Psalm 40 is tough to take. It recalls a time when David was forced to wait. But as he looked back with a new song in his heart, he saw that the wait was worth it. By implication, when we are in the middle of a muddle, we must wait patiently for the Lord (v.1).

That advice looks better in the Bible than it does in life. Patience is hard for people who drive to the One-Hour Photo Shop, take their clothes to the One-Hour Cleaners, and get breakfast at a drive-through window.

We cook dinner in microwave ovens and gulp down remedies that offer “fast, fast relief.” Overnight mail is too slow, and we get irritated waiting for a fax. The people we live with, work with, play with, and worship with can absolutely unnerve us. They can be obstinate, frustrating, selfish, insulting. It’s hard to be patient with them, and it’s harder still to wait on the Lord.

Hymnwriter Phillips Brooks admitted, “The hardest task in my life is to sit down and wait for God to catch up with me.” Yet patience is part of God’s strategy for maturing us as Christians. It’s a lost skill we all need to cultivate.

If you have no joy because you’re always in a rush, slow down. God will give you a new song—but first you must wait patiently for Him (vv.1-3).