Waiting on God is not so difficult a spiritual concept to understand. I have learned that it simply means giving God time to work things out.
On the other hand, it is the “waiting on God to work things out” that proves difficult. The reason it is difficult is because we are not patient. We tend to think that many of our concerns, problems and prayer requests need immediate rectification.
Our failure is not being able to see the total picture as God is able to do. Our discernment is limited to our temporal positioning, as opposed to God who is eternally positioned. He is not limited to time, but is always in the past, is in always in the present, and is always in the future, which puts Him in the power position of knowing all the whys-and-wherefores and ins-and-outs of those things which affects our lives.
To use the high scholarly terms: God is omnipresent as well as omniscient. We are not. This means that we are not privy to all the facts as God is. This means that we are not aware of all the factors important to our case as God is. The best sense to make of it all is to simply give God time to work things out. It all too often costs us too much not to do so.
A Scriptural example of this consideration has to do with King Saul. A Philistine army amassed to attack Israel. As Saul gathered the Israeli forces, the prophet Samuel instructed Saul to wait for the prophet’s arrival before instigating any attack. It was important first for Samuel to be able to lead Israel in a worship service asking for God’s help and blessing against the enemy.
Saul did not give time for things to work out, however. He became antsy because the numbers of his army, which were fearful of the large Philistine contingency, were quickly deteriorating. So, Saul decided to lead the worship service because it seemed as though it was taking Samuel too long to get on the field.
When the prophet finally arrived, Saul tried to excuse his lack of patience. But, Samuel told Saul, “You have done foolishly because you have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which He commanded you. For then, the Lord would have established your kingdom upon Israel forever. But now, your kingdom shall not continue.”
That was a very steep price Saul paid for not waiting patiently on the Lord. By comparison, we all too often forfeit a great deal of advantage when we do not give God time to work things out in our lives.
One of the worship points of a Psalmists focuses on this very issue of waiting patiently on the Lord. Waiting patiently on the Lord was something he had learned personally. He said, “Truly my soul waits patiently upon God.” He could wait patiently because he knew that God was the “rock” on which he could stand for stability and strength while waiting, and that God was the “defense” that would victoriously sustain him while waiting.
And, waiting upon God was something important for him to remind himself to do, for he wrote, “My soul, wait you only upon God, for my expectation is from Him.” In other words, he was expectant that God would work things out after proper and patient waiting.
Because of his confident expectation, he averred, “I SHALL NOT BE MOVED!”
This is not true for so many. If God does not work things out for them within the time frame allotted Him, they are indeed moved. They move themselves from worshipping God. They move themselves from faithfulness to God. They move themselves to move ahead of God by doing things themselves (as did Saul, and we know what it cost him).
It is an important spiritual expectation that God’s people wait patiently on Him. “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint.”
Waiting is rewarding.
The Rev. Ron Branch is pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va.