- 2007 23 Feb
People are fascinated with progress. We like to “make time.” We invent ways to “beat the clock.” From the electric washing machine, to hand-held PDA’s, something about advancement grips us. Email arrives in mere seconds; laptop computers allow us to work between destinations; microwave meals, delivery services, and drive-thru windows provide almost instant gratification. We like to keep moving. That's what grips us — the desire to move, to progress. We may see merit in stopping to smell the roses, but we don’t like to linger long. But then, life takes us through seasons of pain, doubt, questioning, and suffering, forcing us to wait for resolution.
At times, waiting is difficult. A man trying to support a family of five on a disability check, substantially smaller than he is accustomed to, angrily questions, “Where is God? What has He done for me lately?” His posture — chin set hard, eyes averted, back straight, arms crossed tightly across his chest — communicates he’s in no mood for trite answers. Abruptly he stops talking and drifts inside himself. Softly, eyes averted, he says, “If it were not for my little girl, by now I would have put a gun to my head.” He uncrosses his arms and drops his head. “I’m tired of waiting on God.”
Emotional and Spiritual Exhaustion
Most of us can identify with his exhaustion at one time or another. Bills mount, children rebel, friends betray, emotions rage, and hearts ache. Life’s relentlessly cold winds appear only to blow on the ground between our two feet. Crises, challenges, and day-to-day demands nibble away our confidence and peace, leaving us spiritually and emotionally drained.
A popular verse that most of us have memorized tells us that great benefits come with waiting on God.
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” (Isaiah 40:31, NIV).
The Hebrew word for “wait” here means to twist and bind, like a rope. It describes the strength and vigor gained from binding or from stretching. We gain vitality when we twist and bind our lives to the Lord. My friend, Samantha Landy, says, “Strength arises when we wrap our web-like strength around the steel strength of Jesus.”
Those who wait, exchange their own weakness for His strength. God is our strong deliverer. He is the everlasting God. He never sleeps. He doesn’t grow weary. From Him, strength arises. Exhausted by fatigue we find our hope in God. His providence, promises, and peace shout to us through the mounting “white noise” of our circumstances, reviving our depleted souls. When we lack both stamina and strength, God liberally grants all we need for steady progress and spiritual triumph.
Waiting from the Lord means holding on when you feel you can't hold on. It means plugging the holes in your faith as time passes. It means trusting when everything says it's doomed. My son Aaron is developmentally delayed, which means his body has not matured like other children his age. Like most six-year-olds, he possesses a strong independent attitude; he’s funny, unique, and greets each new day with innocent expectation. Unlike other six-year-olds, Aaron hasn’t learned to walk. He still crawls. And his speech in not clear.
Through personal experience, I’ve found that waiting on the Lord requires courage, patience, and diligence.
Burdened with real needs requiring real solutions, how can we adhere to the psalmist’s exhortation? : “Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart [your inner being]; Wait, I say, on the Lord!” (Psalm 27:14; NKJV)
A person waiting on the Lord needs courage. Once, I read a story of a grandmother who killed a lion with a butcher knife. The lion had wandered out of the hills and attacked her eighteen-month old grandson. With a prayer and total disregard for her own safety, she felled the powerful enemy with one jab and a twist of her wrist. That’s courage.
Courage is the mental or moral strength to confront, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, pain, and adversity. Trying circumstances make our inner constitution feel like shifting sands. Physical, moral, and emotional courage come from within. Emerson observed every endeavor requires bravery:
“Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them.”
Fortitude enables us to maintain the course.
The concept of waiting seems almost alien to most of us in this fast-paced, drive-through, thirty minutes or it’s free society. Most of us lack the sustaining faith required to wait on the Lord. The demand for instant gratification proves detrimental in four ways:
- First, most impatient people are easily angered (Proverbs 14:29).
- Second, they are usually ill tempered (Proverbs 15:18).
- Third, the loss of temper signifies inner weakness.
- Finally, lack of restraint accompanies impatience (Proverbs 16:32).
Discontentment often arises out of impatience (Ecclesiastes 7:8-9). The lofty goals we set for our lives don’t materialize as quickly as we anticipated, and seem like they never will. We want to give up. Holding on requires endurance.
Waiting on the Lord is an active process. Waiting requires action. We must continue our tasks. Customarily, people are inclined to escape the daily pressures of life, but we should fight against succumbing to that proclivity with everything in us. Day-by-day, we must continue on. We must revive, nurture, and cultivate our will.
William Carey, the father of modern missions, known for his diligence once stated, “I can plod, that is my only genius. I can persevere in any definite pursuit. To this I owe everything.”
Imagine what would happen in our lives if we gird our natural human frailty with God’s unlimited supernatural might. Visualize the power of a church filled with people who posses elevated perspective. Picture what would happen to a country inhabited by people with enduring resilience.
Life-events may slow us down. Our physical and emotional strength may diminish, but our spiritual strength should be on the rise. When difficult circumstances seem to halt our progress, we can “wrap our web-like strength around the steel strength of Jesus” and wait for strength to arise.
Veronica Jones-Brown writes on a variety of topics with an emphasis on Spiritual Growth, Christian Living, and Personal Development. She enjoys teaching Sunday school, mentoring, and speaking and training in churches and at conferences. Veronica loves meeting people who desire more of God, saying that interacting with them rejuvenates, inspires, and encourages her. She lives in the East Texas area with her husband James, a wonderful man and Veronica’s greatest supporter. They have two children, Olivia and Aaron. Visit her at www.veronicajonesbrown.com, or email her at email@example.com.