Waiting on the Lord
The Creator is Sovereign and is not obliged to bless us but those who surrender their will to His will are rewarded abundantly with His peace in this life and eternal life later.

Waiting on the Lord

Most of the time we hear people proclaim that they are waiting for fulfillment of the vision received from God about their life. But when the waiting period does not seem to be ending and doubts start creeping in causing many to give up under the false notion that maybe God does not want them to pursue this. The message from God as declared by Prophet Malachi about the Messiah’s coming was followed by a long wait of four hundred years when it all seemed totally dark with no communication from God. But the people of Israel kept eagerly waiting for His coming though many missed out on receiving salvation through Him. Does God test us during waiting period or is there something more?

Does God test us through waiting? – Moses told the Israelites just before climbing the mountain for the last time, to be with the Lord, ‘the LORD your God, He is the one who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you’ (Deuteronomy 31:6). Lord Jesus assured the believers to reach out to others to make disciples of all nations, ‘I am with you always, even to the end of the age’ (Matthew 28:20). God never leaves us alone but we are unable to see or feel His presence because of our worldly sinful nature where we desire immediate results. The Scripture is a story of waiting, Abraham waited for a son and heir, Joseph waited for deliverance, David waited for his kingdom; Israel waited for the Messiah and we all wait for the return of the Great Righteous Judge.

What does it mean to wait on the Lord? – In the Old Testament it was about God’s providential care but in the New Testament or today it is about His second coming. In both cases it is about expectation and hope while trusting God’s faithfulness, goodness and kindness. Only the God fearing people wait on Him for they know that He is not trying to tire out and break us through waiting though many times it appears to be so. The Psalmist cried out to God after a considerably long period of waiting for answers to prayer, ‘I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God’ (Psalm 69:3). But we know His timing is always perfect, neither early nor late.

Waiting on the Lord is about total surrender and dependence on Him and to allow Him to work out the terms or timing and mode of His help. Waiting involves passage of time and patience, but time itself is a gift from God. About patiently waiting we are advised, ‘let patience have its perfect work, that you may  be perfect and complete, lacking nothing’ (James 1:4).

Waiting on the Lord is about hope – When we know God we automatically say, ‘My soul, wait patiently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him’ (Psalm 62:5). This waiting is about godly hope and ‘hope does not disappoint’ for those who wait on God are never disappointed (Romans 5:5).

Waiting on the Lord is about being at rest for His command is to ‘Be still’.  Moses told the Israelites at the Red Sea, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever’ (Exodus 14:13-14).  They waited and witnessed the miraculous parting of the Red sea and destruction of the Egyptian army. Psalm 23 is about being rest near ‘still waters’ where there is no turbulence and the sheep lie still and at rest. To wait on the Lord is to rest in the confident assurance that God will never leave us without a sure defense despite whatever difficulties we may be facing.

Waiting on the Lord is not about sitting idle doing nothing but it is filling our time with service to the Master, like the five virgins ready to serve Him on His arrival. It is about being attentive always to catch the slightest intimation from Him. Waiting on the Lord is to develop a closer relationship with Him through prayer and meditation on His Word.

Waiting renews our strength while focusing on being responsive to God and on the things of heaven in patience rooted in faith.  During Moses’ stay of forty days in the presence of God receiving the Ten Commandments, the Israelites became impatient and made a golden calf to worship as their god (Exodus 32).

Waiting on the Lord is about His right time and not about our time lines or schedules. Apostle Paul confirms that ‘when the fullness of time (right time) had come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law’ (Galatians 4:4) in fulfillment of the prophesy of Genesis 3:15, about the seed of woman, made centuries before.

Waiting is assured understanding of God’s promises being fulfilled and we should not despair when answers are not forthcoming but wait for God to work on our behalf. ‘Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore He exalts Himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice, blessed are those who wait for Him’ (Isaiah 30:18).

What does God do during our waiting period? – Our waiting involves us and God and the devil who is ever trying to lead us astray, we shall see the role of each separately. First about God – During this waiting period God keeps a greater vigil on us for our Savior promises to come looking for even one lost sheep for He assures that none will be lost. We are not used to waiting and want immediate response from God.

God uses waiting period for our transformation but too often we want to act and be god of our lives for we fail to trust in God’s promises. We go ahead to implement our own plans without waiting like Abraham who despite having received God’s promise agreed to Sarah to have a child with Hagar, her Egyptian slave, to catastrophic results for the world. God told Hagar about her son, ‘he will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand will be against him’ (Genesis 16:12).  During the 25 years of waiting period of Abraham God changed him to have a close relationship with Him to be obedient and ‘blameless’ (Genesis 17:1). It was this that led him to obey God’s command ‘take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering’ (Genesis 22:2).

Our tendency to push God to the side is against His will for us and takes us away from Him. Adam and Eve were evicted from the Garden of Eden due to disobedience and a close relationship was broken (Genesis 3:23). During critical times of distress when God wants to pour out abundance of His grace to strengthen us in our weakness, we try and run ahead of God by choosing our way and lose out on Divine help.

During waiting God teaches me about surrendering control to Him – Abraham learnt it and so should we. The Amalekites invaded Ziklag and took David’s and his soldiers wives and children captive and even his followers talked of stoning David but he called Abiathar the priest to enquire of the Lord to follow the Amalekites or not (1 Samuel 30:6-8). David’s time spent shepherding his father’s sheep and waiting period after anointing by Prophet Samuel taught him about ceding control to God.

God helps us build partnerships during waiting– Our first and foremost closeness is with God for He is our Shepherd who leads us to places of abundance and peace. During this period God helps us develop partnerships of trust with others. David had a close band of 30 who were ever ready to die for him. when the Philistines were in Bethlehem and David expressed a longing to drink the water of the well there, three mighty men broke through the Philistines camp and brought water for David at great risk to their personal safety (2 Samuel 23:14-17).

God helps to deepen my trust in Him – Waiting is about faith, do I believe in God and His promises? The disciples disputed among themselves as to which of them should be considered the greatest and this was just before the Savior’s crucifixion (Luke 22:24). But 50 days waiting after crucifixion till Pentecost changed their hearts and ‘then all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication (Acts 1:14).

Waiting period is used by God to prepare others – After Pentecost people from 13 different countries heard God’s praise in their own language and cried out, ‘What shall we do?’  3,000 were baptized and the Word reached through them into various locations (Acts 2:37).

Holy Spirit teaches me obedience during waiting – Joseph in the prison, Abraham waiting for 25 years, Moses in the Midianite wilderness for forty years before meeting God in the Burning Bush and Apostle Paul’s wait before being found by Barnabas taught them obedience to God. Apostle Paul during his second missionary journey was forbidden by the Holy Spirit to go to preach the Word in Asia and Bythynia (Acts 16:6-7). God made His own Son wait for thirty years to start His ministry though right from birth ‘the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him’. And ‘All who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers’ (Luke 2:39-52).

We are strengthened during waiting – TheScripture promise is, ‘those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint’ (Isaiah 40:31). An eagle flies around the mountains to ride the upward drafts of air currents. Apostle Paul says, ‘set your minds on things above, not on earthly things’ for during our waiting period God prepares the upward lifting drafts (Colossians 3:2).

Satan’s works during our waiting – Any attempt for the Creator or the creation to get closer to each other will always be resisted by the devil. He urges us to cut short our waiting and take charge like the Israelites were moved to create the golden calf. He leads us to apostasy to unbelief and abandon prayers and move into sinful living. A believers prayer is, ‘Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path’ (Psalm 119:105) but the devil wants us to put on our own headlights and navigate. Then we start self promotion instead of God exaltation and in pride turn away to go to sorcerers, astrologers and magicians. Joshua warned the Israelites about loyalty to God and declared ‘But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD’ (Joshua 24:14).  Waiting is about preparing and participating in the race set before us and we do this by ‘looking unto Lord Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith’ (Hebrews 12:1-2).

A believer’s role during waiting – Waiting on the LORD is not a passive but an active period as we have already seen. It is not like waiting for a train to arrive but is full of action with God glorifying activities that honor Him. It fills us with hope and gives us strength to carry on despite feeling like being in the dark. How do we do this?

First, we wait on the LORD in faith – There are two types of waiting; one is unsure or what if type like, we hope but what if He doesn’t? What if He fails or does not respond at the most crucial time. This is dishonoring God and displeasing to Him for such doubts and unbelief make God look like an untrustworthy God. The second type is waiting in strong faith being sure of His character for He is infinitely good and loving and He will deliver us. Even if it is not what we expected but it is the best for us for He knows. ‘Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths’ (Proverbs 3:5-6). We get tempted to calculate the odds and take charge, that is what the devil wants. We must remember that God is Sovereign and in control of everything, working out innumerable things in my life, starting from ensuring that I can take the next breath to the happenings in the universe around me. I may know only about one or two out of millions of things He is doing around me. Against such odds only a fool will try and control in his own understanding but we do that. Waiting on God is characterized by faith in Him.

Second, we wait on the LORD loudly – King David was a ‘man of God’s heart’ yet he cried out, ‘Lord, how long will You look on? Rescue me from their destructions, my precious life from the lions’ (Psalm 35:17). He waited in faith but he was not quiet about it and he constantly cried out to God, questioned Him, pestered Him, pleaded with Him and begged Him. He was aggressive in his waiting for David knew that God was faithful and kind and loved to give good gifts to His children and so like any child he asked repeatedly and loudly. Lord Jesus told the parable of the widow and the unjust judge who could not withstand the widow’s persistence any longer (Luke 18:1-8). Waiting that honors God is persistent pleas for deliverance.

Third, we wait on the Lord patiently – It appears that there is dichotomy in this. But generally we want it all and we want it now for I think I know what is best for me. But actually I do not and looking back I know the disasters I would have faced if God had answered all my prayers. We are to ‘Wait on the LORD; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the LORD’ (Psalm 27:14). King David repeats the word wait and waiting requires strengthening of heart and not giving up and God helps in this. David hid himself in caves despite the anointing to be king and Abraham had to wait and understand about his and Sarah’s incapability to produce a child. Lord Jesus will return but we have to wait till the message reaches to ‘the ends of the earth’.

Fourth, we wait on the Lord dependently – Apostle Paul listed out his sufferings during his ministry and he was not weak in any way (2 Corinthians 11:23-28) for Lord Jesus had told Ananias about Paul being a chosen vessel and how much he must suffer for the Gospel (Acts 9:15-16). He must be in great distress for he prayed three times to the Lord to remove ‘his thorn in the flesh’ but he depended totally on God’s grace and power to survive (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). If we do not wait dependently on God we shall turn bitter, dried up and hopeless.

Fifth, we wait on the LORD prayerfully – We pray humbly for God does not owe us anything and a man at his best is but a breath (Luke 17:7-10 & Psalm 39:5). We pray in faith and trust recognizing His Sovereign status and His loving nature to bless us. In our waiting in prayer we are assured that ‘He will supply all that we need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).

Waiting is always followed by abundant blessings from God and all of creation had to wait for a very long period. We have to submit ourselves into the care and control of the LORD God who then ‘leads us into green pastures and besides still waters’. We rest in the assurances of His Word and His timing, mode and type of blessing is always right.

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