I strongly dislike waiting. Ours is a quick-service society. We want what we want and we want it now. Instant credit. Overnight delivery. Car insurance in 15 minutes or less. Jimmy John’s “freakishly fast” delivery. Computers that calculate complex equations in the blink of an eye.
I find it irritating when I arrive at the doctor’s office 15 minutes early in order to fill out paperwork, and then do not get in to see the doctor until 45 minutes after my scheduled appointment time. This is, without a doubt, a place where time stands still. It is the same if you ever need to speak with an attorney. Waiting for the eye exam and photo at the DMV, is grueling and painful. Sitting, waiting, despising the tick of the clock on the wall. Sighing. Burning the battery in your smart phone. Waiting… always waiting.
It is no wonder then that reading verses telling us to “wait on the Lord” are somewhat unsatisfying.
Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired They will walk and not become weary. – Isaiah 40:31
So, what is this waiting we are being asked to do? It has nothing to do with sitting in the doctor’s waiting room playing Candy Crush Saga to pass the time. There is no twiddling of the thumbs, no leanning back with a heavy sigh. This wait is “qawvaw,” and it is an eager expectation. It is the wide-eyed, “Wait for it… wait for it…” and then something very exciting happens! It is looking forward to something with hope and anticipation.
The same term is used in Psalm 37:9:
For evildoers will be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord will inherit the land.
Again in 37:34:
Wait for the Lord and keep his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land.
Sometimes the term is used of binding things together, such as the strands of a cord. Even more intriguing is the fact this term is the same one used to describe God “gathering” the waters so that dry land would appear on day three of creation.
So, the follower after Christ is not just hanging out waiting for Jesus to return. We look for that return, eagerly, excitedly. We are alert and watchful with our lamps full of oil and our wicks trimmed. We are not bored, but busy. We are not lazy, but looking.
I wait for the LORD, my soul does wait,
And in His word do I hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
More than the watchmen for the morning;
Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning.
That for which we wait (look toward with eager expectancy) is certain. Just as certain as the passage of time brings the morning sunrise to the watchman, our redemption is sure. Our Lord and King is coming. Come Lord Jesus. Come quickly. Come.
Victoriously in Christ!