Waiting for just about anything is growing more difficult within the current culture. As technology increases, wait times decrease. After all, time is money. Pulling up to a drive through and having to wait behind a couple cars to get food can arouse impatience and frustration in the hearts of many. If Amazon doesn’t get someone their package in a couple days, this can also be a source of irritation. As a result, many people will opt for driving down to their local store and paying more money for a product rather than waiting around to receive one.
Nowadays, nearly everything can be had from the touch of a screen. People are even able to pull up a satellite picture of almost anywhere in the world on Google Maps rather than needing to visit a location to see what it is like.
In this type of environment, it should not be hard to see that when people want something, they are usually able to get it very quickly. While there are amazing benefits to all the advances, there are also cons that go along with it. Just like anything else in the world, we take the good with the bad. One of the greatest cons behind it all is the loss of delayed gratification. When people are used to getting their desires and wants met instantly, it can rob them of a crucial component to godly character.
Anyone who has ever planted a garden before will know that it takes much work to receive a reward. The gardener must go out and prepare the soil, sow the seed, and care for his crops as they grow. All of this takes a lot of time and effort for a relatively little amount of reward. However, for the gardener, it is more than saving a little bit of cash. In the midst of all the work, there is a desire to work hard. Often the gardener does his work not just because he wants to eat some food in the end but because he knows it’s good for him.
In the Bible, there is a practice that takes much patience. This practice often requires the Christian to be okay with delayed gratification. This practice brought many blessings down on the people of God in due time. Even the Bible declares that God is not on man’s timetable: “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Pet. 3:8). The Christian must learn to wait on God.
But the question will arise, what actually happens when I wait upon God? And why should I do this? Scripture is full of answers to these questions. It on these questions that this article now turns.
- Those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength.
The only One Who never grows weak or weary is God alone. While there are ways that the Christian is like God, there are many more ways that the differences are evident. Man, who is bound by flesh, gets tired and grows hungry. Man gets thirsty and suffers from sickness. Man grows old, and his body wears down. However, with God, none of these things take place.
So it is to this God that the Scriptures declare the Christian is to look for strength. Isaiah tells us that God never faints, nor does He grow weary. He also tells us that it is this God Who will strengthen those who are weary and give power to the faint. However, he follows up this promise with the following words: “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings as eagles; They shall run, and not be weary; And they shall walk, and not faint” (Is. 40:31). For those of who are tired and worn, God cares. He may not renew your strength when you would hope that He would. Nevertheless, wait upon the Lord, and His help will surely come.
- Those who wait upon the Lord will be heard by God.
Prayer is like oxygen for the Christian. Sure, someone who does not pray can still live physically, but he will never live spiritually. If you want to gauge your relationship with God, take a look at your prayer life. Do you like to pray? Do you enjoy spending time with God in prayer? Is that time special to you? If the answers to these questions are no, then that could be a good place to start addressing as you begin praying to God.
God is not afraid of your speaking openly with Him. Tell Him that you don’t enjoy prayer and that it is hard for you. Confess this to the Lord and ask Him to work on your heart. Another important dynamic to prayer that frustrates many Christians and leads to them giving up on prayer is the need to wait upon the Lord. Scripture says, “I waited patiently for the Lord; And he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.” (Ps. 40:1). In this psalm, David tells us that what brought about an answer to his requests was that he waited on God.
Waiting on God and faith go hand in hand. The one who has faith is the one who waits upon the Lord for an answer. If you find that it is hard for you to wait upon the Lord, if you desire to take matters into your own hands, then pray that the Lord would increase your faith. It is those who wait upon God who will be heard by God.
- Those who wait upon the Lord will inherit the earth.
When all is said and done, the earth and the heavens will pass away. They will be baptized by fire, and God will, in the end, bring about new heavens and a new earth (2 Pet. 3:1-13). The new heavens and the new earth will be perfect. It will be a place where righteousness dwells and where the lion will lay down with the lamb. Peace will reign as the Lamb of God sits upon His throne.
However, there is something else that is said to take place at the consummation of God’s creation. All the saints who have ever lived will also reign with Christ. It is hard to determine what all this means based on the small portions of Scriptures that are given, but nevertheless, the Bible makes it clear that the saints will reign with Jesus.
Once again, there is an important element at stake that must be addressed. Scripture says, “For evildoers shall be cut off: But those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth” (Ps. 37:9). When one waits upon the Lord, there is a looking to Christ that is involved. At the heart of faith is a looking to Jesus.
In the Old Testament, there is a story in which the Israelites rebelled against God and Moses. God then sent fiery serpents down to poison and kill the people because of this rebellion. However, God, Who is gracious, made a way for these people to be saved from death. Moses was instructed to construct a large bronze serpent and put it on a pole. If anyone would get bit, he would then look at this pole and would live.
As we get to the New Testament, this story is brought up again by Jesus. When Jesus brings up this story, He uses slightly different words to describe what was taking place. Scripture says, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16-17). Did you catch the difference? In the Old Testament, they were instructed to look; in the New Testament, the word used in place of looking is believing.
What this means for the Christian is that believing in Jesus is looking to Jesus. For those of you who are wondering how you can faithfully wait upon the Lord, the answer is simple. Look to Jesus and don’t take Your eyes off of Him. Wait upon the Lord.
Father, I thank You for the ways that You have increased my faith. I pray that You would continue to help me to look to You and wait upon You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.