It’s Monday morning and you walk out the door at 6:30am to head across town for an important meeting you have at 7:00am. All is going as expected until you turn the corner to see you left the headlights on all night. Your fears are confirmed as you turn the key in the ignition to no avail.
Two choices emerge in your mind. There is a city bus stop 1/2 mile from your apartment that can get you there. You’d probably be late, but it’s definitely a possibility. Then there is your friend who lives about 5 minutes away but is known for her ability to turn every 5 minute task into half an hour. You call in the favor and she says she just needs to get dressed and will be there shortly.
By now it’s 6:40am. Do you begin the half mile treck to the bus stop or wait for your friend who continues to claim that she will be there soon? Whether on your driveway or at the bus stop, your choice will reveal what you deem as most reliable to fulfill your need of getting to your meeting. We wait on what we believe to be reliable.
There’s a reason no one is standing in line at an empty register at Walmart, hoping for a cashier to magically appear. There’s a reason no one is sitting at a Chick-fil-a drive thru on Sunday afternoon waiting to place their order. No one is coming. Waiting is pointless. We only wait on what we believe to be reliable.
A study in the psalms will confirm this reality as it relates to God. The phrase “wait on God” is always an affirmation of the reliability of God to come through for His people. Not only that, “wait on God” and “hope in God” are often used synonymously.
“Indeed none of those who wait for You will be ashamed. For You are the God of my salvation; for You I wait all the day. Guard my soul and deliver me; do not let me be ashamed, for I take refuge in You. For I wait for You.” Ps 25:3,5,21
“Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. For our heart rejoices in Him, because we trust in His holy name. Let your lovingkindness, O Lord, be upon us, according as we have hoped in (or waited for) You.” Ps 33:20-22
“I waited patiently (or intently) for the Lord and He inclined to me and heard my cry.” Ps 40:1
“My Soul, wait in silence for God only, for my hope is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be shaken.”Ps 62:5
To wait on God is to see Him as the greatest solution to a problem. To wait on God is to affirm that He is reliable. To wait on God is to put your hope in Him above all other things. To wait is to hope. And this is not the unsure “I hope this works” kind of hope. This hope is an affirmation of the certainty and unfailing trust that we have in God.
Do you wait on God? Do you persist in prayer expectantly before an answer comes? Or do you give up waiting on God after a few days? Do you wait on God and look to Him throughout your day for your joy? Or are you waiting on a text, Facebook message, or a certain number of “likes” on your last tweet to bring you a sense of happiness? A lack of waiting on God reveals that you are not convinced that He is reliable in answering prayers or bringing true joy to His children.
The unfortunate reality is, we are all prone to wait on (and hope in) many other things besides God. We habitually wait on a change in circumstances, money, a person, or an opportunity as solutions to our problems. It does not come naturally to wait on God. Rather, waiting on God is a spiritual discipline that is to be cultivated, not something we can expect will happen automatically. I think this is why we find the psalmist in Psalm 42 and 43 talking to himself and commanding his soul to wait for and hope in God. “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God (literally wait for God), for I shall again praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.” (Ps 42:5, 11 and Ps 43:5)
This prayer showcases two important things. First, there is a temptation to wait on something other than God. So, what are you tempted to wait for? What do you believe is a reliable solution to your current circumstances? A boyfriend, a husband, a change in your husband, a best friend, being in the inner circle, a smaller waist, a job, a promotion, a successful ministry, more money, children, more children, nicer things, nicer clothes? “When ________________ then I’ll be happier/better/joyful.” What you put in the blank is likely what you will naturally wait on .
Be aware that it is easy to use Christian lingo to disguise a misplaced hope. In one of my earliest posts I exposed a commonly accepted Christian phrase: “I’m waiting on God to bring me my husband.” Many young Christian girls have been heard to say or think this phrase. The problem with this is that you aren’t waiting for God. The object of your wait is a husband. God is just the channel through which you get the husband. God, who is meant to be the object of our waiting, simply becomes the waiter.
The second thing Psalm 42 and 43 show us is that waiting is active. It is a continuous and active looking to God as the answer to all problems and unfulfilled longings. It is a conscious choice to persist in seeking God, not a subconscious existing between prayer requests. It is a fight to continually refocus the hope of our souls onto God alone. It is the constant reminding of our souls that He is trustworthy, He is reliable, and He will come through. Though waiting on God is crucial when prayers remain unanswered and God seems distant, it is just as necessary in fruitful seasons when we are prone to complacency and self-reliance.
Only through communion with God do we find fullness of joy, abundant life, and help in every circumstance. “In His presence is fullness of joy. And at His righthand are pleasures forevermore.”(Ps 16:11) “Jesus said, ‘I am the way the truth and the life. I came to bring life abundantly.”(John 10:10, 14:6) “Our soul waits for the Lord, He is our help and our shield.” (Ps 33:20) In every circumstance, in every unfulfilled longing, in every problem and pain, may we affirm that our God is reliable by waiting on Him. He is faithful. He is trustworthy. He is as sure as the coming of the dawn. We are His people and we wait on Him alone. Keep the eyes of your soul set upon God. He will not disappoint.
“Let us press on to know the Lord.
His going forth is as certain as the dawn;
And He will come to us like the rain,
Like the spring rain watering the earth.”