Sunday Considerations: Waiting on God

“Those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint!” Isaiah 40:31. It is very easy to misunderstand this word “wait,” and regard it as meaning inactive passivity. There is a vast deal of nerve in the original Hebrew; it signifies to be strong enough to hold out. It expresses a solid endurability such as belongs to a stiff piece of oak, which never bends and never breaks under heavy pressure. The word signifies patience—as opposed to worry and despondency. Waiting, in this oft-quoted text, denotes a habit of mind—a devout habit that loves to call on God, a submissive habit that is ready to receive just what God sees fit to send, an obedient habit that is glad to do just what God commands, a stalwart habit of carrying such loads as duty lays upon our backs. It is a religion of conscience, and not a mere effervescence of pious emotion. In short, it is a grace, just as much as the grace of faith, or love, or humility.

If you and I have this grace, and if we practice it, what may we expect? The first thing is that God will “renew our strength.” For every new occasion, every new trial, every new labor, we shall get new power. If we have failed, or have been foiled, God will put us on our feet again. The spiritually weak will gain strength, and those who were strong before—will wax stronger. Just such a well of spiritual force, is the Lord Jesus Christ. Coming to him in a receptive, suppliant, hungering spirit, he restores our souls, he heals our sickness, he girds up our weak will as with steel, he infuses iron into our blood, he makes our feet like hinds’ feet; we can run without getting weary.

Paul had put himself into just such a connection with the Source of all power, when he exclaimed, “I can do all things through Christ—who strengthens me.” All the men and women of power—are men and women of prayer. They have the gift of the knees. Waiting on the Lord by prayer has the same effect on them that it has on an empty bucket to set it under a rain-spout. They get filled. The time spent in waiting upon God is not wasted time. “I have so much to do,” said Luther, “that I cannot get on with less than two hours a day in praying!” After I have heard Spurgeon pray—I have not been so astonished at some of his discourses. He fed his lamp with oil from the King’s vessels—and his sermons were full of light.

Waiting on God not only gives strength, it gives inspiration. “They shall mount up with wings as eagles.” God means that every soul which waits on him, shall not creep in the muck and the mire, nor crouch in abject slavery to men or devils. When a soul has its inner life hid with Christ, and lives a life of true consecration, it is enabled to take wing, and its “citizenship is in heaven.” He catches inspiration; he gains wide outlooks; he breathes a clear and crystalline atmosphere. He outflies many of the petty vexations and groveling desires that drag a worldling down into the mire. What does the eagle care for all the turmoil, the dust, or even the murky clouds that drift far beneath him—as he bathes his wing in the translucent gold of the upper sky? He flies in company with the sun. Just so, a heaven-bound soul flies in company with God.

You may gain all this strength and reach these altitudes of the Christian life, my friend, if you will wait steadily on God and knit your soul’s affections fast to Jesus Christ. You will find a wonderful lift in your piety. You will be delighted to find what power it has to carry you clear of low, base, groveling desires, and to inspire high ambitions and holy thoughts. It will kindle joy in the darkest hours of affliction, and keep you as serene as the stars which no storm-clouds can ever reach. Try all this for yourself. Quit waiting on your fellow-men’s opinions and rules and ways of living—and try waiting on God. Try the wings of prayer. Set your affections on things above, and insure your heart’s best treasures—by lodging them in heaven.

Keeping thus the Godward side of your life clear and strong—your piety will be all the stronger on its manward side. The celestial springs will brighten and fertilize and refresh the lowly valleys of your every-day existence. Christ will be with you every day in your home, in your business, in your fields, in your shop, in your humblest toils. Christ will sweeten your daily cup. His love will lighten every cross and every care. Don’t expect to get to heaven before your time; wait on the Lord down here.
~ Theodore Culyer, excerpt from Words of Cheer for Christian Pilgrims, 1896.

tagged as , in Christianity,Gospel,Worship

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