Lord, Teach Me to Wait

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Ruth Lopez-Whitfield

Power in prayer

One of my favorite Scriptures is Isaiah 40:31: “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; and they shall walk, and not faint” (KJV).

Years ago those words were put to music, and I sang them and taught them to my children. The song added the phrase, “Teach me, Lord. Teach me, Lord, to wait.” I loved that passage, and I loved that song. I sang it all the time.

But I didn’t think too much about what I was asking. Did I really want Him to teach me to wait?

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like waiting. It seems like such a waste of time. I could be doing so much with the time I spend waiting! However, our heavenly Father knows there is a value in our learning to wait on Him, so He allows us to be placed in situations where we have no choice but to wait.

I remember the days when we had to wait for dinner to be ready. My mother would start cooking early in the afternoon. She made everything from scratch, and it took time to chop, cook, simmer and serve. She was a fabulous cook, so the end result was fantastic.

We can’t match the result of that effort today. We may try to duplicate it by popping food in the microwave or substituting one ingredient for another. We think we’ll arrive at the same end—but we don’t. Hurrying the process by taking shortcuts just doesn’t produce the same result. Some things just simply take time.

Waiting, however, is never easy. There is such a feeling of helplessness when we are forced into a situation in which we can’t do anything except wait! Back in 2001 our country was thrown into such a situation. People from New York to California watched and waited as the Twin Towers imploded and descended into a heap and the Pentagon burned. We held our breath as people ran for their lives and waited for word of lost loved ones.

We watched in 2005 as Hurricane Katrina devastated the Louisiana and Mississippi coast and thousands waited to hear about their home and family members. We waited with them. More recently, Malaysian Flight 370 disappeared while en route to China. We continued to watch, pray and wait with loved ones and family members of those on board, only to see their hopes dashed to the ground time and time again.

Every day there’s a new turn of events on the news. We don’t know what each day will bring or what we will face when we wake up each morning. At this writing, we await news about those affected from the mudslides in the state of Washington. Many are missing and bodies are still being uncovered. People hope for the best while anticipating the worse. Across the world we watched in horror as a South Korean Ferry boat capsized taking hundreds of young victims into the cold murky waters below. There are few survivors and anguished parents are still waiting for the recovery of their child’s body.

Waiting is painful whether you are sure of the outcome or not. We need someone or something to hold us secure while we wait. That someone is the One by whom all things consist and who holds all things together (see Col. 1:17). He is the One who brings the comfort and strength we need, even in the face of great loss.

We must also remember that we are not waiting simply for an outcome; we are waiting on the Lord. And waiting on Him—no matter how long the process seems to take—will have the best results.

One definition Webster’s gives for “wait” is “look forward expectantly.” Those who wait upon the Lord stay in a place of confident expectation. We may not know what will happen tomorrow, but we know Who holds tomorrow. The promise Isaiah 40:31 gives is that if we depend on the Lord and look forward in hope and expectation, He will renew our strength. We will not fear or lose heart.

The Lord said that in the last days men’s hearts would fail them for fear (see Luke 21:26). Certainly, the events of 9/11 shook the core of our national and personal security. Surely Iran’s radical government poses a current threat to Israel, the U.S. and the European Union. Violence continues to escalate as Russia moves to capture previously lost territory. Some of our troops are still in Afghanistan and we wait for them to come home. Our nation’s choices to accept godless lifestyles as the norm have poised us for judgment. But God has not given us a spirit of fear (see 2 Tim. 1:7).

If you have given in to fear because you don’t know what’s coming, turn away from it and begin to wait—look with expectation—upon the Lord. He can turn things around and work them for good even in the worst situations. He will give you the peace and strength to step boldly into your future with the confidence that He holds the future and His results are best.

Prayer Power for the Week of 4/28/2014

This week, renew your strength by waiting on the Lord and meditating on His goodness. Thank Him that He is all knowing and all-powerful, and we are secure in Him. Thank Him for His faithfulness and ever abiding comfort even during the worst times. Continue to pray for those who have lost loved ones through various tragic events, those struggling with health issues and need of provision, and those who desperately need Christ as their Savior. Pray that God would send more laborers into His harvest field, and tell Him that you are willing to do your part to expand His kingdom. Continue to pray for the persecuted church, the peace of Jerusalem, and our national, spiritual and civic leaders. Isa. 40:31; Col. 1:17; 2 Tim. 1:7.

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