Those of you who have followed my writings for years will know that I have a cardiologist, Dr. James Bradford Diestelhorst, stemming from a pair of life-threatenng events in 2012. If you have an appointment to see Dr. Diestelhorst at 10:30 in the morning, you will see him at 10:30 in the morning. He takes great pride in keeping to his schedule and not making his patients wait to see him.
We don’t like to wait.
Depending on your translation, the Bible will call on us to wait between 100 and 110 times, and usually, we are being asked to wait on Yahweh.
Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.
– Psalm 27:14, NIV-1978
Well, how long do we wait?
As long as it takes.
We run into trouble (pun intended) when we run ahead of God. We entangle ourselves in messes we were never intended to deal with. We “look back” at God and wonder why this is happening, and why he is allowing it. The answer is, we were never intended to be where we are in the first place.
What are we supposed to do, then, while we wait? Just sit here and play Sudoku puzzles?
While waiting for the Lord, we excercise patient, confident trust. We see this repeatedly in scripture, and in the Psalms of David in particular. David prayerfully expresses his trust and expectation that God will rescue him in times of trouble.
While waiting for the Lord, we seek him. We seek him through the Word, and through prayer. We ask for wisdom, guidance, insight.
Look at this Psalm, walking through it concept by concept, and then see how it ends. This is a beautiful illustration of what it means to “wait for the Lord.”
The LORD is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life—
whom shall I dread?
When the wicked came upon me to devour my flesh,
my enemies and foes stumbled and fell.
Though an army encamps around me,
my heart will not fear;
though a war breaks out against me,
I will keep my trust.
One thing I have asked of the LORD;
this is what I desire:
to dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the LORD
and seek Him in His temple.
For in the day of trouble
He will hide me in His shelter;
He will conceal me under the cover of His tent;
He will set me high upon a rock.
Then my head will be held high
above my enemies around me.
At His tabernacle I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make music to the LORD.
Hear, O LORD, my voice when I call;
be merciful and answer me.
My heart said, “Seek His face.”
Your face, O LORD, I will seek.
Hide not Your face from me,
nor turn away Your servant in anger.
You have been my helper;
do not leave me or forsake me,
O God of my salvation.
Though my father and mother forsake me,
the LORDwill receive me.
Teach me Your way, O LORD,
and lead me on a level path,
because of my oppressors.
Do not hand me over to the will of my foes,
for false witnesses rise up against me,
breathing out violence.
Still I am certain to see
the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait patiently for the LORD;
be strong and courageous.
Wait patiently for the LORD!
– Psalm 27, ESV
Verses for further contemplation (all ESV):
Psalm 25:3 Surely none who wait for You will be put to shame; but those who are faithless without cause will be disgraced.
Psalm 25:5 Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation;
Psalm 25:21 May integrity and uprightness preserve me, because I wait for You.
Psalm 33:20 Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield.
Psalm 37:7 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for Him; do not fret when men prosper in their ways, when they carry out wicked schemes.
Psalm 37:34 Wait for the LORD and keep His way, and He will raise you up to inherit the land. When the wicked are cut off, you will see it.
Psalm 52:9 I will praise You forever, because You have done it. I will wait on Your name—for it is good—in the presence of Your saints.
Proverbs 20:22 Do not say, “I will avenge this evil!” Wait on the LORD, and He will save you.
Isaiah 8:17 I will wait for the LORD, who is hiding His face from the house of Jacob. I will put my trust in Him.
Isaiah 40:31 But those who wait upon the LORD will renew their strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.
Isaiah 64:4 From ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides You, who acts on behalf of those who wait for Him.a
Lamentations 3:25 The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him.
Hosea 12:6 But you must return to your God, maintaining love and justice, and always waiting on your God.
Micah 7:7 But as for me, I will look to the LORD ; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me.
Zep 3:8 “Therefore wait for Me,” declares the LORD, “until the day I rise to testify. For My decision is to gather nations, to assemble kingdoms, to pour out upon them My indignation—all My burning anger. For all the earth will be consumed by the fire of My jealousy.”
Philippians 3:20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables Him to subject all things to Himself, will transform our lowly bodies to be like His glorious body.