I do wonder how many of us actually enjoy waiting for something? It doesn’t seem to be part of our make up does it? You go to the local supermarket and you hear a parent say to their child who is trying to open a chocolate bar , ‘You can’t open that yet as we have to wait until we pay for it!” Then the child sits back in the trolley and waits patiently for the checkout. NOT!!! There is suddenly an explosion of noise in aisle 3!! You then see an employee scanning an empty chocolate wrapper at the checkout, with an apologetic Mum looking at her child’s chocolate covered face.’I want it now, and if not now then sooner!’ Yet, the bible is full of passages where we are told to wait, be patient, hope, have faith, trust, etc., etc.
“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:31, ESV)
When I hear the word wait I shudder. I want God to use me…. now. I want to see people released from bondage…. now. People healed. People saved. I get so frustrated. Surely God you want me out there doing, what about the great commission?
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,“ (Matthew 28:19)
I want to make disciples of the nations…..now, I want to preach….now, I want to lead…..now. But the doors don’t open. The doors are clear but they don’t move, no matter how hard I push at them. So what is it you want me to do God? “Wait” I want to serve you! “Wait” Why aren’t people healed when I pray? “Wait” What about victory in my life?“Wait” Why can’t I get free from sin? “Wait” What was that? “Wait” Sorry, did you say wait? “Wait” Wait! Really? But there is no time, it is urgent? “Wait. Time belongs to me. I am time. I stop time. My timing is perfect”
It has taken a while but at last I am beginning to see it. I am to wait!!!! I realise now why I need wait and why it is so important.
To start with I needed to see that there are different kinds of waiting and they are not all bad. First we have the “Wait until your father gets home, he will deal with you!” That’s a horrible ‘wait’. Then we have the boring wait. Just hanging around with nothing to do. Then there is the waiting for the bus to work wait. That’s the one where you are waiting for something to turn up, that will move you onto something unpleasant. e.g., the dentist waiting room!!! Then we have the best wait….. the child’s Christmas Eve wait. This is full of excited anticipation, wonderment, awe, expectancy!!!!
I say that the word wait causes me to shudder but I still love that expectant wait. Let me give you an example. I love going to the theatre, especially to see musicals. Even though I have purchased my ticket long before and it has my seat number on it, I still have to get to the theatre early. It has nothing to do with making sure I don’t miss the start but because I enjoy the wait! I love the anticipation. Watching the people, feeling their expectancy. I love experiencing the amazing atmosphere of the place. Buying my program. Not looking at it because I don’t want to ruin any surprises!! I know that part is just plain weird so let’s move on quickly. I will go into the auditorium to see the orchestra getting ready, tuning up. Then minutes before the show starts I will take my seat and I am ready to enjoy the show fully. Without the preparation I would not be ready to enjoy the show at its best. Are you seeing the importance of waiting? (By the way that is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning, otherwise known as a…. parable. Not a good one, I admit, but a parable none the less.) The waiting with expectancy is the Godly wait. Let’s look at God’s wait in more detail.
When God asks us to wait on Him it has to be for a reason. It is not a pointless exercise. The reason is always to bring more glory to Jesus. This is our purpose here. We bring glory to the Son. In the process we receive blessing after blessing. You see we cannot do anything without God. Jesus only did what he saw His Father doing.
“Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.“ (John 5:9)
Therefore we need to wait and see what the Father is doing. When you wait on God you are not just sitting around in a meditative state, emptying your mind and humming. You are waiting expectantly! When I go early to the theatre I don’t just go into the foyer and wait. I am watching, listening, smelling, touching and tasting (especially if I have bought an ice-cream!! I am present, aware, in the moment. It is not about past shows or even the show itself it is about the moment. Our wait on God is not about what has happened in the past or what will be in our future but the moment. Moment by moment with God. We can’t change the past and we don’t know what the future holds but we can wait on God expectantly in the moment.
Waiting on God is about faith and trust. We know that we can manipulate events to make things happen. My mother was a master manipulator. She was the Stephen Hawkins of manipulation and she taught me well. It is a horrible, nasty personality trait. Instead of trust or faith it brings the opposite and the results don’t last. It doesn’t last because its foundation is deceit which is the opposite of God, He is light with no darkness. When we let go and wait, we are in total reliance on Him. This is how God wants us to be.
“Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him;” (Psalm 37:7)
There’s that other shudder making word… patiently. Not only do we wait but we wait patiently. Not worrying, caring, fretting, resistant, restless, uneasy but steadfast, steady, unwavering, unmoved, calm, peaceful, tolerant. A friend of mine calls it that “P” word because he dislikes it so much. When we are patient we again allow faith and trust to grow. We wait in hope.
“Hope in the LORD and keep his way. He will exalt you to inherit the land;” (Psalm 37:34)
So many times the verses that speak about waiting have a promise attached, like the one above. I love the promise in the verse I first quoted from Isaiah Chapter 40.
“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.” (Isaiah 40:31, ESV)
Surely it is worth waiting on God for the renewing of strength, to be able to have your Spirit soar like an eagle, to not grow weary or faint.
What about this for another promise. Receiving the goodness of God.
“The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.” (Lamentations 3:25 ESV)
If we wait on Him God will listen to us and will act.
“I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry.He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the LORD and put their trust in him.” (Psalm 40:1-3)
This is what I want in my life. I want God to take me out of the mud and slime and I want to be on a firm foundation, so that I am not tossed about by every whim that comes into my head. Oh to be steadfast!!! More than anything I want that new song in my mouth. Away with the old and onto the new. A new song in my mouth, please God!! “Wait” So I am learning to wait. That s all I to do, wait. I cannot get those things by doing only waiting. We are not raised up in the Heavenly realms and doing amazing things. We are seated in the Heavenly realms.
“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,” (Ephesians 2:6)
There is a reason for us being seated. We are not just sitting down, we are seated in Jesus. Our starting point when we wait on God is there. Seated within, part of, inside, encompassed by, Jesus. We cannot do anything without knowing that we are seated in Jesus in the Heavenly realms. He is our starting place and our finishing place.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” (Revelation 22:13)
We cannot do anything without Jesus. It’s not just about knowing in our mind but knowing in our Spirit. Knowing in our mind is taking the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Knowing in our Spirit is taking fruit from the Tree of Life. That is why we wait. We have to allow the Holy Spirit to show us who the power comes from. We can do nothing without Jesus. It is through Jesus that we have faith. Faith just doesn’t happen. We can quote scripture until we are blue in the face but until the Holy Spirit brings life into it we will see no results. Remember it’s not about knowing in our mind because that is taking the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil but it is knowing in our Spirit, which is taking fruit from the Tree of Life.
“I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning. Israel, put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with him is full redemption.“ (Psam130:5-7)
I spoke in an earlier post about noticing when certain phrases are repeated in passages of scripture. Take a closer look! “More than watchmen wait for the morning” It was the watchman’s job to wait for the break of day to signal the start of the first worship in the temple. It also meant that his job was done so he could go home for a sleep. You can imagine how eager he was to see the dawn. The Psalmist waits more eagerly and expectantly than the man who can’t wait to get off work!! That is real expectancy. His whole being waits. Every part of him is waiting. I want to be like that. All of me waiting for God because in Him is unfailing love and full redemption.
I hope this is a helpful introduction to waiting on God. I want to finish with two quotes from Charles Spurgeon, who was a great man of God,
“If the Lord Jehovah makes us wait, let us do so with our whole hearts; for blessed are all they that wait for Him. He is worth waiting for. The waiting itself is beneficial to us: it tries faith, exercises patience, trains submission, and endears the blessing when it comes. The Lord’s people have always been a waiting people.”
“We shall not grow weary of waiting upon God if we remember how long and how graciously He once waited for us.” (Charles Spurgeon)