Waiting Reveals What You’re Hoping In
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. No one is coming. Waiting is pointless. We wait on what we hope to produce results.
An Example from the Psalms
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, 20–21).
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. 62:5–6).
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. Waiting is hoping. 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.
So 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? Not waiting on God reveals that you don't believe He is reliable.
It Won't Just Happen
We are all prone to wait on (and hope in) many other things besides God. We often wait on a change in circumstances, more 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 we should cultivate. It won't happen automatically. This is why we see the psalmist in Psalm 42 and 43 commanding his soul to wait for 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 yet [again] praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God (Ps. 42:5, 11; Ps. 43:5).
This prayer showcases two important things. First, we are tempted to wait on the wrong things. What do you believe is a reliable solution to your current circumstances? 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 something you naturally wait on.
The second thing Psalm 42 and 43 show us is that waiting is active. It takes work and endurance. Waiting is a continuous and active looking to God as the answer to all problems and unfulfilled longings. Waiting on God is a fight to continually refocus the hope of our souls on to God alone. It takes the constant reminding of our souls that He is trustworthy, He is reliable, and He will come through.
In every circumstance, in every unfulfilled longing, in every problem and pain, let's 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; may 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" (Hos. 6:3).
By Kelly Needham
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