We start young with this thing called “waiting”, yet it seems some of our greatest challenges in life include that very undertaking. Isaiah 40:31 may serve as encouragement in this area or cause us consternation:

“Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles. They will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.”

This passage would be an attention-getter even if it stopped after the “gaining new strength” phrase. Yet it goes on to provide more whichhumanly speakinghave nothing in common with waiting:

Mounting up with wings (like eagles, no less)?

Running and not growing tired?

Walking and not becoming weary?

* * *

Are you waiting for something to come about? Is that wait wearing you down?

We’re not talking about the kind of waiting we get stuck with because the person at the cash register managed to take inefficiency to new level. We mean the stuff sleepless nights are made of. Anxiety. Pain. Depression.

The kind of waiting which festers and causes questions to either burn inside us or perhaps spill out in complaint before God…

The God who could heal our physical problem, but hasn’t.

The God who could answer “Yes!” to that good and noble prayer of ours, yet remains silent.

The God who could not only stop our suffering, but has allowed it to increase.

* * *

Isaiah 40:31 is nestled in the broader context of God’s chosen people finding themselves at the end of their resources—like us, at times. When our skills, talents, or past victories seemingly mock us and we find ourselves incapable of fixing a problem or making it go away.

Isaiah was God’s spokesperson during one of those times in Israel’s history which was rough. The people arrived at the point where they questioned whether God saw or cared about them.

We, too, may find ourselves wondering, “Lord, where are You?” And it’s doubly confusing when our desires and prayers align with God’s stated purposes, only to see things going in what appears to be the opposite direction of what we’d asked Him for.

God knew what was going on in His people’s lives and never ceased loving them—just as He knows what is going on in our lives and loves us today. He responded appropriately to the nation’s shriveling faith before the giants of circumstance, as we see in Isaiah 40:27-28:

Why do you say, O Jacob, and assert, O Israel, ‘My way is hidden from the LORD, and the justice due me escapes the notice of my God?’

 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable.

* * *

We generally ask questions because we lack information. God asks questions of us when He is working to teach us thought processes which are new to us or to realign us with truths of critical import we’ve forgotten.

Why do you say?

Do you not know?

Have you not heard?

* * *

It’s often when we’re broken—bereft of any ability to fix the heartache or mess—that we really listen to God and are ready for deeper trust and intimacy with Him. In loud lament or quiet desperation, our eyes may lift above the circumstances clouding our view to the God who is ready to meet us at our point of need with what we most need: Him!

When God asked, “Why do you say?” make no mistake it was a rebuke, yet one with a good and gracious purpose. God reminds His people that He is the Everlasting God, the Creator of all things. The starry hosts of heaven function under the perfect control and precise workings of God, witnessing to us without a spoken word that we can rest in His abundant wisdom, power, and care for His creation. While our circumstances may change, He never does (Isaiah 40:26; Psalm 19:1-2; Psalm 119:89). What a comfort!

When God asked, “Do you not know?” He was lovingly (but most assuredly) getting after the nation Israel—and by extension, certain of us—for letting go of truths He has declared throughout His Word. Truths we should be treasuring, pondering, and drawing strength from (Numbers 23:19; Lamentations 3:22; Romans 8:28). I find myself in frequent need of this question.

When God asks, “Have you not heard?” it’s a lightning bolt warning that the one being queried has drifted into listening to someone or something other than Him. Through this question, God appears to marvel at how adept we become at plugging our ears against His own glorious testimonies about Himself while giving ear to worthless substitutes (Nehemiah 9:16; Isaiah 42:20; 2 Timothy 4:3-4). What a blessing that God’s love compels the asking of this question!

It’s important for us to know that God does not ask questions such as these to bring us to despair or ruin, but to comfort and correct us in our afflictionsall while moving us into cooperation with His work of replacing our weaknesses with His supernatural strength.

He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might, He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength. They will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary. (Isaiah 40:29-31)

How beautiful, kind, and encouraging!

* * *

tremendous, freeing shift occurs any time we’re willing to go beyond waiting for “something” and choose to waitin trustin Someone: God.

Quoting from the Coffman commentary:

“The word ‘wait’ (Isaiah 40:31) is of unusual interest. Kelley informs us that: The basic word from which ‘wait’ is derived means ‘to wind’ or ‘to twist,’ the word ‘rope’ being a noun that comes from this term. The meaning here is that the believer should let the Lord be his lifeline, his cord of escape.”

How well Isaiah 41:10 reflects this! “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with My victorious right hand.”

In John 10:29 Jesus speaks in reference to those who have put their faith in Him: “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”

God clearly cares about whatever the “something” is we hope to see happen or change, and we should continue to pour out our souls to Him in prayer about our needs and desires. Yet our hope is in the LORD. It’s His unchanging attributes that we can entrust our hearts and lives to.

 * * *

God drove this principle home for me when I observed a row of seven, intelligent babies seated in high chairs. They were awaiting their meal at a non-profit ministry dedicated to providing a safe and loving home for abused or neglected children. With unusual calmness and patience, they watched a noisy throng of kids of all ages—also rescued from unsafe environments—taking their seats at nearby tables with generous portions of appetizing food on their plates.

For two weeks during the noon and evening meals, I observed each of these babies receive his or her own serving in good time, although rarely did theirs arrive first. Never once, however, did a single one fuss or make any type of clamor while waiting for their own food.

Each was keenly aware of what was going on around him or her and possessed a healthy appetite. But none of them waited the least bit like babies!

How could this possibly be? I wondered. God’s Holy Spirit then nudged me:

They know their needs are going to be met.

 * * *

Those calm children weren’t just waiting for their lunch or dinner. They were waiting on those they had come to trust.

 What a life lesson!

This is how you and I are to “wait on the LORD”.

He becomes our focus.

 * * *

He loves us with an unfailing love (Psalm 117:1-2).

He has plans for His followers which are good and perfect (Jeremiah 29:11; I Peter 1:3-4).

His promises for His children are trustworthy and will come to pass (Hebrews 10:23; James 1:12).

He has all the power and strength we need and is willing to bestow it upon us (Mark 10:27; 2 Corinthians 4:7; Acts 1:8).

Who could make up a God like that?!

 * * *

Whatever “thing” it is we’re waiting for which has the potential to rob us of strength or erode faith, it is meant to serve as a conduit for the incomparable wonders of waiting on the One we can trust.

June

June

People Lover. Author. Blogger. Speaker. Forgiven Much & Wild About God. Learn about June's latest book on her website.

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