I’m doubting. It could be that I mis-titled this section. Is wait a word that is no longer meaningful to our minds? Has it become too old-fashioned? Too counter-culture?
Oh, but wait …
We do have a meaningful new phrase in today’s dialogue:
“Wait for it …”
So perhaps we do still know the meaning of wait?
I don’t think so. After all, even that new phrase has reduced the meaning of wait to “hold on for a few seconds.”
Those who wait on the Lord most often have to wait more than a few seconds.
Are you waiting on the Lord? What does waiting mean to you?
In both the Hebrew and the Greek, several words are all translated into our English wait. They all carry implications of confidence that something will come to pass. Their meaning also implies a “seeing” or “watching” of something. They hold expectation.
And we’re right back to our definition of hope. We live in great expectation. We hope. We wait. Because we know it will come to pass. We can, with our eyes of faith, “see” it.
On second thought, maybe that phrase “Wait for it…” is a good mantra for children of God. Because it tells you: Yes, you can depend on this. The fulfillment of His promise is definitely coming.
We have wonderful and comforting promises from God for those who wait.
But it is at that point of waiting that we often falter.
I’ve chosen the Psalm prayer this week because it’s one I need. I often want to complain to God: My hope is slipping away. I’m worn out by waiting, and I’m just holding on by my fingernails. Why does this go on so long? Why don’t You do something now?
And then the enemy, with glee, I imagine, slips in and starts scattering doubt through my thoughts.
So how do we hang in there? How do we hold on to our hope? How do we pray the last half of that prayer that declares, in spite of everything, that we still believe the promises and wait in great expectation?
Willpower will not keep us in the race. Willpower is too easily convinced to quit. We cannot hold onto our hope if it all depends on us.
The only thing that keeps us hanging in there is hanging onto the Vine.
Patience (and waiting) is one of the fruits of Christ’s Spirit living in us—the Vine’s life flowing into the branch. He gives us the power to wait. When we hold onto the Vine, He holds us.
David knew the importance of staying connected to the one who gives life. He wrote Psalm 37, chock full of promises for God’s people. But I think this line holds a key to all those promises:
Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act. (Psalm 37:7)
There’s our answer—in the presence of the Lord. We simply must stay in His presence, otherwise, we find it impossible to wait.
When my hope is slipping, when I start doubting, it’s because I’ve spent too little time in His presence.
Oh, I know, God is always present with me. Scripture assures us of that. But I am not always present with Him! I go wandering off, too often and too far.
Again, David gives us a good model. In Psalm 25:5 he writes:
All day long I put my hope in you.
That line creates a picture for me of someone who is consciously, consistently, and repeatedly handing his hope over to God.
Here, Lord, I am placing my hopes and expectations on You and you alone.
Not just once, but continually, all day long.
I think this would be a good practice for us to follow: Remaining in the Vine, drawing our life and hope from Him, continually going back to Him and affirming that we place all our hope on Him.
I do get worn out with waiting … but I’m going to continually, hour by hour, again and again, put my hope in Him.
It’s the only way I can truly, expectantly wait.
I am worn out waiting for your rescue,
but I have put my hope in your word.
© Elaine Starner 2015 Photo credits: Thanks to Claire Pridgeon, Paul Stutzman, Lana Turner, and Mary Jane Smith for sharing photography I’ve used on this site. (Click on each name to see more.)