There are times in life that we wait. We wait for school to get out, we wait for someone to come home, we wait for supper to finish cooking, and we wait at stop lights and in airports and in doctor’s offices. Waiting can be fun if we are waiting for something exciting to happen, like in a line at an amusement park, but most of the time waiting in life is boring and we would rather spend our time doing something much more constructive and enjoyable. What about times when we are waiting for God to move a mountain out of our way or waiting upon the Lord to answer our prayer or help us make a big decision. Are their times that we are to wait for God? I think much of my life has been waiting upon the Lord, certainly in the rebuilding of my life after divorce I sense that I am to wait and I don’t really know why I am waiting. This waiting has brought me to a place of study on the subject of waiting on the Lord. I believe that there are three areas of waiting upon the Lord, waiting for answers to prayer, waiting for justice to take place and waiting for the hope of our salvation to be completed. The Bible speaks about these three areas and so let’s take a look at them.
The first area of waiting is for an answer to our prayers. If you have never had to wait upon the Lord for an answer to one of your prayers then you are either a very young Christian or you don’t ask for many things in your prayers. Waiting is almost a given in our prayers being answered it seems. We pray for others that they be healed and we wait. We pray for our financial situation and we wait. We pray for missionaries to be safe and we wait. We pray for someone to come to Christ or another to have their heart changed for God and we wait. Waiting seems to be a part of answered prayers but we need not be discouraged in our waiting.
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27-13-14, (New International Version or NIV).
David is the author of this Psalm and I believe this verse epitomizes our waiting for God to work good in our lives. We have to remember that God is the author of time and does not work around our time schedule. He sees so much more than we do and will answer our prayers but when the timing is right and not one day before. David reminds us all in this Psalm to be confident that good will happen to us while we are still living but we may have to wait for a while. We learn patience in waiting and we learn who is in control of our situation and life and that person is not us.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6, (NIV).
Solomon wrote in Proverbs, his teaching manual for parenting, well it was his instructions to his sons, that we are to trust the Lord and not our own understanding. I think this is something else we learn while we wait upon the Lord to answer our prayers. We learn to trust the Lord and we learn that God’s understanding is far greater than our own. He has our situation covered and we can trust Him to do what is best for our situation in which we are praying for an answer. Our faith grows as our trust in the Lord grows and so we are growing as Christians and I think this is a fundamental truth as to how God works in our lives.
The second reason we wait upon the Lord is for justice to take place. We are taught to forgive every person of every offense that happens to us and there are many verses to back this statement. Here are a few for you to look up: Ephesians 4:32, Matthew 6:14, Luke 11:4. But there is another side to the forgiveness that we extend to others and that is justice. In the Old Testament and under the Old Covenant if someone hurt or maimed or killed another then their family members could seek revenge. I believe that Christ is the supreme Judge who will judge everything and everyone. Remember that every knee will bow to Jesus Christ (Romans 14:11-12, Philippians 2:9-11) that He takes up the cause for justice for His own.
Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!” Wait for the LORD, and he will avenge you. Proverbs 20:22, (NIV).
Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. Romans 12:19, (NIV).
For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Hebrews 10:30-31, (NIV).
These scriptures from both Old and New Testaments have made it clear that the job of vengeance is the Lord’s job and not our job and so we wait upon the Lord for justice to take place. This is what allows us to let go of our pain and makes us capable of forgiving others. We know that justice will come either in our lifetime or at the final judgement because the unrighteousness we have been victims of will be judged. It is always my prayer that conviction will lead to repentance and then repentance will lead to restoration not to me but to God. Why? Because then I will receive an apology or restitution for whatever the sin that was perpetrated against me. God will deal with the perpetrator and I won’t have to, what a relief!
The third reason I think that we wait upon the Lord is probably the best reason of all! We wait for the hope of our salvation to come to completion. We live our life in anticipation for the hope of Jesus returning which means we are hoping for eternity and our place with Christ Jesus in eternity. We wait for Heaven and that is definitely worth the wait.
I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. Psalm 130:5, (NIV).
In that day they will say, “Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the LORD, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.” Isaiah 25:9, (NIV).
For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay. Habakkuk 2:3, (NIV).
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9, (NIV).
Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door! James 5:7-9, (NIV).
Waiting upon the Lord is important to us because it is during our waiting that we are being perfected. We are brought from darkness into light and our hearts are made ready to see God. This is a process and waiting is part of that process. I think of my parents and how they longed to see Jesus and how they implanted that same longing into my heart. They lived more than eighty years on this earth and when their perfection was completed God took them from this earth. Nothing is more joyous than seeing a life lived for Jesus Christ completed. While I am sad in being here without their love and comfort I am also excited to know that they have made it to completion and I have the hope that one day I will make it to completion as well. At the end of his life Paul says some beautiful words, words of encouragement to all who are older.
For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:6-8, (NIV).
This is what our life as a servant of Christ is all about. We are waiting as we fight the good fight, as we are poured out each day like a drink offering, as we are ready for departure from this world. We have finished the race and we have kept the faith. Oh if we can all say such words when the number of our days are coming to an end and then our hope will be realized, all that we have worked for and struggled through, all that we have hoped for will be that moment when we see our Lord the righteous judge handing us the crown of righteousness what we have all longed for and dreamed about. Waiting for the hope of our salvation is definitely something worthy of waiting.