What Are We Waiting For?

Everywhere I turn, it seems, I encounter someone in wait mode.

Singles waiting for a suitable mate to come along.

Sick folks waiting for a sure cure for their illness.

Estranged couples waiting for a reconciliation of their marriage.

Parents waiting for a wandering prodigal to come home.

Unemployed or underemployed workers waiting for a job.

Students waiting for funding for their education.

Children waiting for favor with their parents.

Missionaries waiting for their support to come in.

And yes, even churches waiting for their buildings to get a CO.

And no, at this writing, we don’t have it yet. Sigh.

I am fond of saying, Waiting is one of God’s favorite four-letter words. It’s true. God makes us wait. A lot. When He does, the temptation remains the same. Like the Jews of old in the Babylonian Captivity we question that our way is hidden from His sight and that our concern is none of His concern (Isa. 40:27).

The prophet had nothing but rebuke for that kind of thinking in the rest of chapter 40. He took them to task for such unbelief in the midst of their wondering if they would ever return to the beloved Promised Land. He did so by reminding them of what they had heard and knew about the character of God.

Everlasting. Creator. Unsearchable.

We may grow faint or weary, but this God never does. Better yet, He dispenses His extraordinary power that hangs the stars in the sky, calls them by name, and sees to their keeping (Isa. 40:26) to the faint and weary and exhausted.

How? By waiting. Not waiting for a change in circumstances. Waiting on Him. Verse 31 is key – But those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength. The Hebrew word for wait comes from a root which means string or cord. The verb form has the idea of twist. The imagery is helpful. To wait on the Lord is to bring our slender strand of strength to Him in prayer, meditation, hope, and worship and have Him wrap His creative, unsearchable, everlasting omnipotence around it so that we are strengthened. To renew means to exchange. We exchange our meager strength for God’s unlimited strength. Matthew Henry, the Puritan commentator explains:

But those that wait on the Lord, who make conscience of their duty to him, and by faith rely upon him and commit themselves to his guidance, shall find that God will not fail them. . . .  They shall have grace sufficient for them: They shall renew their strength as their work is renewed, as there is new occasion; they shall be anointed, and their lamps supplied, with fresh oil. God will be their arm every morning, ch.33:2.
The imagery of this strength and its impact in v. 31 takes the breath away. Mounting up with wings as an eagle. Running and not being weary. Walking and not fainting. From the most spectacular of feats of mounting up to the most mundane of tasks of walking and everything in between, God meets us and give us His strength.
Warren Wiersbe, in his commentary on Isaiah, summed up well the progression from flying to walking:
As we wait before Him, God enables us to soar when there is a crisis, to run when the challenges are many, and to walk faithfully in the day-by-day demands of life. It is much harder to walk in the ordinary pressures of life than to fly like the eagle in a time of crisis. “I can plod,” said William Carey, the father of modern missions. “That is my only genius. I can persevere in any definite pursuit. To this I owe everything.” The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. The greatest heroes of faith are not always those who seem to be soaring; often it is they who are patiently plodding. As we wait on the Lord, He enables us not only to fly higher and run faster, but also to walk longer. Blessed are the plodders, for they eventually arrive at their destination!
So the question stands. What are we waiting for? If it is for a change in circumstances, that may or may not come. If it is for an exchange of strength with the God of the universe, that you can count on.
So wait, wait on the Lord and renew your strength.

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