Two weeks ago I wrote about being quiet. It has become a bit of a theme for me in the last little while and I feel like I am learning various aspects of what being quiet means.
This verse has been popping up for me repeatedly in the last few days:
Though youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly,
Yet those who wait for the Lord
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.
Isaiah 40:30-31 NASB (emphasis mine)
I think the Lord may be trying to tell me something! As I read this verse this morning the word “wait” was highlighted to me. At the time I was doing a busy mix of reading my bible plan, getting distracted, checking email, going back to a different devotional and eventually coming back to this verse. When I read “wait” I stopped and thought, “What would waiting on the Lord actually look like?” I stopped and focused on the Lord and almost straight away felt His presence.
To be honest, it was a bit unexpected, but it was amazing. For about five minutes I just sat and received. It was just what I needed. I felt much better than I did a moment before and even if I didn’t feel like I was mounting up with wings like eagles, I certainly felt like I was in a better place to face the day.
When we think of strength, we tend to default to physical strength. For me when I read this verse I picture a strong but weary man receiving a power-up. Almost like a spiritual Red Bull that enables him to perform miraculous physical feats. I don’t think there is anything fundamentally wrong with that idea, but I do think that there is more to strength than just physical strength. It could be the strength to be kind to someone when you really just don’t feel like it. It could be the strength to hold your tongue instead of firing off that biting comment.
Most often though, I think it is simply the strength to keep going with your Christian walk, to keep saying no to the world and yes to Jesus. Our walk with the Lord is just that. Our walk. God has a plan for each of us that I think He lays deep in our hearts and part of our walk is to live as He intended, in step with His Son, but also accomplishing the things He has set out for us. What are those things?
A plan in the heart of a man is like deep water,
But a man of understanding draws it out.
I think they are the deep things in our hearts. Those things you long for…wish for…grasp at because they’re like a picture that changes when you try to focus on it. It’s the feeling that you know you were made for something but you’re never quite sure what it is. It’s like that looming idea that never quite forms.
The deep-water plans that God has put in our hearts don’t just magically reveal themselves. They must be drawn out with understanding. This means spending time with God by waiting upon Him.
God will supply the strength we need to walk out our plan whatever it might be. At times, we’ll go forward, inexorably drawn by the deep water current of God’s ultimate plan. It will take time and patience. Inevitably we will make mistakes. Like a leaf on water is blown about by the wind so we will lose track in the hustle and bustle of life, but by waiting on God and drawing out understanding we continually reset our course and follow God.
James speaks of doubting being like a wave of the sea being blown and tossed by the wind (James 1:6), but if we, in faith, stay connected to the deep heart of God we will move forward in understanding and strength.
So what does waiting on the Lord look like?
I don’t claim to have the only answer or even the best answer, but here are some things that work for me:
- Get away somehow. Close the door. Leave the office/house. Be alone.
- Come before the Lord as you are.
- Tell Him the stuff you are dealing with. Tell Him what is stressing you out. Tell Him your frustrations.
- Tell Him the good stuff too. Tell Him how excited you are to see your friend. Tell Him how much you enjoyed the sunrise He made today.
- Whatever it is, just tell Him and just be you.
- This clears your head of all the stuff that will just barge in on your thoughts anyway.
- Connect with Him. Do whatever feels right at the time. Some things I like are:
- Just talking.
- Meditating on a scripture, usually a Psalm, that reflects how I’m feeling. I’ll try and get in touch with what the author was going through and how he was expressing himself to God. I’ll let God’s promises reassure me.
- Relaxing to, or singing along with, or connecting with some worship music. I’ll pick songs with words that I want to be singing to God, or that reflect how I’m feeling.
- Just being quiet and waiting. Having done one/some of the above I’ll just wait and see what God is saying to me in that moment. Often these are the most powerful moments.
Try it out…
Find a quiet spot, or put in some earphones, whichever, and listen to this song. Pay attention to the lyrics. Where do they lead your thinking?
Spend some time afterward just being still. Wait for God to speak to you. Pay attention to your thoughts as this will most likely be how He is speaking to you. What is He saying? Pray. Thank God for this brief moment.
How did that go?
What does waiting on the Lord look like for you?