When you hear the word “wait,” what comes to mind? Mankind is not fond of waiting, and our current culture has conditioned us with the entitlement of now.
Two-day shipping has become the new standard, and even that is stretching our patience thin. From drive-thru fast-food service to ordering your sugar-free vanilla latte, extra-hot, and picking it up, we continue to develop ways to eliminate waiting.
According to a Timex survey, Americans wait:
- 32 minutes whenever they visit a doctor.
- 28 minutes in security lines whenever they travel.
- 21 minutes for a significant other to get ready to go out.
- 13 hours annually waiting on hold for a customer service agent.
- 38 hours each year waiting in traffic.
- Those living in big cities wait in traffic more than 50 hours annually. [i]
Another study revealed:
- 96 percent of Americans will knowingly consume extremely hot food or drink that burns their mouth; 63 percent do so frequently.
- More than half hang up the phone after being on hold one minute or less.[ii]
Other articles revealed how one of the most common activities while waiting is…complaining. Yet complaining doesn’t eliminate waiting or speed up time but decreases the enjoyment once we get what we were waiting for.
If there is anything sure in life, it’s that waiting is inevitable. Because this is true, we would benefit from developing the discipline of waiting.
In Isaiah 40:27-31, the people are not lamenting but complaining. Lamenting is talking to God, but the people are talking about Him. This reveals the depth of their frustration and brokenness.
They have allowed their circumstances to create an unspoken chasm between them and God.
Isaiah responds to the people by calling out their doubt and accusations directed at God. Before they can receive from God, they have to be reproved.
The phrase “my way” means my journey, path, manner, my course in life. They accuse God of ignoring them in their trouble.
This tends to be a knee-jerk reaction when we are hit with adverse circumstances. When we experience difficulties, our minds can play with our emotions, so we need to be reminded of the nature and character of God.
“Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” Psalm 121:4
God is never too busy that He doesn’t see what you’re going through, and He never ignores you. Your challenges are not the result of God sleeping but of living in a fallen world.
Isaiah makes two critical statements about God’s character in verse 28.
#1 The LORD is the everlasting God. This affirms His eternal nature.
There is nothing in the past, present, or future beyond His awareness.
#2 He reminds them that He is the Creator of the ends of the earth. This demonstrates that He is the one who made everything out of nothing, and our circumstances are not beyond His power.
This would indicate how there is some hidden value to our circumstances. God redeems our pain and painful events to make us stronger. Hardships are inevitable in this life, and God never wastes a moment.
“3 (Not only that,) but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,” Romans 5:3-4
The word endurance means to abide under. Endurance isn’t about escaping suffering/hardships but the ability to stand under it. Suffering produces endurance. Endurance character and character produces hope!
Once Isaiah reminds the people of who God is, he gives hope over how they are feeling. “(He)God gives power to the faint.” God will supply the power needed to endure if we trust Him. This added strength comes as second wind, the ability to press on.
If you feel like:
- You have no gas left in the tank;
- No more effort left to give;
- You have exhausted your ability;
God will increase your might to overcome your strength deficit!
The mention of youth and young men growing weary reminds us that our strength is not enough even at our prime.
But here’s God’s promise to you: They who WAIT for the Lord SHALL renew their strength. The word “renew” means a change for the better. God will exchange your empty tank and give you a full tank.
The key is you must WAIT for the LORD! In Hebrew, the word wait is full of rich applications. It means to trust, to look for, to hope, to expect.
Waiting on the LORD is not idle time! What you do while you are waiting can be the difference-maker.
While you wait:
- Stay in prayer. This will counteract your emotions and fears.
- Connect with God in praise and worship! This will silence your doubt as you establish the supremacy of God above all else!
The discipline of waiting on the LORD is worth the wait. It’s in the waiting process where strength is built, clarity is gained, and character is built!