The other day Norma Jean and I were discussing our travel plans for May and the rest of the summer.
“Do you think “sheltering in place” restrictions will be lifted by May 1st?” she wondered.
“I don’t know.”
“When you do think the Canadian border will open?”
“I don’t know.”
“Where are we going if the border doesn’t open in May?”
“I don’t know.”
“What are we going to do?” she further pressed.
“Just wait.” I replied. “Just wait.”
Waiting is not natural for me. I don’t like to wait in line. Or at a fast food restaurant. And I definitely don’t like waiting in backed up traffic. But sometimes all you can do is wait.
Currently our country and the world is in a waiting mode. We wait wondering when this shut down will end. Some are waiting to see if they still have a job or business when this is over. Many are waiting on their stimulus checks from the IRS. Some are anxiously waiting to see if their loved one will recover from this terrible virus.
We’re waiting to hear the decision from our national, state or local leaders about returning back to our lives. Returning to work. Returning to ball games, theaters, and restaurants. And returning to collective worship in our church buildings.
In the meantime, we wait.
As the Psalmist David faced trouble and trial in his life, he often wrote about waiting. He equated his confidence, courage and trust in the Lord with waiting.
Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!
This is good advice when we are dealing with sickness and suffering. Or personal problems. And during this time of national and international distress.
We wait on the Lord because He is the everlasting God. He is our Creator. And He is all powerful. We wait, believing that God is not just a mere spectator of our pain, but a loving, merciful and compassionate benefactor who hears our cries. Knows our hurts. And will relieve our suffering.
So, we wait. But how do we wait.
I don’t agree with all of her theology, but Joyce Meyer’s observation is appropriate. “Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.”
1. We humbly wait.
Pride gets in the way of waiting. When we think we’re too important, too busy, or too smart to wait, then we get into trouble. David reminds us, “Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart (Ps. 10:17).
2. We patiently wait.
Too often we put a time limit on the Lord. We want answers now. Not later. We want relief now. Not next week. David’s wise counsel is helpful. “I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry”(Ps. 40:1).
3. We persistently wait.
Waiting on the Lord is not an off and on again thing. It’s something in which we must persist and persevere. Psalm 69 speaks of David holding on. Hanging on. And doggedly determined to wait on the Lord.
4. We actively wait.
To “wait on the Lord” is not be passive, inactive or lethargic. Waiting is active. Aware and alert. “Faith without works is dead.”
The evangelist and expositor G. Campbell Morgan expressed it this way. “Waiting for God is not laziness. Waiting for God is not going to sleep. Waiting for God is not the abandonment of effort. Waiting for God means, first, activity under command; second, readiness for any new command that may come; third, the ability to do nothing until the command is given.”
5. We expectantly wait.
Hebrew scholars suggest that the phrase “to wait on Yahweh” means “to wait for help.” That is, to trust in him. To put our hope and confidence in Him.
We are not waiting with “our fingers crossed.” Or waiting for a stroke of luck. Or for fate to direct our destiny. We wait with expectation and anticipation that God will provide a favorable outcome. “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I do hope” (Ps 130:5).
6. We prayerfully wait.
Prayerful waiting, is waiting with a purpose. With hope for divine help. And with assurance that God cares. Hears. And answers. David’s call to “wait on the Lord” is always connected with prayer. “And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You” (Ps. 39:7).
Don’t give in to discouragement. Despair. Or depression.
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.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman