The Bible encourages us to wait. “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:14) We do a lot of waiting, whether we’re thinking about the Lord or not. Some of our waiting is in a line at a store. Some of our waiting takes place at the computer or while staring at our smart phones. It’s possible to feel as if the people and circumstances that make us wait are offensive and wrong. But waiting may be for our own good.
John Ortberg once said: “Biblically, waiting is not just something we have to do until we get what we want. Waiting is part of the process of becoming what God wants us to be.” Waiting helps me to become wiser and better able to discern God’s will. I also become a more patient person, better able to display the fruit of the Spirit in my relationship with others.
So waiting is an opportunity to grow, particularly if we’re waiting on the Lord. “…but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31) The Hebrew word wə·qō·w·yê is sometimes translated “hope,” but means wait. Waiting brings change in us. The change that the prophet Isaiah is describing is where we go from being weak and tired to becoming strong and filled with positive motion.
To wait on God means we acknowledge that he is our everlasting God, the Creator of all. He is the one who will never become tired or weary. In waiting we’re taking ownership of the contrast between our humanness and God’s divinity. God says to us, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9) His ways are better than ours, and He has both the plan and the means to carry out His will.
John Piper observed, “To wait on God means to pause and soberly consider our own inadequacy and the Lord’s all-sufficiency, and to seek counsel and help from the Lord, and to hope in Him (Psalm 33:20-22; Isa. 8:17) The folly of not waiting for God is that we forfeit the blessing of having God work for us. The evil of not waiting on God is that we oppose God’s will to exalt Himself in mercy.” What an amazing thought for us to consider. Impatience works against God!
Waiting on God allows God to work in our lives for our own good!
I’ve spent a great deal of time with people in hospital waiting rooms. The hours pass slowly. The news is sometimes good, while at other times disappointing. But we must still wait on our Lord. Those rooms remind me that when we wait we’re not alone. Others are waiting also. Others are waiting with us. “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!” (Isaiah 30:18)
Pastor Ken Atchison
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com.