Have you ever been told to “Wait!”? As a kid I waited for my sisters and walked to school with them. At mealtime we waited for everyone to get to the table before we could start eating. As a teenager I had to wait to get my driver’s license. With five sisters and four brothers, even with two bathrooms in the house, we had to wait – sometimes with great apprehension – until it was our turn. Waiting was not always pleasant.
But my parents made it more complex. We were raised in a Christian home, and one of the more frequent exhortations I heard was, “Be patient now; you must wait on the Lord.”
Wait for what? I could neither see nor hear God. I had a hard enough time waiting for people I could see.
One day I decided to check it out. Isaiah 40:28-31 (NLT) says:
“Don’t you know that the Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth? He never grows faint or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to those who are tired and worn out; he offers strength to the weak. Even youths will become exhausted, and young men will give up. But those who wait on the Lord will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”
Studying those verses presented quite an eye-opener and I found three possible applications.
1. Sometimes we are emotionally and physically tired. If we push ourselves too long and too hard we wear out and can get sick, but God wants us to rest and rejuvenate our strength. He wants us to physically take care of ourselves.
2. Without waiting for God’s timing or for His direction, some folk require, expect, or demand God to bless their decisions. And when things don’t work out, they incredulously ask, “I had faith! What happened?”
3. However, upon further study, I discovered another concept. In a restaurant the host says, “Your waiter will be with you soon.” Then the waiter or waitress asks the customer, “May I bring you something to drink?” Upon returning, he asks, “Are you ready to order?” Later, he asks, “Is the meal to your liking?” or “May I get you some desert?”
Do you see it? The waiter is serving the customer. He doesn’t wait for, but waits on the customer – therefore, his title: waiter. This provides the most appropriate application of the passage.
By the way, although seniors may receive discounts at certain restaurants, there are no discounts in heaven. We all are judged by the same criteria: we must live to honor the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now read Isaiah 40:28-31 again. God is the infinitely understanding Master or Customer, and we are the finite servants or waiters. We often don’t know what God wants. That’s why we wait on Him to find out. It’s equivalent to asking the Lord, “Are You ready to order?”
What does God want? He wants what is best for us. We don’t know what we want or need; but God does. And if we wait on God – tune in to His desires by praying to Him and serving Him – then He will assure that we receive timely guidance. He will let us know what He desires, and our needs will be taken care of. He will help us make proper decisions.
As we wait on the Lord, the instructions He gives us include everything we need for living a healthy life. We’ll fly high above the problems in life. As we “run the race” that the Apostle Paul mentions, we will not become weary, and we will not quit.
As we cooperate with God we will be physically strengthened, depression will not be a factor in our lives, and we will add joy and inspiration to those around us.
So how do we wait on the Lord? We start with what Jesus said in John 14:15, “If you love me, obey my commandments”; and in verse 21, “Those who obey my commandments are the ones who love me.” The two commandments mentioned by Jesus in Matthew 22:36-40 (love the Lord your God, and and love your neighbor) encompass “The Ten” presented to Moses; and those Ten encompass all of life. So we wait on the Lord by obeying Him. We take His order.
Please note: NEVER give God an order; God is not your waiter.
Joyful obedience is the purest form of worship, and through true worship – a lifestyle, not music – we build the kingdom of God. Waiting on the Lord is not a chore; rather, it brings us into the presence of a loving God where there is fullness of joy.