I think my wife and I have probably learned a few things about waiting in the last 20-plus years. And I'm sure I could learn more (just ask me next time I'm in a hurry in busy traffic). But as I've read my Bible over the years, one thing I know I've learned is that there's a good kind of waiting that God seems to like. It's not the frustrated kind, or the passive kind. It's the hopeful and the prayerful kind. It's the hungry kind that eagerly endures.
I'm coming to grips with the fact that waiting is an inevitable part of a life with God. Jesus taught us that "at all times [we] ought to pray and not lose heart" (Luke 18:1) even though we may need to "cry to Him day and night" (Luke 18:7) for an answer. In Isaiah 64:4, it says that God "acts for those who wait for Him." Though I can find such waiting to be difficult, I believe that if I do it without resentment or offense, persisting in prayer for what I'm waiting for, it can become a beautiful expression of trust that would never bloom so fully if everything in life came quick and easy. Waiting for the Lord teaches me to focus more on God than on the things I'm asking Him for. And waiting for the Lord makes it obvious that He is in charge rather than me.
Isaiah 64:5 then shows me what else I can be doing while I wait. It says that God will "meet him who joyfully works righteousness, those who remember You in Your ways." That means getting on with doing God's work even as I wait for something that feels so show-stoppingly important! Put verses four and five together and it looks like they're saying that as I joyfully get busy doing the many good deeds God has prepared for me to do, I'm expressing a trust that God will do the good deeds that I'm waiting for Him to do for me. My wife Fiona has been amazing at putting this into practice as she has energetically and unflinchingly poured her heart out for the many kids in our church's Children's Ministry, all the while prayerfully waiting for God to do what only He can do to heal her kidneys. She's a wonderful example to me.
And if you can believe it, as I've studied this theme in God's Word, I found a gem of a definition in the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (ed. R. Laird Harris)! Check it out (the italic emphases are mine)... "Wait [qavah]: wait, look for, hope: This root means to wait or to look for with eager anticipation. Waiting with steadfast endurance is a great expression of faith. It means enduring patiently in confident hope that God will decisively act for the salvation of His people. Those who wait in true faith are renewed in strength so that they can continue to serve the Lord while looking for His saving work."
Wow. No wonder those "who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength" and "mount up with wings like eagles" (Isaiah 40:31)! That's the good kind of waiting I want to be doing, no matter how long I need to wait.
© 2010 by Ken Peters