Waiting is a common “activity.”
- The traffic light turns red, you must… Wait until it turns green.
- A friend, recently discharged from the military expects to relocate, but must… Wait until he finds employment.
- A dear friend and Christian lady receives troubling news from her physician, but must… Wait to see a specialist and then… wait for future tests.
- My 10 month old great Dane “puppy” expects a treat, but must… Wait until the meal was over.
- My 88-year-old uncle lives alone and although he misses his deceased wives and friends, he “can’t… wait to see Jesus and his departed loved ones.
- I attempt to teach my puppy good matters but I must… Wait until she’s trained.
- While at the Veterans Administration clinics or hospital to have a specific need met, I must… Wait until…
You get the point. Waiting is common to life. Wait. According to the Oxford Concise Dictionary wait is a:
–verb: to stay where one is or delay action until a particular time or until something else happens: he did not wait for a reply
synonyms: hold on, hold back, bide one’s time, hang fire, mark time, stand by, sit tight, hold one’s horses, await, anticipate, look forward, long, pine, yearn, expect, be ready
– noun: a period of waiting: we had a long wait
synonyms: delay, holdup, interval, interlude, intermission, pause, break, stay, cessation, suspension, stoppage, halt, interruption, lull, respite, recess, moratorium, hiatus, gap, rest
Again, you get the point. You probably think you know all about waiting – you’re an expert.
Not only is waiting common to everyday life in this world, it is also common in the experience of a Christian.
Waiting as a Christian activity? According to my Bible software. The words wait, waits, waiting 135 times in 130 verses in ESV. It is found frequently in Both the Old and New Testaments. There are 10 Hebrew words and 10 Greek words that include the meaning of wait.
Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary provides an concise summary and suggests:
WAIT — to remain in readiness or expectation. In Scripture, the word “wait” normally suggests the anxious, yet confident, expectation by God’s people that the Lord will intervene on their behalf. Such waiting may be for answers to prayer (Ps. 25:5), for the coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4), for salvation (Gen. 49:18), or especially for the coming of the Messiah to bring salvation to His people and to establish His kingdom on earth (Ps. 37:34; Luke 12:36; Rom. 8:23; 1 Thess. 1:10). Waiting, therefore, is the working out of hope.
This morning in my daily reading I came to Isaiah 48, where the prophet is quoting LORD. In this section, God himself directly contrasts the future blessings of his people with the certain doom of his enemies. In the midst of these graphic and eloquent descriptions, the LORD says (V.23): “…Then you will know that I am the Lord; those who wait for me shall not be put to shame.”
I noticed that God promises a time when we will know that he is the LORD because we see that his promises have all been kept. I understand that God’s promises are kept in Christ and rejoice in that. I also know that Christians of the present are anticipating future blessings which will be fulfilled in him.
I also noticed that God encourages and strengthens my faith by pointing me to future faithfulness: those who wait for me shall not be put to shame. This is good news. The world all around me discourages me to even consider God. I am bombarded by messages and influences which declare and presume that there is no God. In recent days, God has used the message of this ancient prophet Isaiah to underscore this basic truth: THE LORD is God. There is no other! He is at work keeping each and every promise – even when I can’t discern it.
I report this to you in order to highlight the importance of regular/daily Scripture reading. If you’re like me, and I think you are, you need the regular and repeated living words of Scripture to feed and nourish your soul.
Again, the old prophet is helpful by informing us that God gives strength to those who wait on him: Isaiah 40:30–31 (ESV)
30Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; 31but 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.
Finally, let me share another suggestion. Use the Psalms to help you wait. I have found it extremely helpful to read a portion of the Psalms every day. Sometimes I read only one, and sometimes several. In addition to my other Bible reading, I attempt to read the book of Psalms at least once every three months. It may sound like a lot but it’s really not.
I do this because The Psalms cover the gamut of life experiences. When I read them, I find wisdom for Christian living, prayers of praise and thanksgiving, prayers for forgiveness, prayers for celebration, encouragement, rebuke, edification, and more! Most importantly reading the Psalms raises my mind from myself. It takes my focus from other problems or even praises to consider the grandeur of God, the glory of his grace in Christ and the future blessings of life with him. The Psalms will also assist you to wait on the LORD.
I realize that I have previously written a post regarding waiting. You can check it out in the archives: 2/17/15. This post complements it, but has a different emphasis. I wrote it for myself but I have invited you to read along.
I included the Scripture references in the direct quotes so that they can be authenticated by you, if you wish.