For some reason, I have always sought to better understand the phrase “waiting on the Lord.” I felt that it couldn’t just mean sitting and waiting on Him to act since the waiting results in renewed strength and while waiting we need to have courage.
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isa. 40:31)
“Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.” (Psa. 27:14)
As I reflected, I gained the following revelation of what waiting on the Lord entails.
The word ‘wait’ is the root of the words ‘waiter’ and ‘waitress’ and so I began to think of the relationship that exists between the one who is waiting and the one who is being waited upon. In essence, when we wait upon someone we are in fact serving them. So, let’s look more closely at the waiter-customer interplay and gain some valuable insights of what it means to ‘wait’ on the Lord.
- To wait does not mean sitting doing nothing while you wait. The waiter actually hovers over the customer, waiting with expectation for the customer’s order. So, our attitude while waiting is one of expectation, hope, and faith that we are going to receive knowledge of how and what the Lord requires us to serve to satisfy His pleasure.
- The customer being served is in control. The waiter is submitted to the needs of the customer and is willing to provide what is requested by the customer. The waiter knows the customer will not require what cannot be delivered as there is a menu of what is available. Therefore, as we wait, we do not have to be afraid that the Lord will require more than we can deliver because He wrote the menu. In other words, he has determined the requirements to be met and He created us with the ingredients to match the menu. He knows even more than we do about what capabilities we have because He created us.
- The customer places his order based on what he desires and in accordance with his ability to pay. It’s not about our desires. It’s not about following what we want to do. There is a way that seems right to a man but the end thereof is destruction (Prov. 16:25). If we insist that the customer eats what we want them to eat we could lose our job. We have to accept that based on the customer’s past experience and he/she is the best person to make the decision. In addition, the waiter may have limited working experience whereas the customer may have eaten at numerous eating establishments and thereof has more knowledge of what is best. Similarly, we can trust that the Lord knows what is best because He knows the beginning from the end while we do not (Jer. 29:11). In fact, the Lord is the beginning and the end (Rev. 1:18; 21:6; 22:13). Hence, we do not have to fret about what the Lord will order us to do. He has put plans in place and it is in our best interest to follow Him since He knows the route and has the map for the journey. Not only that, He owns the cattle upon a thousand hills (Psa. 50:10) and He owns the earth and everything in it (1 Cor. 10:26) so we can be sure that He will be able to provide the resources to cover any instructions/orders He places for us to deliver. Hallelujah!!
- The customer will place his order in accordance with his timing. Good waiters allow the customer the time he/she requires to decide on what is to be ordered. The timing of the order is in the hands of the customer. He knows if he needs a rush order or whether he wants to relax and enjoy the ambience before placing his order. If the waiter tries to dictate his timing to the customer the service would not be deemed to have been in accordance with the customer’s preference. While the waiter is waiting for the order he must therefore do so patiently or alternatively be ready at a moment’s notice to provide the required service. The Lord’s timing is perfect and we must not seek to rush the Lord or feel that our timing is what counts. The timing is all in keeping with the Lord knowing the beginning from the end and also knowing when we are ready to run with the order. A waiter who serves one order can have minimal skill whereas a waiter who has to take an order for a party of 20 or 30 must have the requisite skills. We, therefore, need to have sufficient capacity before the Lord will issue the instructions because He wants us to succeed.
“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:” (1 Pet. 5:6)
“For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: “The daughter of Babylon is like a threshing floor when it is time to thresh her; Yet a little while and the time of her harvest will come.” (Jer. 51:33)
“For Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.” (Gen. 21:2)
“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:” (Eccl. 3:1)
“For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry.” (Hab. 2:3)
- The waiter must have knowledge of the menu to properly serve the customer. It is this knowledge that many times makes the difference in the customer’s evaluation of the service received. The waiter must spend time studying the menu to serve with excellence. Also, if the waiter is dealing with a repeat customer, the customer will see it as a sign of excellence if the waiter has taken the time and effort to remember the customer’s name and his specific likes and dislikes. Therefore, our waiting on the Lord requires getting to know the Lord, His ways and His expectations more through study of His Word and prayer. In that way, we will be better able to serve Him with excellence.
Therefore, there is an attitude that the servant must have during the waiting period – expectancy; alertness and sensitivity (staying close to the Lord as we wait; listening for His voice); assurance (faith in the Master); building capacity/knowledge/ability to take on greater work (meditate on the Word); assurance of success; humility; desire to obey whatever instruction is coming; patience (the wait is necessary, not a punishment); reverence; reflection; willingness/obedience.
Why is there renewing of our strength as we wait on the Lord? When we wait on the Lord, we are focusing on His will alone and we know that He has provided all the resources we need to accomplish His will. On the other hand, if we are doing things that He has not ordered we are going to become stressed as we will be trying to fulfill orders above our capacity, in the wrong timing, and taking on a load that He did not plan for us. This is why the Lord says we are to take up His burden (His work order) for it is light and His yoke (guidance by the Holy Spirit) which will make the work easy.
“For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matt. 11:30)
So, if you are feeling stressed and burnt out – stop and wait on the Lord for His instructions!! Then you shall have good success (Josh. 1:8).