“Wait on the Lord.” A simple phrase that defines much of our experience as we try to live with faith and hope. We believe, and so we wait for the Lord’s faithfulness, for His answers, for His intervention in our lives. We put our hope in Him, so we wait patiently. But if we are honest, there is often significant tension between our desires for God’s help and the results we long for, pray for… sometimes desperately.
To relieve the tension and desperation, we come up with catchy phrases to help us wait on the Lord and not get discouraged. “The Lord’s timing is perfect” or “We may need to wait, but God is never late.” We stress the value of learning patience and perseverance. We tell ourselves and we tell each other that patience and perseverance make us more mature and they strengthen our faith. This is true.
But are we simply trying to manage or lower our expectations of God? Of His love for us? Of His desire or ability to answer our prayers? The Scriptures tell us that God’s ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55). Sometimes that statement can make us feel that God is the only one that matters; we need to relent of our emotions and desires and simply yield to His higher purposes. Yet, reading the whole chapter of Isaiah 55 challenges this perspective. It describes a God who loves us, and gives Himself freely, even paying the price for what we cannot afford.
So what’s the answer? How do we find freedom, joy, peace, and rest while we “wait on the Lord.” The full answer? Well that’s a lifetime’s journey with our Heavenly Father and His Holy Spirit. But one aspect that we can learn to walk in now requires only a small word change. As we “wait on the Lord”, we must also learn to “wait in the Lord.” He is our strength, our rest, our hope, our refuge, and our Father.
The Lord says, When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them (Psalm 91:15). The Lord declares that he will be with us in our trouble as well as rescue us. As we wait on the Lord, we wait in his presence, hope, love, and peace. We can make the mistake of waiting for the Lord to act, when all the while we miss that he has already acted; bringing himself to us, embracing us, and walking with us in our circumstances.
This Sunday, I will further explore the profound gift of the Lord’s presence in our time of need. I even sense that in addition to teaching this truth, the Lord desires to release a wave of his powerful presence to all of us who call on him. I invite you to join us with expectation.