The Expository Files

Waiting For The Lord

Isaiah 40:30,31

“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).

There is much in the Book of Isaiah that is prophetic in nature. God used Isaiah to speak much concerning the coming of Jesus, which was yet seven centuries in the future. Much of Isaiah is quoted in the New testament showing how these words were fulfilled in Christ. Jesus read from Isaiah in His hometown synagogue and announced the ancient words were being fulfilled during His ministry. The Ethiopian treasurer was reading from Isaiah when Philip began from the Scripture and preached Jesus unto Him.

But note the concept of waiting for the Lord in Isaiah 40:31. This is descriptive of what ought to be the focus and mindset of every Christian.

Patiently Waiting With Endurance
The New Testament often urges Christians to be patient or longsuffering. The idea is to have enduring faith even during difficult times.

A good example of this would be the coming persecution of Christians as well as the destruction of Jerusalem which Jesus warned His disciples about. There would be great loss, and most of His disciples would live to see it all transpire. Jesus encouraged them to endure and promised, "By your endurance you will gain your lives. (Luke 21:19). It is not likely that the life that they would gain was necessarily their physical life here, but rather life everlasting.

We are also told that we need to endure if we are to receive the promises of God; “For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.” (Hebrews 10:36; cf. vss. 37-39). We are also told that it is with endurance that we are to run our race (Hebrews 12:1,2). We are reminded of the patience of Job and the rewards that followed (James 5:7-11). We must live patiently by faith until He comes again. His coming is an ever present possibility!

The patience of a Christian, however, is different from the patience of others: it is not as the world gives, but as the Lord gives. How is it different?

First, it is not "waiting something out," but "waiting for the Lord." We live with a wonderful anticipation of seeing Him and being exalted by Him and sharing His glory (1 John 3:1-3). Neither is the motive of our waiting bound to some standard of earthly success. Its purpose is not earthly success, but to cause us to be faithful and pleasing to God rather than returning to our idols.

Patience is “waiting for the Lord.” By trusting the Lord, putting the future in his hands, expecting and anticipating God's tomorrow and continuing faithful, we continue in our commitment to Christ. And, we grow ever stronger.

Opportunities To Wait For the Lord
When we are denied that which we want or think we need, it is time to “wait for the Lord”.

It is easy to become frustrated when things “don't go our way.” People sometimes allow themselves to become cynical about life and its prospects, but not people with living faith. To turn from the Lord during such times is a mistake. To turn to Him is far better.

We recall how Israel's hardships were multiplied when they complained in the wilderness and rebelled (Deuteronomy 8:2-5). They would ever serve as examples of what not to do when the day does not go quite right (1 Corinthians 10:1-12; Hebrews 3,4).

When we are afflicted and do not understand why, it is time to “wait for the Lord”. It is a fact of life. We may have to go through affliction and we may be perplexed as to why. Job is used as an example of one who did (James 5:11). He puzzled over extreme hardships that came his way. He simply could not come up with anything that even resembled a good reason as to why the things he had faced had occurred.

The Psalmist once wrote of almost falling away as he contemplated that the wicked seemed to be doing so well while he was afflicted (Psalm 73:1-3). He had wondered if his faith had been in vain (vss. 12-14). But he remembered the end result of the wicked and resolved therefore to be faithful (16-18; 25-28).

When we are doing good, it is time to “wait for the Lord”.
There is the patience needed in the evil day, but there is also that which was needed by Elijah on the mountain. “He said, 'I have been very zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.'" (1 Kings 19:10). He had worked hard but had not seen the results he had desired from his good work. We need to persevere in doing good during such times. “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.” (Galatians 6:9-10).

The rewards of “waiting for the Lord” are many, both now and especially in the world to come. “For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” (Galatians 6:8).

Are you waiting for the Lord? There is both strength and peace in this approach to life. That is good for now. But in the end, when the kingdom is delivered up to the Father, that is when our reaping will reach wonderful heights far beyond present expectations. Hardly a day will go by when you will not be called upon in some way to wait for the Lord. But in the final scheme of things, It will have been worth the wait.

“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).

By Jon W. Quinn
From Expository Files 12.6; June 2005