But they that wait upon the Lord
Shall renew their strength
They shall mount up with wings as eagles
They shall run and not be weary
They shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31
The steady vibration of Nana’s humming was making me sleepy. The old church rocked and moaned with the wails of spirituals sung in a rich harmony- filled with life experience and yearning for a Holy Spirit visitation. I shifted on the hard pew and turned my sleepy gaze in the direction of Pastor. Beads of sweat dotted Pastor’s forehead. He hurriedly wiped them away as though they might dilute the power of his message. His sermon was coming to an end; and he had just a few moments to bring the message home.
“They that wait!” Pastor bellowed to the congregation.
From the back row, Aunt Sister responded “Wait on Him!”
“Shall renew their strength!” the Pastor belted out.
“Yes Sir! Yes Sir!” cried Deacon Wright.
“They shall mount up on wings like eagles!” Pastor encouraged.
“Amen!” “He’s worthy!” the congregation affirmed.
And in the midst of the spirit-filled rocking and affirming, I found a cool soft landing place on the pillow of Nana’s arm. And there, I fell asleep- content and safe- in the presence of an Almighty God, a loving Nana and the unwavering faith of the saints.
This was my first recollection of waiting on the Lord. Since my early years, trials have come swiftly, sometimes in pairs or in threes; and usually without invitation. Nana would say “If you haven’t had trouble baby, keep living.” And it has been in troubled times, struggling to be of “good cheer”, that I have learned how to wait. I have learned that waiting on the Lord is not a passive response to life’s obstacles. Waiting on God’s direction is active and progressive. We pray as we wait. We serve as we wait. We fast as we wait. We worship as we wait. We forgive and receive forgiveness as we wait. We evangelize as we wait. We believe God and perform acts of faith as we wait. Waiting on the Lord becomes a posture for the believer, a way of standing through trials- a spiritual practice that catapults the believer into greater endurance, progress, and intimacy with God. Those that wait, make substantial progress or ‘run’. Those that wait, build endurance and ‘do not grow weary’. Those that wait, are sustained and “do not faint”. Those who wait have great gain.
When have you waited on God’s direction to help you make a decision?
How do you actively wait on the Lord? How has it changed your response to life’s trials?
Be encouraged as you wait my sisters. It is an active and powerful act of obedience.
***A companion song to this blog post is: “Beauty for Ashes” by Krystal Lewis. I pray that both the song and the blog post encourage you as you wait on the Lord.