As parents, I remember one of the most difficult things to teach our children was to WAIT. Learning how to wait takes discipline and it’s certainly not a virtue that comes naturally to us as human beings. Many times, we would use the waiting process as an opportunity to teach them a lesson. We would try to show them that, often times, the waiting was necessary in order for them to receive the reward that was waiting on the other end.
Chances are, most of us are familiar with Isaiah 40:31. This often-quoted verse proclaims, “Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up on wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” For those that find themselves in a season of waiting, much hope is gained from this verse! We all long for renewed strength and all that comes with it, but it appears that the key to unlocking this verse is that one little word that none of us really enjoy – WAIT! In our lives we go through seasons where, if we don’t take the time and learn how to wait on the Lord, we will never fully experience the strength that God has for us.
I recently read a study on this verse called, “Wait upon the Lord,” by S.P. Wickstrom and have included some of his thoughts within this blog. This study digs deeper into the original Hebrew and finds that the word for “wait” used in this text is the Hebrew word, “qavah.” Nearly every translation of this verse in the Bible uses the figurative meaning of the word qavah, which means to, “wait and look for with eager anticipation.” It’s the kind of waiting a child experiences when they go to bed on Christmas Eve and can’t fall asleep as they wait for what Christmas morning will bring!
Diving even further into the original Hebrew text, most scholars believe the figurative translation of the word qavah was used in this verse because of the connection to the word, “renew” (to pass on/to change). In this passage, the phrase “renew their strength” literally refers to an exchange. Simply put, those that wait on the Lord with eager anticipation will exchange the old for a new source of strength. It’s a giving up of the old for something new that God has in store. A renewed source of strength!
In this passage of Scripture, God was speaking to the Israelites through Isaiah, letting them know it was time to exchange captivity for the freedom of home. The problem? A 700-mile trek from Babylon to Jerusalem stretched out before them. A harsh journey that would take weeks with little protection. It was a process of waiting, but it wasn’t a passive waiting, it was an active waiting.
Waiting on the Lord does not mean that we sit completely idle waiting for Him to make the exchange of old for new vision and strength in our lives. It’s an active waiting. One that requires us to step aside from the status quo and anticipate the new. Drowning out the noises surrounding us as we actively surrender, focus, study, pray, prepare, and wait.
In this fast-paced world, how many times do we really take the time to wait upon the Lord? How many of us even understand what it means? Why do we walk around weary and burned out? Why do we become faint when we experience adversity? Why are we not gaining new strength? Could it be that we are picking up things that God has never intended for us to pick up? Busy running around plugging holes here and there, running ourselves ragged, when God is saying, “My child, just wait on Me.”
Often times we only associate walking in obedience to God with doing. Could it be that there is just as much, or perhaps even greater, obedience and reward in waiting? Just as we teach our children the importance of waiting, perhaps God is saying to His children in this hour, “Wait on Me. Wait on Me with eager anticipation for there is joy in the waiting, an exchange is about to take place, and renewal is coming.”
Blog Entry Submitted by Scott Lepard