Please Continue to Hold
by Alan Allegra 7/14/2011 / Christian Living
Tinny, distorted music, occasionally punctuated by an annoying voice. Does this remind you of your transistorized AM Radio Shack Flavoradio? Then you're in my age bracket.
Actually, I'm talking about being "on hold." I deal with many vendors during the week, meaning I hear those magic words, "Please continue to hold," just as many times. Most of the time, that means help is on the way. Sometimes, it means a silent disconnect. Occasionally, I get impatient and hang up. It can be hard to continue to hold.
Are you a miserable person? I don't mean a crabface or boor; I mean a person wallowing in misery or sorrow. Perhaps your health is failing, or your job is boring, or your family or friends have let you down, and the future looks bleak. You're looking for customer service but it seems no one is answering. The answer is, "Please continue to hold."
Job sunk more deeply into sorrow than any of us ever will. Despite being a faithful worshiper of God, he lost his children, servants, income, and health, all in one day. He was humiliated and harassed by his wife and friends. His words have become classic: "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him. Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him" (Job 13:15). Job did not hang up; he continued to pursue God, and did not let go of Him. He knew help was on the way.
Psalm 88 is a Psalm of Lamentation. It is unusual in that it does not end on a happy note. It is the searing cry of a despondent heart. The main character questions and accuses God for 18 verses, yet never lets go of Him. He hears silence on the other end of the line, but knows in his heart that God has not disconnected the call.
Psalm 66 is a counterpoint to Psalm 88. It's the reaction of the believer when God finally picks up the line. The psalmist's joy is unrestrained as he recounts how the Lord heard his prayer after a season of trouble. During this period of being on hold, the writer promised to serve God by faith: "I will come into your house with burnt offerings; I will perform my vows to you, that which my lips uttered and my mouth promised when I was in trouble" (Psalm 66:13, 14).
We must understand that God's clock is an entirely different make from ours. His runs on Eternal Standard Time: "With the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day" (2 Peter 3:8). This simply means that, when it seems we've been waiting on hold for an eternity, the Eternal One has been moving along at His perfect pace in perfect peace, not unmindful of our situation.
Unlike the stale magazines in the doctor's waiting room, God's Word is alive and ever relevant. It makes the best read when we're in God's waiting room (Psalm 25:4, 5).
Listen to James: "Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful" (James 5:11). Hear Paul: "For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope" (Romans 15:4). We have hundreds of true stories and trustworthy promises in the bible. Reading about how others endured trials and saw the salvation of the Lord will help us continue to hold. In the meantime, enjoy the music!