“Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.”
Joseph, the son of Jacob, has a phenomenal story that is often cited to exemplify the sovereignty of God, his plan and his timing. When he was seventeen years old, Joseph was given two dreams in which God revealed to him that his family – even his parents – would bow down before him (Gen 37). And the implication was so obvious that all eleven of his brothers understood the interpretation and were angry with him! So they sold him into slavery. Though he was successful in his master’s house, the wife of the master accused him of attempting to raper her so he was put in jail. God blessed him both in slavery and in jail such that he was given positions of authority in both places, but the fact remains that he was a slave and in jail. For a total of thirteen years.
David, the son of Jesse, was anointed by Samuel the prophet to become King of Israel. Pretty soon thereafter he killed Goliath, the giant, and found favor with Saul – the reigning king. But after a series of events and David’s success, Saul began to hate David and tried to kill him – literally hunting him for years. He was not appointed as king for fifteen years after he was anointed and promised to be king.
Joshua and Caleb were two Israelites who were chosen to be spies with the scouting team who checked out Canaan when the Israelites had been brought out of Egypt by God. They knew that even though there were mighty people in the land that God could conquer them, but the rest of the tribe did not want to go, so God promised that none of the adults would enter Canaan except Joshua and Caleb, and they roamed in the desert for forty years while everyone else died off.
Abraham was promised to be the father of many nations – and he did not have Isaac until he was one hundred years old, twenty five years after the original promise.
Our culture is built on immediate gratification. Cell phones make us available to everyone all the time. We can check our email and facebook wherever we are. We carry credit cards so that we can buy things that we don’t have the money for. In 2009 Forrester Research said that if a website takes more than 2 seconds to load, most people will click away from it. We want a miracle diet that will make us shed pounds without having to work for it – and will resort to surgery when it doesn’t happen fast enough!
But God says “Wait on the Lord” Ps 27.14, and Jeremiah says “The Lord is good to those who wait on Him, to the person who seeks Him” Lam 3.25. And perhaps the most well known verse about waiting on the Lord is Is 40.31 “Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.”
What exactly does that mean? To wait on the Lord?
I am a dedicated person – who can get tunnel vision at times. I have a passion and a dream. I spent ten years working towards that dream and for four years I was blessed to live it out. Four amazing years, I saw God work in ways I did not know possible. I saw Bible-type miracles. God chose to use this broken vessel as a part of His plan. Then one day my world fell apart. Everything I knew and loved was gone. Everything I had worked for my entire life was taken away, and I was left homeless, alone and unemployed. The grief was real, the despair was deep. I honesty quoted Paul in my spirit, “…that [I] was burdened excessively, beyond [my] strength, so that [I] despaired even of life…”
But God is good, He has a perfect plan, He has perfect timing, and He is working all things out together for my good (Rom 8.28).
I had to start all over. Literally. I had two constants in my life: God and my parents.
Then God provided a job. He provided a place to live, and a community that helped to maintain and encourage my passion, while I am still unable to live out my dream. But the foundation that He is re-laying is that of trust. Sure, before I trusted God. To an extent. But there was a level of naivety to that trust. I hadn’t been in the grips of despair – like Joseph in captivity and prison – like David hiding in caves for his life when even his followers contemplated killing him – like Joshua and Caleb watching everyone that they knew die – or like Abraham having a child with his wife’s slave to try to force God’s hand.
While I believed in His calling on my life, I hadn’t relied on him for the strength to get through the day. If I worked hard enough, if I put my nose to the grind, I could accomplish what needed to be done.
But Scripture implores us to wait on the Lord. And it is only through waiting on Him that we will renew our strength – to mount up with wings like eagles – to run and not grow weary – to walk and not faint. Six months ago, I certainly couldn’t run. Nor could I, on my own strength, walk. But I could look to God. I could, by waiting on the Lord, put one foot in front of the other, and trust Him that He would make the other foot come for the next step. And I did not faint. Maybe some day I will be able to run again. Am I willing to wait thirteen, fifteen, twenty-five or even forty years for the dream and calling on my life? Are you? Are you willing to be obedient today – while you wait, while you seek after Him? To make the most of each opportunity to honor and serve God in the situations where He has you (Col 4.5)? And to wait patiently? Do you trust Him?
“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.”
– Gen 50.20