Some years ago a friend told me that the theme of her life was waiting. She was waiting for the addition to her house to be completed and she was waiting for the birth of her first child. That conversation made me think about waiting as a religious experience.
One of my favorite Bible verses is “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall rise up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not grow weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31.) The Hebrew word translated wait means holding oneself ready for an arrival or occurrence, to be in expectation or hope of something—the kind of waiting my friend and her husband were doing.
They hadn’t seen what was to come, but they had a vision and expectation of something wonderful and were readying themselves outwardly and inwardly for the arrival. They put up with the discomfort, chaos, dirt, and inconvenience much better because of what they were expecting than they would have if they had had no hope and no expectation.
The faithful of Israel got strength for their daily lives because their waiting on God meant they were expecting the promised activity of God on their behalf. I’m sure there were times when they couldn’t see it happening as they fell to defeat and lost things they considered essential—homeland, power, the temple. But their continued belief that God was involved kept them together as a people and gave them a vision to live toward.
All of us encounter hard times—physically, financially, emotionally, relationally, politically. To wait on the Lord is to claim and to be given the strength to get through such times, because it gives us a perspective about what is happening that keeps the hard times from defeating us. All is not meaningless and hopeless. God is at work in our lives and in our world. For Christians, Jesus Christ reveals and is that promise.
When have you encountered hard times, and what has helped you get through them?
What is your experience of waiting and expecting?
Thank You for the promise of Your presence and for Your faithfulness through the generations. Help me remember You in good times and bad, in the Spirit of him who knew peace even on a cross.
For further reflection:
“Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all day long” (Psalm 25:5).
“For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen?” (See Romans 8: 22-25).