Isaiah 40:31 gives promises for those who wait upon the Lord. In this one verse the word "shall" is used four times. "But those who 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) Their strength shall be renewed. They shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall not be weary. They shall walk and not faint.
The key to this verse is the word wait. Those who wait on the Lord get all the attributes of strength listed in this verse. If we don’t learn to wait on the Lord, we will never get the strength of the Lord.
The Hebrew word for “wait” is qavah. Qavah means to expect, to anticipate, and to hope. It means to look forward to something with strong belief that it will happen. Waiting is hard when that’s all you do. Waiting and doing nothing makes the time seems to drag. In fact, the problem with doing nothing is never knowing when you have finished.
Have you ever had to wait a long time for something to happen? Have you ever had to wait for someone to arrive? Have you ever had to wait for a doctor’s report? Have you ever had to wait to find out if you would receive that job promotion or that bank loan? Have you ever had to wait for the approval for a house or a car? The waiting probably was more than you could bear, or at least it wasn't a pleasant feeling.
Have you ever rushed to be on time for an appointment and when you arrived, you were told to “Take a seat and wait?" No one likes to wait, but we have to do it all the time. We wait in the check-out line, and it seems that no matter which line we get in, the tape in the cash register always needs to be changed or someone is in your line needs a price check. This seems to happen only when we are in a hurry. We wait at the bank, at the laundry, at the drugstore, at the airport, at the bus station, and at the train station. And let’s not talk about the long wait to have our cars serviced.
Almost every household has a microwave because we don’t like to wait. Many of us have digital cameras because we want to see the picture right away instead of taking the film to be developed. We have DSL for our computers because dial up is too slow. And we just don’t like to wait. If you don’t believe me ask any expectant mother who has to wait nine months to have a baby. She really shouldn’t complain when compared to the giraffe that has a gestation period of 14 months and the elephant who has a gestation period of 25 months.
The waiting in our text is different from waiting for red lights and elevators. It is different from waiting for the next holiday, your next birthday, your next vacation or your next paycheck. So what does it mean to wait upon the Lord? Waiting upon the Lord means expecting God to do something great in your life. It means waiting expectantly. It means having the faith, the confidence and the belief that God will keep His promises no matter how long it takes. Waiting is having the assurance that what you are waiting for will come to pass.
We can wait upon the Lord by remembering those who have waited before us. Abraham waited 25 years for Isaac, His son of promise. The Israelites waited 430 years while in slavery and another 40 years to get to the promised land. Hannah waited and waited to bear a male child. David was crowned king; yet he had to wait to reign on the throne. Israel waited 2,000 years for the Messiah. Job waited and waited until his change came. The lame man at the pool of Bethesda waited 38 years. Elizabeth waited to have a son. So she waited. John the Baptist was born at the right time to be the forerunner of Jesus. Anna waited in the temple to see the Baby Jesus. Simeon was a devout man and the Holy Spirit promised Him he wouldn’t die until he held the Baby Jesus.
We call the man a waiter and the woman a waitress at a restaurant. How would you feel if you they sat you at the table and they never came back to help you. The job of a waiter is to serve. As a Christian, your job is to serve. Jesus Himself waited. Jesus Himself served. Mark 10:45 says, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."
Yes, Jesus is our example who served until He died on the cross. Then He was buried and was raised from the dead. Before He ascended into heaven, He told the disciples to wait in the upper room until the Holy Spirit came. Because of their obedience, the Holy Spirit came in just ten days. The Comforter came as expected to help us while we wait.
What can you do while you wait upon the Lord? You serve God!