I've heard a lot of people say (and you probably have too), "I'm waiting on the Lord." They quote Scriptures such as Isaiah 40:31a, "Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength," or Psalm 27:14 (NKJV), "Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!"
But let's be sure we understand what "waiting on the Lord" means—and what it doesn't.
First, waiting on the Lord doesn't mean sitting on the couch watching TV and eating candy while you wait for God to show up and speak to you in an audible voice (no matter how much you wish He would). It doesn't mean just going about your business, passively wondering if or when God will send the answer. Far from it!
Yes, many times there is a waiting period between your prayer and your answer. We all like it when we see results immediately, but maybe you've noticed that most of the time things don't happen as fast as we want them to. We are the children of a "have it now" society. We have microwaves and drive-through windows and instant information in the palm of our hands via search engines. We want everything now!
But sometimes we must wait. And we need to know how to stay in faith during waiting mode. I like the way one minister puts it: We need to know what to do between "Amen" and "There it is!"
Be Expectant and Be Busy
Waiting on the Lord isn't passive, it's very active. The Merriam-Webster dictionary offers several definitions of the word "wait," including "to stay in place in expectation of" and "to remain stationary in readiness." It also says "to look forward expectantly" and "to be ready and available." That's not somebody just sitting around, is it?
No, waiting on the Lord means you're expectantly looking forward to your answer. The best way to do that is to actively speak words of faith that agree with the Bible. Continually say that God is working on your situation. Don't say something that's opposite of what you've prayed for. Be hopeful, believing the answer is just around the corner, due to arrive any minute.
This waiting isn't lazy and doesn't put everything on hold. I like something the famous painter Leonardo da Vinci once said: "Iron rusts from disuse, stagnant water loses its purity and in cold weather becomes frozen; even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind." Don't sit around waiting for God to do something. Let Him find you busy!
So, the kind of waiting the Bible is talking about is an active waiting. It has you waking up every morning expecting to find the answer. It's like when a woman is pregnant. We say she is "expecting" a baby. Everyone can see that the promise of a baby is inside her. Now, we can't see the baby itself yet, but we know it's there.
And what does this "expectant" mother spend her days doing while she's waiting? She plans for her baby's arrival. She collects baby clothes and diapers and starts getting the nursery ready. Why? She's expecting a baby to arrive! She knows the promise will be fulfilled—it's just a matter of time. She is expectant and she'll wait as long as it takes.
This word wait also has another active connotation. Strong's Exhaustive Concordance renders one definition as "wait (for, on, upon)." It is the Hebrew word gavah, which is used in Psalm 27:14: "Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!"
Think of a server who "waits" on tables at a restaurant. There's nothing relaxing about being a waiter or waitress. If you've ever been one, you know it's hard work that requires all your attention and energy. There is a lot of serving going on.
So the act of waiting on the Lord isn't spent sitting around, passively hoping that something will happen sometime soon. No, it's eagerly awaiting God's answer. You're actively serving, trusting and speaking words that agree with His Word. Waiting mode is a crucial time of faith, so be sure you keep saying what God says. Your words are more important than ever while you're between "Amen" and "There it is!"
Take Action: If you're in a time of waiting, what can you do to stay busy? Put your hand to something and work for the Lord with all your might, waking up each day with expectation, actively looking forward to your answer!
This is an excerpt from Karen's book How to Make the Right Decision Every Time: 10 Keys For Finding God's Direction; you can read the first part be clicking here.
Karen Jensen Salisbury has been in ministry over 30 years. Formerly a lead pastor, then an instructor at Rhema Bible College, she is currently an itinerant minister and author of several books. Connect with her on her website, karenjensen.org, on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
This article originally appeared at karenjensen.org.
For more about waiting on the Lord, listen to the podcast with Dr. Gina Prince, included with this article.
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