How can waiting renew our strength?
"... but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31 (ESV)
Ever feel like God signed you up for an intense "wait training" class?
You pray. You ask. You anticipate God's answer, but like an Internet page taking a long time to load, you must wait.
And wait some more.
I had to wait years before I became pregnant. During that time I attended baby showers while choking back tears.
I had to wait nearly three years for our too-expensive-for-our-new-financial-situation home to sell. During that time, I pinched pennies and lost sleep.
And I'm still waiting on many prayer requests: for a spiritually lost loved one, a family friend in ICU, a plan for my high school son's future. Waiting, waiting, waiting ...
But just as physical weight training builds strength, so does spiritual "wait training." We are promised this in Isaiah 40:31:
"... but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."
How can waiting renew our strength? After all, doesn't waiting seem to sap our strength as we worry and fret and drum our fingers impatiently? It's exhausting playing the "What if?" game in our minds:
What if this doesn't work out?
What if God's answer is "No"?
What if the thing I fear the most actually happens ... what then?
All of this worry-laden waiting drains rather than strengthens. How can we turn this around and actually find ourselves renewed?
I have found that to shift my perspective in the waiting times replenishes my strength. I try not to think of those times of seemingly silence from God as waiting in the sense of sitting and anxiously anticipating a response. But as in waiting like a butler, maid or restaurant server.
Those who "wait on the Lord"—as in serve Him, cater to Him, help Him accomplish His work; those who take His order and bring Him what He wants—they are the ones who renew their strength.
They mount up with wings as eagles.
They walk and do not faint.
As we serve, we become more aware of what the One we are waiting on desires. We become alert, attentive, and in tune with His wishes. We begin to take our eyes off of our problems and fix them on the Lord instead. As we do, we get a glimpse into His heart.
Then, instead of the wait sapping our spiritual strength, it is renewed as we seek to do the Lord's will ... to make Him famous ... to give Him glory. Even in those long, hard times of waiting for an answer, we continue to serve Him.
Will you sign up with me for Wait Training 101?
You'll grow stronger spiritual muscles if you do. But we must commit to this perspective: we won't just "wait on the Lord," we'll wait on Him. Trust me, the tips He leaves are out of this world!
Dear Lord, teach me to shift my perspective during those times of waiting and doubt. May I stop fretting and worrying, and busy myself serving You instead. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
Name a time in your life when you had to wait on God for an answer. Rate yourself from 1 to 10 on how you did in the waiting (10 is patiently worshipping and 1 is freaking out).
Now, think of something you are currently waiting on God for an answer. Write down two or three new actions you will take to "wait" on the Lord.
Memorize either today's key verse, Isaiah 40:31, or one of the power verses below. During the times you are tempted to fuss and fret, quote the verses to yourself.
Psalm 40:1, "I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry." (ESV)
Psalm 100:1-3, "Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture." (ESV)