Waiting and Waiting on the Lord… There’s a difference!

“God’s timing is always perfect – and almost always a lot slower than ours.”

“Wait on the Lord.”

In less pious words, if you prefer: “Hurry up and wait and then wait some more.”

It seems that I have lots of opportunity to gain patience and practice waiting. Once again, I received encouraging words from the Director of the CPE program at Hampton VA Medical Center. He is doing all he can to expedite my application and participation in the program. The starting date for the course has been postponed until late June and he hopes by then to have liaison with each of the necessary aspects of the program. He is keen to pursue this, not only for my sake, but also for the benefit of others in a similar situation. He has promised that if he “cannot make it happen this time around, I’ll be number 1 in the next course.” This is very encouraging – but guess what? Once again I have to wait…

But just in case you haven’t noticed from your own experience, no matter how much practice one has, waiting well is more of a goal than an achievement. In other words, waiting reminds me (again) that I do not and cannot control my circumstances. The fact that I hate to wait makes no difference. I still must wait. Waiting brings me face-to-face with the realization that I am not God and cannot have things my own way. I’m sure this is good because I am not wise enough to have all the answers for my own circumstances not to mention the intricacies of their impact on others. So I’ve learned by now that I am not waiting for the sake of waiting, but that God calls me to wait on him!

Wait on the Lord. Actually, waiting on the Lord is quite a bit different from just waiting. If I’m just waiting, I really don’t know what to expect or why I should wait. But when my heavenly Father tells me to wait on him, I receive it and actually attempt to do it. I suppose one of the benefits of growing older as a Christian is that I’ve seen firsthand the benefit of God’s handiwork in many ways. I’ve seen and partially learned how his Providence (overall control of all things – his governing of all of his creatures and all of their actions) has worked out for good in many circumstances. As the Westminster Shorter Catechism says, God’s Providence is both wise and good.

So it seems that since I know that my all-powerful heavenly Father is working through all circumstances to accomplish his good purpose for me and all of his children, that it should be easier for me to rest in this knowledge and accept it. I should not find it so difficult to live in the light of this wonderful truth. I give praise to the Lord and I think I’m making some progress. Yet my heavenly Father knows I still need a lot of work in this area. He is right. I still hate to wait. My waiting needs continued practice and  God is giving me many opportunities to do just that. My great encouragement is that I am waiting on him and I know that he is worth it. He is worth the wait! He has never let me down or broken a promise. So while I’m learning to wait. I will use these words of Scripture to encourage me to wait on the Lord:

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Psalm 103:1–5, ESV)

The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:8–14, ESV)

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