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.
VERY FEW CONCEPTS ARE MORE IMPORTANT IN OUR SPIRITUAL GROWTH THAN THAT OF “WAITING ON THE LORD.” But what does it mean to wait on the Lord? If it involves any real waiting, most of us would find that a difficult thing to do, given our insistence on immediate gratification in all our endeavors. Whatever it may involve, waiting doesn’t sound good to us.
In truth, waiting on the Lord does mean more than merely waiting (“remaining in a state of expectation”). We can speak of a servant waiting on his master, and that aspect of waiting is certainly included in our relationship to God. We are at His beck and call, at His service. Our job is to wait until He needs us, and then spring into action at His command. Young Samuel had the right idea: “Speak, Lord, for your servant hears” (1 Samuel 3:9,10).
But although waiting on the Lord involves more than mere waiting, it does not involve less. Reverence often requires us to wait patiently until He deems that the time is right for certain things to happen. Since He sees matters from a more complete perspective than we, and since He must take many more things into account than we, it is often the case that His timetable is different than ours. He may not act as quickly as we wish, and at such times we must be content to wait on the Lord, knowing that He will make all things beautiful . . . in His time. We would do well to take Guerric of Igny’s advice: “Have courage and give God time.”
But if it is difficult for us to wait, there is also a sense in which it can be joyous. You may not see anything good about yearning for what you desperately need and do not presently have, but I suggest that the idea of joyful yearning is one that can pay great dividends in life. Indeed, anticipation is a big part of the wholesome enjoyment of anything. So whenever it is necessary to wait on the Lord, can we not do so with joy and love and thanksgiving?
“Let me discover the pleasure of anticipation. Give me what it takes to wait without complaining. Show me that there is more faith in waiting for what is unseen than in believing what is in front of my eyes” (Bernard Bangley).