Have you ever had the experience of reading a verse for the umpteenth time, knowing that you know what it means, only to have a word or a portion of it, this time, stop you in your tracks as you wonder at its meaning? You thought you knew, but if you were to have to explain it to someone else you’d be hard-pressed to verbalize it? Not surprisingly, that happens to me often and it happened to me again when I read this just a couple of weeks ago:
“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)
“but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;"
I stopped and thought about these words and wondered how waiting for the Lord could renew my strength. I feel like I’ve been waiting for the Lord for a very long time and sometimes I just feel downright weary or even anxious in waiting, not strengthened. When I just can’t make sense of a portion of scripture like this, I stop and ask the Lord what it means. And usually over the next week or two He’ll begin showing me, usually from a few different resources. And this time was no exception.
And this is what I learned: waiting does not mean sitting idly by twiddling my thumbs. It means to wait while focusing on the Lord with eager expectation until He shows you what to do.
I’ve been reading a book called The Gospel According to Job by Mike Mason. To paraphrase his explanation, it is as if we are waiters in a restaurant, waiting patiently for the customer’s order. We don’t tell the customer what he wants, we allow them to place their own order.
God orders the circumstances in the believer’s life. We are to simply wait for the order and then fill it. And when we are moving in obedience and in God’s timing, He will give us strength to accomplish His will.
The trouble I run into is when I take my eyes off of the Lord and order my own circumstances. God will not give me strength if I am running ahead of Him or taking a left turn when I should have turned right. I think when I do that He just stops and stands there until I realize I’ve wandered off without Him, and I either turn around and catch up with Him, or stop and wait with Him until He gives me the green light. Then we will move together and I will have His strength to accomplish His will.
And then, as if to punctuate the words He had spoken to me over those couple of weeks about waiting, He reminded me, again through my Streams in the Desert devotion, and again through one of my favorite blogs, More Than Coping, that He told me months ago to wait quietly. In fact, when I stopped in and saw that the heading of the blog was Wait Quietly, I’m pretty sure the Lord and I smiled together as I thought, “Oh yeah, I’m supposed to be waiting quietly.” I can have a very short attention span. In fact, I think I have a little spiritual ADD.
And you know what was even funnier (not funny, ha ha, but funny, ironic)? The very next morning after reading this Streams in the Desert devotion - which was about Abraham obtaining God’s promises because he waited patiently on the Lord - it was Sunday morning and the teaching at church was in Romans 4, which talked about the fact that Abraham believed God and that belief was counted as righteousness, and Abraham received God’s promises because of it.
While you’re waiting, never forget that God’s timing is masterfully crafted.