Waiting is not something I do very well. Most of us can remember when we were growing up waiting for that special present on Christmas Day. Maybe you have planned to meet with a friend or co-worker for lunch, only to wait 10 minutes for them to arrive. Of course my favorite example is driving down Carroll Street impatiently waiting for the construction crew to finish so traffic can begin to move again. Errr...
With that in mind, one of my favorite passages is Isaiah 40:31:
“They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.”
The Hebrew word, translated as “wait” in this passage, is “quavah”. It has a totally different meaning than the one we think of when we use the word “wait” in English. In the examples I listed above, I’m merely sitting impatiently and hoping the time will pass by quickly. There is no effort required at all. In Hebrew, “wait” means to bind together, like a cord or rope. Think about this. One small strand of a rope cannot lift very much on its own, but when many strands are bound together, it is able to lift hundreds of pounds. So, the power of the rope is revealed when all the strands are working as one.
Therefore, the meaning of “wait” in this Old Testament passage indicates movement or effort. Our strength comes from fully binding our lives to Jesus Christ, purposely spending time with Him in prayer, and listening to Him speak to us through His Word. This passage goes on to say that as we “wait” on the Lord, our strength will be made new. We will be able to mount up with wings as eagles, soaring over our problems and circumstances, so much so that we will not become weary or discouraged.
When we look at waiting in this way, we see it is an active word, not a passive word. Through actively praying and reading God’s Word, He will provide strength to overcome every circumstance of life.
As the old hymn says:
"Have faith in God when your prayers are unanswered,
Your earnest plea He will never forget;
Wait on the Lord, trust His word and be patient,
Have faith in God. He'll answer yet."