But those who wait on 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.
Have you ever anticipated something so much you couldn’t stop talking or thinking about it? Or maybe you dreaded some upcoming activity so much you almost made yourself sick? I for one am not known for patience. If I know what is supposed to happen next, I would rather just get right to it and get it done. My reaction to the cliche; “It’s not just about the destination, it’s about the journey…” is to roll my eyes. But all of my impatience means that I sometimes miss some of what God is trying to teach me. And even more importantly, Impatience makes me miss time with God.
A recent comment by Pastor made me think of this verse. I have read it often and can recite it by memory. I know of a song based on the verse. I even have a necktie with the verse on it. I thought that I understood this verse. Patience. Right?
Patience – Enduring or persevering difficulty without complaint or annoyance.
Often I have given my concerns to God and tried to be patient while I waited for His answer. But most of my patience got eaten up by anticipation. I was like the little kid in the back seat of the car repeating, “Are we there yet? Are we there yet?”
I have several Bible study aids and enjoy reading and researching so I decided to look up some more about Isaiah 40. A good place to start when studying is to just read the chapter and verses surrounding the verse you want to know more about. The beginning of Isaiah 40 is about people waiting for God to restore His blessing after a time of punishment. “See,” I said to myself: “patience.”
But then the chapter quickly shifts. No longer is Isaiah talking about the blessing, which are some prophecies of Christ. Isaiah starts talking about how frail mankind is and how amazingly glorious God is. How much God cares for each of us. How God created everything with His own knowledge and power. How we, as limited creatures cannot even understand the depth of God’s knowledge. Our world is likened to a drop in the bucket compared to God. “Just a minute,” I said to myself, “this is more than just patience.”
So I looked in my Hebrew dictionary to find out what exactly “wait” means. I never knew there could be so many uses for one simple word.
Wait – Guard, Anticipate, Patiently Hope, Minister or Serve, Still and Silent, There was even one for marathon length waiting.
But Isaiah 40:31 uses wait with a root word for Together.
I was confused for a second, and then it hit me. Some days after work I grab my two year old, who loves to run around and do something all the time, and just hold him in my lap. I say, “just wait for a minute and sit with me. Stop running around and just be with me for a little bit.” I want him to learn to sit still and be patient, but I also want us to enjoy being together. Most days when I hold him in my lap, my two year old squirms around and I know he is just waiting for me to say that he can go. He is mostly anticipating, with a little dash of patience. But he doesn’t usually want to just sit with me until he has tired of running around.
Now I know what God feels like with me. I was waiting for results and answers, not waiting for God.
When things get crazy. When times are hard. When decisions are agonizingly difficult. God wants us to stop and rest in being with Him. Not in His deliverance. Not in His answer. In HIM. In who He is.
Next time I have to wait, I’m going to pull out Isaiah 40 and read the whole chapter and remember to wait. On God.
After all, If you have a God like Isaiah describes, who has to worry about answers?