Wait on the Lord
Have you ever met a person who just loooooves to wait? As in, they genuinely enjoy the stretching activity of demonstrating patience?
Yeah, me either. Humans don’t naturally enjoy waiting for things that we really want. This gets tricky because our lives require a lot of waiting! Furthermore, all throughout the Bible, we are encouraged to wait on the Lord. Waiting well is, in my opinion, one of the most stretching activities we are called to as believers.
What does it look like to wait upon the Lord?
Have you ever really thought about that?
Many of us are familiar with the beautiful promises found in Isaiah 40. The entire chapter is so powerful, but the verses I want to focus in on are 28-31 in NKJV:
“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on 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.”
The promises here are mind-blowing! Such incredible strength and power made available to us by the Spirit of God. We have a God who never grows weary, never grows weak, never runs out of strength and faithfulness and love, and in His infinite mercy He has made ALL of this available to His children.
One of the first things that jumps out to me is how He promises to give power to the weak. This word encompasses so much more than physical tiredness. Some of the definitions for this word include “fatigued, exhausted, weary.” And when He promises to give us power, the depth of the meaning of that word includes “strength, power, might, ability, fruit, capacity."
But here’s my question: how do we access this incredible supernatural power? What does it practically look like to wait on the Lord?
If you’re anything like me, waiting is probably also one of your least favorite activities in the entire world. I’m a type A go-getter girl who struggles greatly with slowing my pace. Slow doesn’t come naturally for me. Babies and toddlers have been excellent practice in dying to my ambitious, fast-paced ways and learning an entirely new rhythm of life. Lord bless my precious little people who have had to forgive me time and again for bowling right past them in my hurry to “get stuff done”. I am currently still in the thick of the little years so you’ll have to check back in with me in a few years to see if I survived this season! Ha.
Waiting is counter-cultural and counter-intuitive to me. That’s how I know it’s God’s idea and not mine. This word wait has such beautiful layers of meaning, and some of my favorites are “to wait, look for, hope and expect; to look eagerly for; to linger for.”
Have you ever asked God for a word at the beginning of a New Year? I started this practice a few years ago, and it’s become a really special and simple proclamation He and I make together over my calendar year. Funny enough, the word He put on my heart at the beginning of 2020 was “linger.” Little did I know all that we would face together throughout that crazy year. I actually did have a lot of opportunities to linger… to linger in His presence, to linger with my family, to linger over a good book or over the elaborate recipe I decided to tackle. He put time and space into my year that I was not expecting in the least. Because He knew. He knows me. He knows you. He knows what we need. He cares so deeply about our growth process.
I got to practice a LOT of waiting in 2020. In fact, waiting has been a theme for the last 15+ years for me. My husband and I waited a long time to conceive a baby. And then we had to say goodbye to that baby, and two more after her, and we get to wait to see those sweet little ones face to face.
We waited several agonizing years to carry a full term baby, and then that blessed 9+ pound boy made me wait an extra 14 days after his due date to finally hold him in my arms.
We waited for God to heal and restore parts of our marriage that got hit by a truckload of trauma, and we waited for Him to bring us into a new season filled with freedom and hope.
We heard God tell us I needed to write a book, but we waited for 6 years for the timing to be right. We recently began the process of building a new home, and the craziness of 2021 has given many opportunities to wait patiently after all the construction and weather delays have added their fun to our story.
We all wait. Everyone waits. We wait in lines and we wait for Amazon Prime. We wait for our music to download and we wait for the macaroni and cheese to finish boiling. We wait all the time.
What is truly hilarious and utterly ironic is that I am typing these words from the runway of the Dallas Ft. Worth airport, where I have been waiting on board my plane to take off for nearly two hours. There is a mechanical issue on the plane and we all get to sit here and wait…and wait…and wait. God has such a wonderful and delightful sense of humor!
Waiting on the Lord is so different than the frustrating waiting required of us as by our fallen world. It’s not simply tolerating the wait with an underlying sense of agitation and impatience. Waiting on the Lord is filled with a sense of eager expectation, with a strong confidence that He is going to show up, and it’s going to be good.
When He asks us to wait on Him, it means we are fully convinced and full of hope that He will encounter us in that space and gently lead us onwards from there. He won’t leave us in that place when we fix our eyes eagerly on Him. It means actively waiting on God without succumbing to anxiety and dread.
So, you’re saying God will give me capacity and strength when I feel exhausted and weary? That He will meet me on the days I feel fatigued, and He will give me ability and power? Yes. That's exactly it. Waiting is an invitation to deeper intimacy with God. It’s an open door to rely on Him and trust Him just a little bit more today than we did yesterday.
Psalm 25:5 in The Passion Translation says, “Escort me along the way; take me by the hand and teach me. For you are the God of my increasing salvation; I have wrapped my heart into yours!” The footnote for that verse says, “The Hebrew word most commonly translated as ‘wait’ (wait upon the Lord) is qavah, which also means ‘to tie together by twisting’ or ‘to entwine’ or ‘to wrap tightly.’ This is a beautiful concept of waiting upon God, not as something passive, but entwining our hearts with Him and His purposes.”
May we be people who wait well, who entwine our hearts with our loving Father, who open ourselves up humbly to receive His strength when we are weak, and who come to know Him better in every invitation of waiting that He extends to us.