When the bible talks about waiting on the Lord, what exactly is it talking about? Waiting is quieting yourself in stillness with hopeful expectation of the Lord’s leadership and action in your life. It’s ceasing for your own ways to allow the Lord to accomplish His will through your life in His way. Waiting is not idleness nor laziness. It’s not in opposition to work. It is actively choosing to pause, maybe for an extended period of time, in order to allow the Lord to show Himself strong on your behalf.
Waiting and Hoping are synonymous. Consider Psalm 130:5, “I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, And in His word I do hope.” When we wait on the Lord we position ourselves in hopeful expectation of His activity in our lives.
There are multiple components to waiting on the Lord. Here are a few that helped give me clarity as to what waiting on the Lord is really about.
1. Waiting on the Lord is about Breaking Your Soul – The process of waiting is the breaking of the soul. Just as a horse has to be broken from directing it’s own course and running according to it’s own will, so too the Lord breaks us in waiting. In Psalm 32:9 it says, “Don’t be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding…” A horse runs ahead and a mule will not move. They have to trained to follow their master. So too, we have to be trained to follow His leading and the requirement of waiting is a key means the Lord uses to train us.
2. Waiting on the Lord is Fasting Your Strength – Though we may believe we know how to get a thing done, too often we bypass the necessary waiting on the Lord and act in our own strength. Instead of waiting on the Lord to show Himself strong we produce our own results, by our own strength. When we wait, we choose to trade our strength for weakness, which in turn is the pathway to experience the strength of the Lord (2 Cor 12:8-10).
3. Waiting on the Lord is about Trusting the Lord – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not to your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths (Prov 3:5-6).” Ultimately waiting is about trust. If you don’t trust God to lead, direct and deliver, you won’t wait on Him. If you don’t trust Him, you will short circuit the process of His deliverance because you don’t believe He will come through. Trust the Lord and learn to wait.
4. Waiting on the Lord is about Growing Up Spiritually – The smaller a child is, the less capacity they have to wait. A baby simply cannot wait when it’s time to eat, they will cry until they are fed. A small child will be impatient, but they have the capacity to wait. And though a teenager may want immediate satisfaction, they are able to wait long periods of time if necessary. The more we learn to wait the more mature we become. Waiting ultimately causes us to grow up. Jesus is not going to marry a bride who is an infant. He is going to marry a fully mature partner, one with whom He can be equally yoked. Waiting is critical to the maturing process.
5. Waiting on the Lord is about the Produce of Your Life – Waiting is not primarily about making the small decisions in life, though it applies, it’s more about the overall produce of your life. There is a day coming when all our works will be reviewed before the Lord; the produce of our life will be examined as to “what sort it is (1 Cor 3:13).” Without the necessity of waiting, the produce of your life will be much more man-made than it is God-made. We must learn to wait, so that the Lord can produce through us works, that when tested by fire, are shown to be gold, silver, and precious stones, not wood, hay, or stubble.
Do you run ahead and force things to happen or do you wait on the Lord? Are you willing to wait even when it’s awkward, even when it burns your flesh, until He moves for you? The Lord wants a people whose hearts are supple, easy to lead. He is after a people who are so staid on Him that they would much rather wait on Him than produce anything on their own. Oh Lord, teach us to WAIT ON YOU!