The Act of Waiting

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I’ve met many people who procrastinate on certain tasks in hopes that someone else will pick up their slack before they have to take action on their own.  People who let the trash can overflow as they wait for someone else to change the bag or let dishes pile up in the sink knowing a roommate will wash them eventually.

I’m not one of those people.  I like getting things done, and I love doing things my way.

Not long ago I came across a verse that confronts my inclination to take matters into my own hands – a tendency that goes far beyond household chores.  Isaiah 64:4 says, “From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him.”

Unlike the surrounding nations’ worthless idols, Israel’s God is mighty and capable.  In chapter 64, Isaiah exhorted his audience to call on God to display His power for the fulfillment of His purposes, and then to wait for Him to do so.

The biblical concept of waiting on the Lord precludes taking life into our own hands while also discouraging passivity.  In fact, waiting on the Lord is a call to action – albeit a highly specific kind of action.  It’s an invitation to actively trust God to be faithful to His promises and true to His character.  It’s an appeal to give greater credence to His Word than to our feelings.  And it’s a reminder to walk in obedience to the truth He’s already revealed.

Rather than futilely attempting to wrestle control from God’s grasp, we can freely abandon the burden of trying to reign over our self-made kingdoms.  Anxiety will then give way to confidence as we anticipate the display of His steadfast love, mercy, and faithfulness day in and day out (Lamentations 3:22-23).

Isaiah reminds us that our shoulders aren’t strong enough, our hands aren’t skilled enough, and our minds aren’t wise enough to take on the weighty responsibility of making “all things work together for good” (Romans 8:28).  Only God can do that.  And when holy expectation keeps us on the edges of our seats, our eyes will be peeled to the remarkable ways He consistently showcases His strength to accomplish His plans.

Waiting on the Lord isn’t the kind of inconsiderate laziness that expects a roommate to clean up our messes.  Waiting on God is an acknowledgment that we need Him because we’re not Him.  We can’t do it ourselves.  We don’t have what it takes.  But we can choose to believe.  And when we do, our experience will undoubtedly confirm Isaiah’s deep conviction: there’s no God like ours who acts for those who wait.

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