How often do you waste precious time while you wait upon the Lord? Here’s what I’ve learned.
But those who wait on the LordIsaiah 40:31 NKJV
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.
Why Waste Precious Time?
“Wait a minute,” my mom whispered to me as she shifted the black phone handle further from her mouth. “If Mrs. Finch doesn’t finish her call soon, I’ll interrupt and tell her we need the line.”
I rolled my eyes and stared at the dial. The neighbor lady on our party line had been yacking for so long I could have run to my friend’s house and invited her over by now. But no, my mom wanted me to wait until she could call.
Fifty years have passed, and I still don’t like to wait. If I had a penny for all the seconds I’ve waited, I’d be a millionaire. I’ve waited for appointments, deliveries, other people, and to see change. Some waiting brings zings of anticipation—a birth, a season change, a long-awaited vacation. Other waiting looms, hovers, and stretches me to the breaking point. Hospital waiting rooms, waiting for health updates, waiting for God to work change in me.
For a long time, I thought Isaiah 40:31 meant we should literally wait for God to do something. As if while you wait, God will strengthen you for the waiting, give you energy to keep walking or running, and act as our Energizer bunny through the dreary times. I wasted precious time doing nothing while I waited for God to refresh me.
What to Do While You Wait
And then I met the alternate meanings to the word ‘wait.’ Wait can mean to pause, but it can also mean to hope. Oddly enough, it also means to serve. Wait doesn’t default to ‘passive.’
When I feel weary, uncertain, or frustrated by a waiting pattern, I have a choice. I can employ the three meanings of the word to avoid wasting precious time. First, I can pause and acknowledge my emotions. Do I feel discouraged, weary, befuddled, angry, enraged, hopeless, or sad? My feelings don’t have to cripple me or shackle me to inactivity.
Next, I firmly place my hope in God. I need to look forward with expectation. God will make a way (either by changing the situation or by changing me).
Finally, I must ask myself how I can wait upon the Lord. What service does he want me to perform for him? Actively finding ways to serve keeps me from ruminating on my problems and questions.
Pause. Hope. Serve. That’s how I’m learning to wait. What about you?