Do you like to wait? If we are honest, most of us would have to answer, “No.” We were born with an innate tendency to do what we want to do when we want to do it. Our flesh cringes at the thought of having to wait, yet God’s Word compels us to wait on the Lord. Does this mean that we are to sit back on our spiritual recliner, kick up our feet, and wait for God to show us what to do? No! Contrary to what we may think, waiting on the Lord is not passive. It demands a great deal of effort. It requires saying “no” to our impulsive nature, and living in active submission to His will revealed in His Word. A quick survey of the Scriptures reveals six truths about waiting on the Lord.
Waiting on the Lord is not easy. David wrote, “Wait for the LORD; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord” (Ps 27:14). Waiting on the Lord requires self-discipline. Rushing ahead to fulfill our own will is not difficult at all, it comes naturally, easily. However, surrendering to the will and ways of God, submitting to the authority of the Word, requires a constant resistance to the flesh. Self-denial is the daily duty of all those who claim to be disciples of Jesus (Matt 16:24). We must, therefore, be realistic and approach the concept of waiting on the Lord with a great deal of vigilance, lest we usurp God’s timetable. At the same time, we must be careful not to use, “I am waiting on the Lord,” as an excuse for delayed obedience or a lack of self-discipline.
Waiting on the Lord means trusting in God alone. In order to wait on the Lord, we must cast off all other objects of trust and rest in Him alone. Psalm 62:5 says, “My soul, wait in silence for God only, for my hope is from Him.” God has a way of stripping the idols out of our lives so that He alone receives our attention. He is the God who will not share His glory with another. Whether it is trust in finances, people, good health, or our own plans, waiting on the Lord means we must willingly abandon those things which replace trust in God.
Waiting on the Lord is essential to discerning God’s will. Psalm 25:4-5 says, “Make me know Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me for You are the God of my salvation; for You I wait all the day.” The psalmist understood that in order to know the will of God we must desire His guidance and wait for His leading with a teachable and submissive heart. Often times, God does not bring about what we believe to be His will until our hearts are completely surrendered and content in Him alone. As long as our determination is fixed upon what we want, God’s will remains a mystery. If we are not obedient to the truth that He has already revealed, why should He reveal more?
Waiting on the Lord includes confident expectation of His mercy and grace. Psalm 123:2 says, “Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress; so our eyes look to the LORD our God, until He shall be gracious to us.” In times of uncertainty, we must have confidence in His character as the God who is gracious and compassionate and full of mercy. We can confidently expect His mercy since He is the God who will never leave or forsake His own. We can rest in the sufficiency of His grace even when we cannot see His plan.
Waiting on the Lord means trusting our hurts to Him. In Proverbs 20:22 we read, “Do not say, ‘I will repay evil’; wait for the LORD, and He will save you.” When we are hurt by others, it is tempting to take matters into our own hands and retaliate. Waiting on the Lord means trusting Him enough to be obedient to our responsibilities and leave other matters with Him. It means depositing our hurts into His trustworthy control. After all, He is the only one who is completely just and will one day right all wrongs.
Waiting on the Lord results in experiencing divine strength. Restful submission to the will and ways of God is the way in which He renews our strength. “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary” (Isa 40:28-31). As creatures we experience times when we are weary, yet God never gets tired. Could it be that God has designed us that way in order to make us aware of our complete dependence upon Him? God delights in us when we wait on Him because He receives more glory and we experience the joy and pleasure of soaring on the wings of His strength and grace.
[Originally posted August 6, 2012]