Unlike most of you impatient sinners, I love to wait. NOT! After 60-plus years, I think I’m making progress - slowly. I mean, really, who enjoys waiting? There are several things I would fix immediately if I was placed in charge of the world.
Driving in the passing lane of an interstate highway when not passing another vehicle would result in a $500 fine for first-time offenses and automatic loss of driver’s license for the second offense. Retaking driver’s education would be required in order to get it back. Actually, I might just make EVERYONE take (or retake) 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.)
Ladies 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, distracting them, would be fired.
It’s easy to see that, given the right opportunity, I could correct many of the problems in the world and eliminate the stress caused by unnecessary waiting. The delays caused by these inconsiderate, dimwitted, thickheaded boneheads aren’t really a big deal to me, by the way. For the most part, I’m a pretty well-adjusted, mild-mannered, cool, calm, collected - and very patient 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 biblical words, much is lost in the translation and cultural differences that exist between nations and eras. Carefully defining three Old Testament words translated as “waiting” will give us much clearer insight. The first is duwmiyah, which means “silently waiting with quiet trust.” The thought 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 extremely important meaning of qavah exists, however: “to bind together by twisting,” as in a braid or a rope. As we spend time with the Lord, an intertwining occurs. Our hearts connect, creating oneness of desires, thoughts and actions. Passions are communicated and shared, creating energy and action.
Another result of braiding 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 not your typical rejuvenation. It is a transfer of strength from God to you, the result of this braiding together. When three strands are braided into a rope, the strength of each strand is synergistically transferred to the others. Likewise, 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 became 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 moved that bridge, didn’t we?”
In our connection with God, guess who the mouse is?
Let’s summarize the meanings of these three words for biblical waiting, combining them into one 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, how do we wait? Do we sit quietly, trying to enter a trance-like state wherein we can more easily connect with the spirit realm? No; we’re not Buddhists or transcendentalists. The meditation process taught in Scripture - which certainly is an aspect of waiting on God - is not an altered state of consciousness. It is quietly musing, thinking and reflecting on God or a passage of Scripture. It also includes speaking Scriptures to yourself.
“Waiting” can be done while sitting, kneeling, walking, or lying down - it isn’t the position of the body, but the posture of the heart. There is nothing complicated about it. A quality “quiet time” is one way of waiting on the Lord. Make the time 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 - fifteen minutes, thirty minutes, an hour - and all of us should occasionally spend longer times with Him. I’ve spent entire weeks alone, waiting on the Lord.
Learn to wait. In this hectic world of microwaves, bullet trains, and air travel, some things still take time. Slow down. If only for a few minutes a day - slow down and find Him. I promise that if you will, you’ll not only live longer...you’ll live better.
Pray with me:
Father, help us to learn the art of peacefully waiting on You with strong, calm, quiet trust. Bind our hearts tenaciously to Yours as we abide in Your presence. 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 we seek: to dwell in Your house all the days of our lives, meditating, gazing, beholding facets of Your beauty...enjoying the pleasure of Your company.
We ask for 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. We know You love the entire world and desire to save all people. We ask for laborers, as You instructed us. Raise up anointed evangelists, ministries, and movements to reap this harvest. Release a great distribution of the gifts of Holy Spirit, bringing powerful and abundant signs and wonders. Release dreams and visions of Messiah. Do all that is necessary to produce this, we pray.
Fill us afresh and anew as we wait on You! In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.
We declare that we are like eagles, mounting up into God’s presence, renewing strength, and soaring effortlessly.
Today’s post was taken from my book The Pleasure of His Company, published by Baker Books.
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James Strong The New Strong’s exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1990), ref. no. 1747.
Ibid, ref no 2242.
Ibid, ref no 6960.