“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.” Isaiah 40:31
Let me start by acknowledging how much I dislike this post. I frequently say that I wish patience was a spiritual gift instead of a fruit of the Spirit so I could say, “I didn’t get that one.” Waiting and patience are not my thing (apart from God’s grace and the surrender of my will).
But let’s start by considering how exhausting it is when we fail to wait upon the Lord. Even if God did nothing to reward our waiting upon Him, we would feel renewed from the absence of worrying, fretting, what if-ing, fear-based planning, and other control-rooted behaviors in our life.
In this case, obedience could truly be its own reward and be a steal of a deal. We would rid ourselves of things that ate away at our life (with no short-term, pleasurable reward like other sins) and get peace in return. That is a trade we should be looking to make all day long.
Yet I think we can take this verse much further. When we wait upon the Lord we are expecting God to be present in the process not just the outcome. Too often we look at the end product of a decision or situation and grade God exclusively upon that. If we like the outcom
e, then God was good, for us, or listening. If we do not like the outcome, then God was unfair, against us, or silent.
When this is the case, then the whole time we are “waiting” (different connotation to the word) we are trying to figure out if God cares. We are feeding the belief system that Scripture might not be true. We know what the Bible says, but life could invalidate it at any moment. This is like living in the crunch-time moment of your favorite sporting event all the time – it’s exhausting.
When we truly wait upon the Lord, we expect God to be active the process of our decision or situation. We recognize that God is constantly shaping our character (and appreciate His kindness in doing so). Our expectation is that each moment of life should draw us to trust Him more and that is the outcome we desire most in every situation.
This gives us the vitalizing sense of God’s presence and care even before we know the outcome. We are now renewed, so that even if the outcome is not what we desire we have the strength and confidence by God’s grace to persevere. When we fail to wait on the Lord we are so depleted by the time we get to the outcome, that if the outcome is bad we despair.
I must confess I should like this post more. I see the truth in it. It makes sense to me. But it calls me to surrender control (which I don’t really have) in order to get peace (which I really want). I think if I can remember this it will make the moments in life that I like least, some of the most precious and valuable to me. That would be a powerful act of God’s redemptive grace in my sinful heart.