Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wait on the Lord

I read a devotional this morning that explored the phrase "wait on the Lord." The main thrust of the devotional was that waiting upon the Lord is not as introspective or contemplative as it sounds. The author urges the reader to action, much as a servant "waits" on their master. Sounds good. It specifically took the phrase out of Psalm 37, so being a good seminary student, I decided to do a word study on wait as it is used in the psalm. I went to Strong's Concordance and looked up the number corresponding with the Hebrew word used in the psalm and cross reference it with other Scriptures that use the same word. Also, you can look it up in the Hebrew lexicon for a definition and examples of other usages of the word. To spare you the exciting details, after doing this, I concluded that when David wrote the words to Psalm 37, he used "wait" to signify just that - sit, be still, and allow God to take action. Even translated into English, David writes, "Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him..." (vs7) and "For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land" (vs9). The very context of the psalm also indicates that the psalmist is struggling with this very issue of being patient as he waits for God to take action. Not that us taking action is a bad thing. Certainly "waiting" on the Lord in terms of service is a must in the Christian life. However, there is something to be said for actually waiting for the Lord to carry out his will. Too often, as the author of the devotional shows, we're uncomfortable with just sitting, listening, and waiting. We're too anxious and we want to fix things ourselves, so we rush to take action. And in the name of serving the Lord, we ignore the need to actually wait. The mere fact that we're told to wait so many times in Scripture is enough to tell me that we're not so good at it... we need the constant reminder.
The other side of the coin from waiting is prayer. In Acts 27, Paul sails aboard a ship that hits a storm. They drop anchor to wait and in that time, Paul commits himself to prayer (vs 29). The sailors tried to take matters into their own hands and lower a life boat to get off the ship. How often we do that and instead of waiting, decide to do things our way. They cut the ropes to the life boat and waited for God's plan. As scary as it must have been to ride out the storm, God had a plan and no one perished. In the midst of the storm, as Paul prayed, God visited him to comfort him and give him instruction. Then, and only then, did he take action.
How does this apply to me where I am now? Ha... I think this applies to me in just about every area of my life. I am quick to rush to the rescue and have answers to everything I can and am not always good about waiting for God to work things out. And a lot of times, when I take the time to pray and ask Him for direction and actually wait for Him to respond, I find that in that time, He changes my perspective and I can see things differently. Here in Haiti, the needs are great. Poverty, corruption, disease... they are all around us. And I cannot fix it. Only He can. In His time. According to His plan. In His own way. There are times when He calls me to jump in and do my part. There are others when He wants me to sit back, wait for Him, and pray. In my marriage, when something bothers Cathi, I want to jump in and fix it, but sometimes, God just wants me to sit back, wait for for Him, and pray. And often times, it is my perspective that needs to be changed. As a father, I want to fix things for my kids, but ... you get the picture.
Drop anchor, wait, and pray.

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