The Scriptures, particularly the Psalms, are full of the command for God’s people to wait on the Lord. I was recently asked what I thought this statement meant and here are some of my thoughts on what it means to wait on, or for the Lord.
Waiting for His Promises
Waiting on the Lord primarily means waiting for the fulfillment of the Lord’s promises in this life and in the life to come. So much of the Christian life is waiting for what God has promised he would do in us as believers, and in the world when he returns. Here are a few passages that might help a believer understand what he should be waiting on the Lord for:
- Romans 8:18-30
- I Corinthians 15:50-58
- Philippians 1:6
- Philippians 3:12-4:1
- I Thessalonians 4:13-18 (Word of warning- don’t get caught up in the details of how all of this will happen when Christ returns. The point is not in the details, the point is Jesus will come back victorious and his children will be with him and meet him and we as believers are to be encouraged in that hope we are eagerly waiting for)
- I Thessalonians 5:23
- Hebrews 11:13-16, 39, 12:1-11
- I Peter 1:3-9
- I Peter 1:12-16,19
- I John 3:2-3
- Jude 24
- Revelation 21:1-7
I encourage you to read through these passages and look out for our future hope: God’s final redemption of his children and the finishing of our sanctification; seeing the awesome glory of God; being with Jesus; having these weak sinful bodies that struggle with the curse of sin be made new! I could go on. These are the things we are to wait on the Lord for, and as we keep our eyes fixed on these things, we are strengthened to continue to be faithful – not perfect – but faithfully striving to believe God and follow him. Those who wait on the Lord and his promises will not be disappointed in the end: God is good to them, they will not be put to shame, and the blessings go on and on.
Word of Warning
I think a harmful interpretation of this idea of waiting on the Lord is waiting for God to give us some temporal blessing that he has not promised us this side of heaven. If you wait on God for a spouse, or a career, or physical health or whatever, you may be disappointed and your faith be shaken, not because God did not keep his promise but because you were waiting for God to keep a promise he never made.
While I do think we are to trust God to bring into our lives whatever he has ordained for us whether that be marriage or singleness, health or sickness, riches or poverty etc. waiting on the Lord in Scripture has much more to do with taking strength and comfort in what we know of his character and what we know of his specific promises to us.
A Bit of “Practical” Advice
If you find yourself in a place of singleness desiring marriage, or a place of sickness desiring health, or a place of poverty desiring financial stability, (insert your situation here _________), for you, waiting on the Lord would look like actively using the resources he has given you to pursue those good things, all the while keeping your hope and heart, NOT fixed on your pursuits, but on God’s character and promises. Since God is good and sovereign, whatever the outcome of your pursuits whether failure or success you can know that it is God’s good doing and remain peaceful and content knowing that “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” and “many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” (Prov. 16:9, 19:21)