“Wait a minute!” How may times have I said these three words when someone asked for my help while I was in the middle of doing something else? It most likely was not that I was unwilling to help but just at that very moment it was not convenient for me to help. I wonder how many times God has responded to my prayers by saying “wait a minute” or maybe even “wait a few days or weeks or possibly years.” It is not that it would be inconvenient for God to answer immediately but it might not be in my best interest or according to His plans. “Wait” is a response I prefer to say to others rather than have spoken to me. Today I want to think about waiting from a spiritual perspective.
This verse from Isaiah is one of the best known scriptures about waiting. Although I may not like waiting, I do like the promise of renewed strength mentioned by Isaiah. The strength the Lord promises me may be physical strength or spiritual strength. Waiting involves a surrendering of my time and my desires unto the Lord. Psalm 90:4 says, “A thousand years in your (the Lord’s) sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.” God’s perspective of time is entirely different from mine. God is patient; I am not. I want an answer now! Teaching me patience may be part of God’s plan when He chooses for me to wait. II Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” Testing my obedience may be another part of God’s plan when He chooses for me to wait. The Lord says in Jeremiah 7:23, “Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you.” The Lord desires for situations to go well for me, but He does not act on my behalf until He knows I will be a good steward of His blessings.
Does waiting mean that I have to sit around and do nothing until the Lord intervenes on my behalf? I don’t think so. Waiting on the Lord is not idleness. I turn my thoughts to another use of the word “wait.” I think about waiters and waitresses in a restaurant. They wait upon me by serving me. Hmmm. Maybe I need to serve, or wait, upon the Lord while I am waiting for Him to act. A good waiter in a restaurant will anticipate the needs of the people he is serving and this should be my goal while I am waiting upon the Lord. How can I best wait upon, or serve, the Lord? Ephesians 6:7 encourages me to “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people.” I believe that God desires for me to serve Him through praise and worship. I can wait upon Him through these actions while waiting for Him to answer my prayers. Psalm 2:11 NLT says, “Serve the LORD with reverent fear, and rejoice with trembling.”
And therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you,
and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you:
for the LORD is a God of justice: blessed are all they that wait for him.
Isaiah 30:18 NKJV
Not only am I to wait upon the Lord, but the Lord also waits upon me. This concept is amazing to me. When God waits, He is showing grace and mercy to me because He knows best. Waiting has always been incorporated into God’s plan. God works in the hearts and lives of His people while He waits. In order for the Israelites to enter the Promised Land at the most opportune time, they had to wander in the wilderness for forty years preparing their hearts. When Lazarus died, it was part of Jesus’ schedule to wait before returning to Mary and Martha in Bethany and raising their brother back to life. The Lord waits for nine months for an embryo to grow into an independent infant before He allows an expectant mother to give birth to her child.
Knowing that the Lord waits upon me, motivates me to wait upon Him. I echo the words of Lamentations 3:24, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” God may wait longer than I would prefer, but He knows the best timing. He is sovereign! God may wait, but He never waits too long. I must agree with Lamentations 3:26, “it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.” Because the Lord has shown me that He works while He waits to intervene on my behalf, I will follow His example and actively wait upon Him to manifest His best plans and purposes for my life. Waiting may not be a bad thing after all!
My Reader, will you join me in personally declaring these words of the Psalmist? Maybe you are being asked to make a major decision and your best response would be “Wait a minute!” Take time to seek the Lord’s guidance rather than making a snap decision that you might later regret. Other people can wait for you while you wait upon the Lord for direction. Craig Bruce is credited for the quote, “You usually have to wait for that which is worth waiting for.” I encourage you to wait upon the Lord because the Lord is waiting for you to call upon Him. You will be glad you took the time to wait.