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.
I expect that most of us think of this verse when we think of waiting on the Lord. It’s one of those verses that you find woven into afghans and printed on inspirational posters, usually with a bald eagle soaring majestically through breathtaking mountain vistas.
Sometimes I think that we sit and wait to soar. We wait for our difficult circumstances to sink away below us as we are lifted effortlessly on bracing winds. We wait for simplicity, ease, and physical comfort. We don’t really wait for God.
Waiting for God is far more than just sitting around hoping our problems will go away, but because we seem to think that’s what it means, we end up sad, angry, and disillusioned when He does not meet our expectations. How many people have turned their backs on God because He didn’t bring them the thing they were waiting for? In our flesh we fail to understand that waiting for healing, waiting for beauty, waiting for resolution, waiting for answers are not the same thing as waiting for God.
One day God promises that His people will experience healing and beauty for ashes. He promises that He will take away our pain and wipe away our tears. But that is a hope for the future. If that is all we are waiting for in this dark world, we will not be able to face the daily difficulties, the traumatic events, the horrors of a sin-cursed world. We need something that will meet our needs in the here and now. Actually, we don’t need something. We need Someone.
We don’t wait for God by hoping for relief and help. We wait for God by waiting for Him to show up. And we do that by putting ourselves in the places where He is to be found. We open His Word and faithfully spend time reading and studying it. We gather with His people whenever we can because Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them. We serve others, recognizing that whatever we do for the least of these we are doing for Christ.
We wait for God by showing up where He is and looking for Him there. And as we do this, even on the days when things are hard, broken, and scary, even on the days when we fear we will never find what we are looking for, God promises that He will renew our strength.
The God who is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth, the God who does not grow weary, whose understanding is unsearchable, gives us strength to deal with the waiting, strength when we do find ourselves soaring like eagles, but also strength to walk on, step by step, day by day, wherever He leads.
We are waiting for more than just relief, more than just answers to impossible questions. We are waiting for the God who made the universe and holds it all in His hands, the God who forsook all that power and glory and became flesh. Show up where He is. Tenaciously seek Him.
He will renew your strength for the flying, the running, the walking, and even for the days when you’re barely crawling. He is worth waiting for.
Lord, help us to stop placing our hope in anything other than You. Help us to believe that You are enough, to show up where You are, and to faithfully seek Your face. You are faithful, and You will strengthen us day by day.
What are you waiting for? How could you wait for God instead?