“They that wait”

(Isaiah 40:31)

Too often in our culture, we are pressed to get it done — whatever “it” is! Patience, or “longsuffering” (an old King James term indicating a sense of endurance), is rare with us. Our attention spans are short, and we struggle to stick with it when there are frustrations. In fact, if it doesn’t go our way we may just quit or find someone else who will get it done for us.

The text above is part of an often quoted, or posted in social media, verse that encourages those that are struggling with life’s trials that God will get you through it — whatever “it” is. The problem with this thinking is it leaves the true meaning of the verse out. The verse’s expectation is that we “wait” on God. But even knowing this we may miss the major point. Waiting, for us today, is the time we find ourselves standing at the bus stop, or in line at a store: That is the real “waiting,” and it is not typically with patience!

But the word used here in the Bible, this type of “waiting,” has a deeper meaning to it. It lends toward two thoughts: desire and expectation. These two thoughts need to be considered independently. Desire, in that, our hearts are looking more than our eyes, for what we are waiting for. And, expectation, in that we can sincerely have a hope for something that we may not realize in the immediate, yet the expectation is not changed; it will happen.

We are coming once again to the beginning of the year. It can be a difficult time. We look back at the previous year and wonder why things didn’t turn out the way we hoped, and then try to plan for a coming year with no expectation that it will be any better. This review process is incredibly valuable and necessary. It can be a time when we try to personally pull ourselves up by the bootstraps, or, a time when we refocus our attention to where it really belongs.

It is reasonable, and even expected, that we make plans for our future. But, the only way for us to have any confidence in the outcome will be in where our attention lies. Two favorite verses are key, for me, in dealing with these thoughts: Colossians 3:2 (KJV) Set your affection on things above; and, Matthew 6:33 (KJV) But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness.

It’s in our attention to what really matters that we can deal with the frustrations and disappointments of life.

The image of us “waiting” becomes crucial. Think with me, if you will, of the child standing next to its father, looking up into his eyes, wondering, thinking, expecting. That child has ultimate trust in daddy’s ability to care for them. They know that whatever he does it will be for their best interest.

The year ahead has doubts and fears. Sometimes we fail to see the purpose in all our planning and we wonder what’s the point. But, if we would look up, we can stand waiting, with an eager desire and longing expectation for what HE has in store, and then we will realize the strength He gives to overcome the future we don’t trust, and know His great blessing.

Kevin Lewin is pastor of Kearney Fellowship of the Church of God 7th day.

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