How to Wait
I’ve been contemplating the definition of trust in multiple areas of my life. What does it look like? How do I recognize it? Is it more than a mere belief in something? It is simply expressed as hope? On many occasions, I have defined trust as outward confidence- a form of boldness. Similar to the “leap of faith” often identified as an obedient response to God’s word. But if that is the definition, then the question ensues, “What does trust look like when you’re asked to be still?”
As I am writing this, I have a powerful longing to leap. To fix, create, plan – anything that allows my mind and hands to work. But the implications of being still, often mean that there’s nothing to leap towards, there’s nothing to tangibly fix or plan – there is only stillness. This has always been my weakness. I’m good at the bold. I’m good at the leaps. I’m not good, however, at the peaceful waters. The times when it’s appropriate to say, “it will work out” or “God has this.” All too often these statements, though true, make me anxious. I want to be working so that, just maybe, I can “control” the outcome.
As I sit on my patio wrestling with my impatience, -and ultimately my selfishness and my desire to be the hero- I am brought back to the book of Isaiah:
“but 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” (Isaiah 40:31)
During this part of Isaiah’s message, God’s people were suffering long captivity in Babylon and their only hope for deliverance was the Lord. To wait on the Lord, then, merely means to trust that His aid will come, that He is working, and that our salvation journey resides in His divine plan – not our own. God’s people had two choices, to turn their hearts towards God, or to turn away.
This does not imply the inactivity I first thought it did. Instead, it demands a manner worthy of the grace we have been given. For the people in Isaiah, before the cross of Christ, this meant leaning into the prophet’s words of warning and assurance, and living within the covenant God promised them until the day of the Messiah. For us, as we have been saved by the free gift of grace by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, it means we lean into the intimate relationship available to us with our Savior. We have been fully sealed with the Spirit, a power that guides, leads, and convicts our soul; a Helper that makes it possible to live our life under the fold of grace and speak vulnerably with our God.
This is not inactivity my friends, this is a raw, strenuous, joy-filled activity.
So, what does trust look like when we’re asked to be still? The same as when we’re asked to take the leap: obedience. The posture of our hearts makes the difference.
Isaiah continues on to say that those who wait will experience a renewed strength – a revival of one’s faith that fuels the fight against sin and a troubled heart by relieving our weary souls and empowering us to persevere. When we remember to seek God in all our emotional and physical battles, He gives us His strength to overcome. When we’re asked to be still; when there is no leap required, it still means we run to Him in prayer. We wrestle and walk alongside God as His sovereign nature softens our hearts, reminds us of His divine plan, and teaches us a new way to trust. This is a trust like God’s people in the old testament: one of utter blindness, but complete faith.
So, sitting here, I will repeat His goodness over my anxious heart.
My life is yours. My life is yours. My life is yours.
Let us settle our minds with the word of God - directing our cry upward instead of inward, speaking truth over doubt, and realigning our hearts under the fold of grace. Let us wait on the Lord to work, provide, and strengthen our fleshly bodies so that we may live for His purpose and glory.