We don’t like waiting around – in traffic, in a doctor’s office, at restaurants, in grocery lines, at the license branch, etc. Things are never fast enough for us, and we make ourselves miserable with impatience when we are forced to wait, effecting our health and our attitudes. However, the Bible tells us to “wait on the Lord” over 50 times.
Waiting on the Lord
Isaiah 40:31 is probably the most famous scripture in terms of “waiting” on God, but this concept is a challenging one. Patience does not bring about wealth and celebrity in our society, but it can help us draw closer to God. If we can wait on the Lord, we can void unnecessary worry, compromising of morals, poor decisions, hypocrisy, and absence of spiritual focus. If we are impatient, we may make decisions that will have lasting physical or spiritual consequences.
In James 5:7-8, the author compares Christian living to tending a farm. A farmer has to continually and patiently care for his land, animals, and crops. Cultivation involves labor and study to understand how to best care for the object involved. We need to be cultivating our spiritual growth and avoid allowing cares of this world choking us. (See Mark 4:1-20.) Waiting on the Lord is not inactive – it involves giving ourselves the time it takes to be spiritually healthy Christians.
In waiting, we are learning of and following God (Psalm 25:4-7). II Timothy 2:15 reminds us that Christian knowledge and living involves diligence.
We need to avoid distraction from God in our lives. Psalm 123 tells us to focus on God, waiting for His mercy. Psalm 25:1-5 reminds us to wait for instruction from God, avoiding the shame of impatience, and Habakkuk 2:3 records promises made during the old covenant that would not be immediately fulfilled. The people were to be patient. The prophecy would be fulfilled when the time was right.
In the beginning of Acts, the apostles were instructed to wait in Jerusalem to receive the Holy Spirit, and, in II Peter 1:2-8, we are told that God has promises for all His people. Like the apostles waited for the Spirit in Jerusalem, we need to wait on the Lord, but this waiting is not passive. In our patience, we are building up our spiritual strength.
We wait for God’s mercy, His forgiveness, fulfillment of prayers, His blessings, and the return of His Son. Psalm 25:3 says that we will not be ashamed if we exercise patience in our spirituality. This involves studying our Bibles, praying, encouraging others, focusing on our purpose. The world will try our patience, distracting us, but remember Isaiah 25:9 and Isaiah 30:18. We wait on God for Him to save us, and He is patient with us, also waiting, looking for us to turn to Him.
lesson by Tim Smelser