful nature gets the best of us, and because of sin, God must turn away. However, as we cry out to Him, as David did many times, He eventually hears us and rescues us, delivering us by His mighty power and strength.
It goes against our human nature to wait for the Lord. We want things to happen immediately, as we pray and seek God's intervention; whether it be personal prayer or on behalf of others. Many times God purposely waits to answer a prayer because He wants to teach us something about Himself, His kingdom or ourselves, perhaps all at the same time.
The truth is, we can't see everything that God sees, so when we pray, it is with faith. Faith is the substance of things hoped (prayed) for, the evidence of things unseen. So, when we pray we must leave the outcome in God's hands, knowing that He has our best interest, and that of those whom we pray for. When we wait prayerfully, faithfully, patiently, silently, and expectantly, we will be awed when God does answer our prayers. Then we will be filled with a new hope, strength and peace. And we will continue to grow in faith as we wait with joy and hope for the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
So, as 2009 begins, I resolve to wait for the Lord; prayerfully, faithfully, patiently, silently and expectantly. As I do, He will strengthen my heart and I will "be of good courage" (Ps.31:24)