The Hard Work of Waiting

One of the common challenges that God puts before us as Christians is waiting on him. Waiting sounds so easy and yet it is surprisingly difficult. Too often we are like Abraham who refused to wait on God and instead had a child by Hagar (Genesis 16). Or we are like the Israelites who rushed into unholy alliances instead of waiting on divine deliverance (2 Chronicles 16:1-9 as one of many examples). We need encouragement to believe God’s promise…

Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him. (Isaiah 64:4)

This verse prompts me to ask myself, “Do I want to act on my behalf or do I want the Almighty, All-Wise God working on my behalf?” If my answer is God, then I need to learn how to wait for him.

How To Wait For God
1. Waiting is active not passive…

I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. (Psalm 130:5; it is actively banking on God’s promises.)

2. Waiting is the opposite of worrying…

Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. (Psalm 37:7)

3. Waiting means not taking matters in your own hands…

Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!” Wait for the Lord, and he will deliver you.” (Proverbs 20:22)

4. Waiting means refusing man made solutions…

This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses.’ Therefore you will flee”…Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! (Isaiah 30:15-16, 18)

Why Does God Call Us To Wait?
When we wait on God, we are forced to recognize that he—and he alone—can truly deliver us and satisfy us. There is something about waiting on God that is very humbling. It forces us to admit that we can’t help ourselves—that self reliance is utter foolishness—that we don’t have the wisdom to know what needs to be done nor the strength to accomplish it. Waiting reminds us that apart from Christ we are helpless.

Waiting also teaches us something about God, namely that he is All-Sufficient. He has what I need—unlimited power, infinite wisdom, and grace beyond measure. Because King David has an accurate picture of himself and God, he writes,

For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. (Psalm 62:1)

If You Wait On God, Will He Give You What You Want?
Well that depends on what it is that you want. If your waiting is nothing more than a strategy to obligate God and force him to give you what you want, then the answer is, “No, God will not be manipulated.” But if what you want is more of God, if what you want is divine wisdom and divine blessing and to learn to follow God, then the answer is an unequivocal, “Yes,” for no one will regret waiting on God.

What Should I Wait On God For?
1. Wait For Strength…

Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength… (Isaiah 40:30-31)

2. Wait for divine wisdom…

Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long. (Psalm 25:4-5)

3. Wait for courage…

Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD! (Psalm 31:24)

4. Wait for God when he seems distant…

I will wait for the LORD, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him.
(Isaiah 8:17)

5. Wait for the joy of a new song…

I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. (Psalm 40:1, 3)

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