Waiting is such a loose term these days. We throw it around as though it's something we are very familiar with, but are we? Do we really know what it means to wait? We can cook meals instantly in the microwave or go through a drive-thru for the fastest meals we could ask for. Amazon Prime (and even Prime Now!) has made it so that we can get a package in our hands in days or even mere hours. If we have a question or are curious about something, there's no need to wait or research later. The smart phone that most of us hold in our hands much of the day can generally answer any questions we may come up with. The point is, waiting is an idea we are all familiar with but aren't necessarily used to practicing.
So what does it mean to wait? What do we do with verses like Psalm 27:14 which say "Wait for the Lord. Be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!" How do we "wait for the Lord"? The word "wait" can actually be defined like this: "to stay where one is or to delay action until a particular time." Too often we do not allow ourselves the opportunity to delay action. We see a problem and decide that God must have a plan for us to solve it. We may go to His Word and spend a moment or two in prayer and from that point on, decide what we believe needs to be done. We go out and pursue that plan as though we came up with it with God, allowing Him to decide what needed to take place. Then, if and when everything seems to fall apart or not work out as neatly as we imagined, we begin to doubt God and His ability to take care of us and whatever we face.
But that is not waiting. He will speak to us if we are willing to hear His voice. We hear it through His Word. The more we study the Bible, the more we understand God and His character. The more we understand God, the more we want to embrace and follow in that character. As we do so, we are strengthened by the Lord, able to discern more carefully what His plan is in regards to every area of our lives. We also hear Him speak through prayer and continual communication with Him throughout the day. God is bigger and better than our finite minds can even fathom, and He will often impart a thought in my mind that I know could not possibly have come from me as I have been seeking Him in prayer throughout the day. He is a loving God in that way–so patient with us, so available and so full of mercy towards us.
Isaiah 40:31 says, "But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." We want the strength to keep going some days and the ability to truly make an impact or a difference on other days. We want to heed our callings and finish our races well. The best thing we can do is to not do anything! Just to wait upon the Lord and continue to seek Him through sweet communion with Him and through God's Word. It can be difficult to set aside our anxieties of the future, our plans to make things happen, but the moment that we meet with Him in prayer and choose to be still in His presence, those feelings quickly pass away. We know then that our loving Heavenly Father desires that we let His glory and light shine as we allow Him to showcase His work and strength through us. "Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore He exalts Himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for Him" (Isaiah 30:18).
As a society in general, waiting is not a strong suit for us. Even when waiting in a line or at the bus stop, phones are instantly whipped out or social media is scrolled through to beat the "boredom" and fill the time. But as believers, God has commanded us to wait. He has promised answers, strength and blessings to those who wait on Him. Lamentations 3:25 states, "The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him." Will you join me today in becoming a believer that sets aside personal agendas and plans for the sake of simply resting in and waiting on the Lord? Such goodness awaits on His side of rest and grace.