We wait all the time. We wait to fall asleep at night; we wait on responses to emails, for Amazon deliveries, for our paycheck to hit our bank account, for people with whom we are sharing Christ to respond to the Gospel, etc. What are some things you’re waiting for?
We wait for all sorts of things, but what does it mean to wait on God? Wait on Him for what? Psalm 27:13-14 says, “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”
Isaiah 40:31 Context and Meaning
We wait on the Lord to act – to deliver, to save, to avenge, to answer our prayers, to provide for our needs, to renew our strength, to reveal His glory, to do what only God can do.
“Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for 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 40:30-31).
Even the young, fit, and strong will experience exhaustion and an end to their strength. Everyone will need to rely on God and wait for His help.
This famous passage talks about waiting on the very God who:
- Measures all the waters of earth in the palm of his hand, marked off the heavens, and collects every particle of dust on the earth in a basket (Isaiah 40:12)
- Knows the exact weight of all the mountains, islands, and hills (Isaiah 40:12, 15)
- Sits on a throne above planet Earth watching us and dwells in a tent made from the canopy of the heavens (Isaiah 40:22)
- Causes earthly rulers to wither with his breath (Isaiah 40:24)
- Brings out the stars each night by calling them each by name (Isaiah 40:26)
This is the God on whom we wait! We wait on Him because He is God and we are not. He can accomplish what we cannot. We wait on Him because we are helpless without Him.
God’s Concept of Time Is Nothing Like Ours
Waiting is something that is only possible within time. God, the Creator of time, is not limited by time. When we are waiting on Him to act, He has already acted.
“With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you” (2 Peter 3:8-9).
God is patient with us; he understands waiting. His concept of time is nothing like ours, and yet His timing is perfect. The following story proves this.
God Uses Our Waiting to Reveal His Glory
John 11 tells the story of Lazarus, a friend of Jesus. Lazarus got very sick, and his sisters, Mary and Martha, sent word to Jesus. Instead of hurrying to help, Jesus delayed his arrival on purpose. And Lazarus died. By the time Jesus showed up, Lazarus had been in the grave four days. This was intentional. Jesus’ plan was to raise Lazarus from the dead revealing His glory as “the Resurrection and the Life” (John 11:25).
Jesus knew that Lazarus would get sick before he ever experienced symptoms. Every day ordained for each one of us was recorded by God before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:16). Lazarus’ days were literally numbered, and so are ours. Before Mary and Martha sent for Jesus, Jesus already had a plan, and His plan involved making them wait.
The God who calls the stars by name is not surprised by the circumstances of our lives. He knows. He has always known, and waiting is a part of His plan for us.
Waiting on God Is Good for Us
Waiting on God is good for us. If God acted immediately every time we cried to Him, we would be in control and not Him. We would call the shots, and we do not possess His wisdom. Having to wait causes us to learn to trust Him, to trust His timing.
The following is an excerpt from my book Disappointment:
“From the valley, I look up to the mountains and say, ‘Why God? Why do I have to be down here instead of up there? I’ve been down here so long.’And into the silence He speaks, if I am willing to be silent enough to listen.
“‘I want to take you to the mountaintop, but you are not yet ready. The climb is hard and steep and you must train a while longer. This valley is preparing you. Suffering and waiting produce the necessary perseverance, character and hope that you will need to get to the top, without which you would certainly fail. Trust me. It seems to you too long, but it is a necessary amount of time. My timing is perfect. I have not forgotten you. I see your faithfulness and your struggle. I appreciate your honesty. I am with you always, and soon, when you are ready, we will stand on the summit together, and when you look back down on that valley, you will finally understand.’”
How well are you waiting on God? Don’t waste time in the “waiting room.” Ask God to change you while you wait, to strengthen you and produce perseverance, character, and hope (Romans 5:3-4).
“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord” (Psalm 27:14). He rewards those who wait, and His timing is perfect.
Kristi Walker has been a missionary in Berlin, Germany for over 15 years working with an international church as the Director of Student Ministries. She is the author of two books: Disappointment: A Subtle Path Away from Christ and Convinced. Applying Biblical Principles to Life’s Choices.
Photo Credit: Unsplash/Amos Bar Zeev