This morning I had a conversation with a woman from our church who’s been waiting for God to give her clear direction in a specific area of her life. The challenge is, God hasn’t given that direction yet, and so she’s getting impatient. As we talked about it, she said, “Pastor, I’m tired of waitin’ and doin’ nothin’ - it’s wearin’ me out!”
I could relate to her words, as I’ve also had times in my life when I’ve struggled to wait on God. And just like my friend, the waiting has worn me out. But as I’ve processed this over the years, it’s occurred to me that part of the problem is that we can often think of “waiting” as something that’s passive. So as we wait, all the while focusing on what we want God to do, we get tired and worn out because we can’t control what’s happening. For example, if you’ve ever been on a trip and had a flight cancelled, the result is that you usually spend a lot of time just sitting and waiting for the airline to do something about it. And the longer you wait, the more tired you get - as a feeling of hopelessness takes over, because you realize you really can’t control the situation any more. And all too often, that’s the same mentality we slip into as we wait for God to work in our lives.
However, if we do that, we’re missing out on all that God wants to do in our lives while we wait. Here’s what I mean - when the Bible talks about waiting on God, it’s referring to a completely different type of “waiting”. Generally, the Bible refers to waiting as being still in God’s presence - expectantly looking to Him for His plans. And as we do that, our strength is renewed. Isaiah 40:31 makes this clear as it tells us, “Those who wait on 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 be faint.”
So there is an excitement and eagerness that comes from waiting to see what God’s going to do. And it comes from resting in His presence - keeping our focus on what He’s doing, rather than focusing on our own time-lines or expectations. Think of it like this: someone who serves tables at a restaurant is known as a “waiter”. It’s a title that originated from the similarity to how servants would wait at their master’s table - watching and listening for the slightest instruction from the master about what needed to be done for the meal.
That’s how we should be waiting on the Lord. Psalm 123:2 puts it this way, “As the eyes of a slave looks to the hand of his master, as the eyes of a maid looks to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God.” This is how we’re called to wait on God. It’s not with a tiredness, or boredom because God isn’t working according to our timeline. Instead, it’s to be quiet in His presence, keeping an eye on His every movement - eagerly looking forward to His next command for our lives.
So today, let’s take time to wait on the Lord. Let’s get quiet with Him, focus on Him, and allow Him to give us instructions - even if those instructions are different than what we’re expecting Him to say or do.