Pastor's Wife, Mom, Writer & Imperfect Seeker of Jesus
Worth the Wait--Part 1
September 3, 2015
Sometimes it is just so hard to wait! We live in a society of so much instant gratification and access to immediate information that we have even forgotten HOW to wait.
When our oldest daughter was preschool age and early elementary school age, her response to going out to dinner was, “Is it a buffet?” She didn’t want to wait one minute longer than necessary to eat! When our internet is running slow at home (which unfortunately is most of the time), I get so impatient until I realize that even on its slowest day I can still get answers to my research questions MUCH faster than I did during my high school days when we had to use the old fashioned card catalogs and encyclopedias at the library.
But for me, the hardest waiting by far is waiting on God’s timing. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord.” (Isaiah 55:8 ESV) So it is pretty safe to guess that neither is my timing God’s timing. It makes it even harder when there is this certainty in the soul that the Lord has a particular plan, or message, or purpose just for you, but then you wait, and wait, and WAIT. Ever been there?
Whenever I find myself struggling with a specific aspect in my spiritual walk, I like to completely immerse myself in what God’s Word has to say about that subject. So I jump onto www.biblegateway.com and do a keyword search of every place in the Bible where that subject is referenced. Then I look up each Scripture passage during my daily study time until I’ve finally read them all.
A few years ago the concept of waiting was my biggest battle. I still fight impatience, ask my family, but at this exact time I was REALLY struggling with it. Here’s what I found: The word WAIT (or a derivative of the word wait) is found 142 times in the New American Standard Bible. This version is often considered the most literal English translation from the original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts. So it’s here that I usually begin. But then when I read through the actual verses, I often read them in various other translations to find how the Holy Spirit will speak to me.
And He did not disappoint! Several times I found that the word “wait” was also translated as “hope,” and in a few verses even as the word “trust.” Let me give you probably the most familiar verse that does this:
"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 ESV)
“But those who HOPE in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 NIV)
“But those who TRUST in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 HCSB)
Why different words? Well, we don’t have an exact English word for the Hebrew one originally used here. That word actually means an eager and expectant waiting in anticipation. It hit me then—you can wait with no hope, but to have hope you MUST wait. Otherwise, there is nothing to hope FOR. Hope involves trust. It is pregnant with expectation. It is faith.
Look at just a few of those people in the Bible who waited in hope:
David was anointed by God through Samuel as king somewhere between 10 and 15 years of age, depending on which historian or commentator you read. But he did not assume the actual throne until he was 30 years old. And he did not rule over a united nation of Israel until the age of 37.
Joseph was given the dream of leadership from the Lord at the age of 17, but he did not come to be second in command of Egypt until he was 30. In the meantime he was a slave and a wrongfully convicted prisoner.
Abraham was promised by God to become a great nation at the age of 75, even though he was childless at the time. It wasn’t until he was 100 years old that this promised heir, Isaac, was born.
That’s a combined total of up to 65 years of waiting just for these 3 men!!
Waiting on God’s timing is definitely NOT a new concept for the Lord’s followers. So it stands to reason that I shouldn’t be surprised when I have to wait, but rather, that I should find peace in the HOPE that I have in my Lord and TRUST in His goodness and perfect timing.
There’s a bit more I’d like to share on this subject, but since this post is getting long, I will continue more in the next one. So for now, you’ll just have to…..