Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. (Ps. 27:14)
Passages like this always mystify me: “How is waiting on the Lord a sign of strength?”
So often I feel weak when I wait and I often chastise myself for waiting in the wrong line, waiting too long on hold, waiting for news…waiting. It really stinks to have to wait, especially when it is for something I don’t want to know, or do, see or hear!
Then there is the good kind of waiting that fills me with anticipation. Times like this are when I am waiting for the bride to come down the aisle, a family member to arrive on the airplane, dinner to come out of the oven or for anticipated good news. Waiting can be an exciting thing, filled with anticipation.
At other times there is the agony of hesitation before making a decision. The more significant the consequences, the more anxious we tend to become. Especially when we are empowered to make choices that will speed the decision along we find that words like prudence and discernment rule when we would much rather move by impulse and follow our instincts.
We respect those who can make quick decisions when their instincts seem to lead to good outcomes. When others make quick decisions and the consequences are negative we conclude that they are rash or hasty. Sometimes the reality is that it is dependent upon the luck of the draw or one’s ability to quickly assess the probabilities for success.
Perhaps the emphasis in this passage is not so much on the first part: waiting. I think the most important point is the “on the Lord” part. We will wait, whether or not we appeal to the Lord for the wisdom to make the best possible choices. Waiting is something every sentient being will do. It is the waiting upon the Lord part that makes this insight leap off of the page.
I think I’ve decided that it takes great resolve and internal fortitude to resist the temptation to take the reigns to do it my way by myself and, rather, to choose to wait…on…the…Lord. I have found that it really does take strength and courage to wait. But, for the believer, even this strength and courage is not from within; it is a gift from God built upon years of practice.
A great paradox of life: “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Cor. 12:9-10).
What an incredible feedback loop! He gives me the strength and courage to wait on Him to make the way clear so that I can trust His faithfulness so that I can become stronger and more courageous to wait on Him….
Wow! What an adventure!