Worth the Wait
Did you catch the solar eclipse yesterday? I had a lot of fun viewing it with my sweet neighbor and her grandsons.
All the talk and expectation leading up to this eclipse got me to thinking about waiting for things, and even more so, about waiting upon God. I’m so glad it did, as I learned just a little more about what it means to “wait” on the Lord in the context of one of my favorite verses—Isaiah 40:31.
Isaiah 40:31 …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. (ESV)
Waiting. Now that’s an activity we’re not too fond of. I mean, I’m thrilled to wait for things like getting more crow’s feet, paying higher taxes, and weeding our flowerbed. But “wait” for great things? I want them now.
And wait for God? Why would God make us wait for Him?
When I was a kid, at times I would be mean and do things intentionally slowly, just to get on my brother’s nerves and make him have to wait for me.
These days, my husband does more waiting on me than my brother ever did. Not because I’m trying to be slow. Now I just am. 😉
But God is neither mean nor slow. (Except slow to anger, but that’s another post for another day.) So why would He ask us to wait on Him?
Maybe there’s a different kind of “waiting”.
In this week’s video, I mention five Hebrew words that are translated in our English Bibles as “to wait”. Here they are:
“chakah” = to earnestly expect something
“dumiyyah” = to wait silently
“damam” = to stand still
“tsaba” = to serve like a waiter
“qavah” = to twist or to weave, or to gather together
Before this week, if I were to guess which form of “waiting” was the one to describe the “waiting on the Lord” found in Isaiah 40:31, my very last guess would’ve been “qavah”, meaning “to twist or to weave, or to gather together.”
But that’s what it is. It means coming together in oneness—to be bound together like strands of a rope. It gives us the picture of the different strands of a rope twisting and gathering together to provide way more strength than a single strand trying to survive on its own. It leads us to imagine a vine that wraps itself around that which is near.
So how do we actually do this kind of waiting?
I’m sure there are many ways to “qavah” or “wait upon” the Lord. Here are some to get started:
#1. Be grateful for what it’s not.
I’m glad He did not use the “chakah” kind of waiting here that may lead us to approach God only to expect Him to do certain things for us.
I’m grateful this verse is not the “tsaba” kind of waiting that would be all about coming to God just to serve Him. Oh yes, of course, it’s our joy to serve Him, but only after we’ve first been “gathered up” to Him.
I read a thought-provoking quote this week by Vance Havner, a popular revivalist of the 20th century: “The devil will let a preacher prepare a sermon if it will keep him from preparing himself.”
Waiting on the Lord is first about connecting to Him and letting who He is weave into you. It’s sitting at Jesus’ feet like Mary, instead of being too busy to connect with His heart like Martha.
I’m super grateful that God the Father communicated through Isaiah even before He sent Jesus that He wants to be “gathered together” in unity with us.
#2 Just show up and let HIM do the weaving.
The exchange went something like this:
Dan Rather, CBS anchor, once asked Mother Teresa what she said during her prayers. She answered, “I listen.” So Dan turned the question and asked, “Well then, what does God say?” Mother Teresa smiled with confidence and answered, “He listens.” For an instant, Dan didn’t know what to say. “And if you don’t understand that,” Mother Teresa added, “I can’t explain it to you.”
I may have been a bit speechless like Dan. I’m not sure I understand it fully either. But I know I need to do way more listening than talking as I wait on God. I need to be more in awe that my Creator has all day to listen to me.
#3 Invite Him to weave some things out of you.
Waiting on Him requires a humble heart of submission. Allow Him to determine what thoughts, actions and motives of yours should remain.
James 4:8 Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. NLT
#4 Remember just how great He is.
The more I remember the things I love about my husband, the more I want to be close to him. The more I remember the heart and miraculous deeds our our great God, the more I want to be close to Him.
I love the verses that precede Isaiah 40:31. They shout His greatness. They tell of His matchless strength and tenderness. They make me want to know Him more.
v11 He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.
v21 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
Have you not understood since the earth was founded?
v22 He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
and its people are like grasshoppers.
He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,
and spreads them out like a tent to live in.
v26 Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens:
Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one
and calls forth each of them by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,
not one of them is missing.
#5 Give Him your time.
Just like the kind of waiting we don’t like takes time, this beautiful, weaving kind of waiting takes time. Yesterday, I managed to rearrange my schedule to not miss out on seeing just one small part of our Creator’s handiwork. I even Googled “Total Solar Eclipse” and read a bunch ahead of time to better understand what I was “waiting on.”
Gracious Creator, help me to be way more willing to rearrange my schedule to see the daily miracle of You wanting to be close to me, and help me to read Your Word to better understand the One I’m waiting on.