Day 10, Chapter 10: The Union
Unlike most of you impatient sinners, I love to wait. NOT! Ceci and my daughters have called me on the carpet for thirty years concerning my impatience. I, in turn, remind them of Scriptures on not being judgmental. Besides, I’m making progress - slowly. I mean, really, who enjoys waiting? There are several things I would fix immediately if I was put in charge of the world.
Driving in the passing lane of a highway when not passing another vehicle would result in a $500 fine for first-time offenses, automatic loss of driver’s license the second time. Retaking driver’s education would be required in order to get it back. Actually, I might just make EVERYONE take (or retake or take for the first time) driver’s education, even without this offense, then they all would know how to use BLINKERS.
Families or friends whose group stretches ALL THE WAY ACROSS THE TERMINAL CORRIDOR in airports, walking slowly, chit-chatting and blocking those of us who have places to go and things to do, would lose all flying privileges. (Unless they took an Airport Walker’s Education class.)
Folks who stand in check-out lines digging for pennies in the bottom of their purses would be charged an additional $100 for the purchase. Cashiers who visit with them while this is happening, making it worse, would be fired.
It’s easy to see that given the right opportunity, I could correct much of the injustice in the world and eliminate the stress caused by unnecessary waiting. These injustices aren’t actually a big deal to me, by the way. For the most part, I’m a pretty well-adjusted, mild-mannered, cool, calm, and collected guy.
Okay, so I don’t like waiting. Most of us don’t. But there is one type of waiting I’ve learned to enjoy: waiting on God. Before you question my honesty, let me point out that I’m not talking about waiting for God to answer my prayers. Like you, I’m not into that. The waiting I enjoy is waiting in His presence.
The biblical concept of waiting on the Lord is understood by few people these days. Like many other biblical words, much is lost in the translation and due to the cultural differences existing between nations and eras. Carefully defining three Old Testament words translated as “waiting” will give us much clearer insight. The first one is duwmiyah, which means “silently waiting with a quiet trust.” The throught conveyed is a strong, calm, quiet trust in the Lord. David said, “My soul waits in silence for God only; from Him is my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken” (Psalm 62:1-2).
The second word, chakah, means “adhere to” or “long for.” The psalmist said, “Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield” (Psalm 33:20). The writer was clinging to the Lord, knowing that He would come through as a help in time of trouble. When David said, “My soul thirsts for God” (Psalm 42:2; 63:1), he was chakah - longing for God’s company.
The third word, qavah, has two important meanings. The first is to “wait for with eager expectation.” Notice the combination of excitement and faith in this definition. Those who qavah for the Lord are doing more than passively waiting; they’re anticipating and expecting. Psalm 27:14 tells us, “Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.”
Another powerful meaning of qavah exists, however: “to bind together by twisting,” as in a braid or a rope. As we spend time with the Lord, a joining of hearts occurs, creating oneness of desires, thinking and actions. Passions are shared, creating energy and action.
Another result of braiding, however, is increased strength. Isaiah said, “Yet those who wait (qavah) for the Lord will renew their strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary” (Isaiah 40:31).
The renewing of strength this verse promises is the result of being braided together with God. When the strands of a rope are braided into one, the strength of each strand is synergistically transferred to the other. When we wait on God, His strength is transferred to us and vice versa. Guess who gets the better deal? It’s like the mouse and elephant who were best friends. They hung out together all the time, the mouse riding on the elephant’s back. One day they crossed a wooden bridge, causing it to bow, creak and sway under their combined weight. The mouse, impressed with their ability to make such an impact, said to the elephant, “We sure shook up that bridge, didn’t we?”
In ours and God’s connection, guess who the mouse is?
Let’s summarize these three meanings of biblical waiting, combining them into one complete definition of waiting on the Lord: Quietly waiting with a strong, calm trust; longing for His presence and eagerly expecting Him, for you know He’ll come; and knowing that as He does, you and He will experience an increased oneness, a braiding together, as your hearts and lives become more entwined.
That’s what I’m talking about! If that doesn’t float your boat, you need a new boat.
Practically speaking, what describes this type of activity? Do we sit quietly, trying to enter a trancelike state wherein we can more easily enter the spirit realm? No, we’re not Buddhists or transcendentalists. The meditation process taught in Scripture - which certainly is a form of waiting on God - is not an altered state of consciousness. It is simply musing on, thinking about, or reflecting on God or a passage of Scripture.
Waiting can be done while sitting, kneeling, walking, lying down, driving - it isn’t the position of the body, but the posture of the heart. It may be done through prayer, worship, or contemplative thinking. There is nothing complicated about it. A quality “quiet time” is a means of waiting on the Lord. Make it enjoyable - sit with a cup of coffee and visit with Him. I’ve sat in front of a fire for hours enjoying the pleasure of His company. For me, it doesn’t get any better than that. Quality, however, is more important than quantity. I’ve received great revelation and insight from Holy Spirit from just a few minutes of visiting with Him.
It is also important to wait with regularity. All of us should have regular quiet times of waiting on the Lord that are shorter, whether they be thirty minutes or an hour, and all of us should occasionally spend longer times with Him.
Learn to wait. In this hectic world of microwaves, bullet trains, and air travel, there are some things that still take time. Slow down. If only for a few minutes a day - slow down and find Him. I promise you that if you will, you’ll live longer...and you’ll live better.
Pray with me:
Help us to become familiar with the art of silently waiting on You with strong, calm, quiet trust. Bind our hearts tenaciously to Yours, as we abide. We want to be one with You in thought and desire, reflecting the glory of Your Son.
We choose to slow down and position our hearts to wait. Echoing the prayer of the psalmist, this one thing will I seek: to dwell in Your house all the days of my life, meditating, gazing, simply beholding every facet of Your beauty...enjoying the pleasure of Your company.
We are also asking for a oneness with Your heart, a braiding together with You. May we think Your thoughts, desire Your desires, love what You love and hate what You hate.
And we lay hold of Your promise that we will run with Your strength. May we move in Your gifts, release Your power and speak Your words.
Fill us afresh and anew as we wait on You! In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.
Today’s post was taken from my book The Pleasure of His Company.
Dutch Sheets, The Pleasure of His Company (Grand Rapids, MI: Bethany House Publishers, 2014), pp 81-88.