Isaiah 40:31 “They that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength …”
Have you ever questioned why prolonged periods of waiting tend to exhaust us, even if waiting on the Lord is supposed to replenish our strength? Who would have imagined that what appears to be a passive pastime would require so much emotional and spiritual energy? Waiting, however, is meant to be much more than passive. God is never inactive while we wait, and neither should we be. In the Bible, the word ‘wait’ actually carries the idea of ‘actively standing under.’
The Psalmist would occasionally cry out, “How long, O Lord, how long!?” while he waits in agony for God to act. During such agonising periods of delay, we can experience the same agony. According to Bob Sorge’s book The Fire of Delayed Answers, when God wants to do His greatest work in us, He urges us to wait. This is because we are forced into a greater dependence upon Him, His might, His timing, and His sovereign control when there is nothing we can do but wait.
The kind of waiting God wants is comparable to the kind of waiting a servant would perform for a king. This servant would not be touching the king on the shoulder, grumbling about having to wait, or asking to be used. He or she wouldn’t be allowing thoughts to get diverted by what others at the table were wearing or saying in order to miss the king’s direction. Instead, a waiting servant would yield to the king’s authority, be vigilant and aware of his smallest movements, ready to foresee the need and go quickly at his signal.
Yes, waiting can be both painful and exhausting. God is aware of this, which is why He devotes so much of the Bible to motivating us as we wait. But we can lessen the agony of these moments by changing the way we think as we endure, by accepting the wisdom of God’s command to wait, and by paying close attention to and keeping watch over Him.
We may even come to realise that, while all of creation waits for the Son to experience His ultimate glory and usher in a new age of heaven and earth, we share in the great Wait of heaven. Our waiting is never meant to be passive. Our waiting should always be purposeful and may we never forget – we don’t wait alone. All of God’s people and all of creation waits with us.