Wait for the Lord
Stories of great patience are far too common for us. Therefore, we mostly ignore them, but there is a plethora of them for a reason. Patience is required, and it must have its perfect work. God is patient (Rom 2:4), and we are being conformed to His image (Rom 8:29). The servant of the Lord must not strive with God or with others, but he must patiently wait for the Lord, who is at work in him to will and to do His good pleasure (Is 46:10; Phil 2:12–13). Cease striving (Ps 46:10) and wait.
The world makes our discipline of waiting all the more difficult. Satan is behind the insane, frenetic activity in the world. He keeps us glued to our smart phones, to ensure we are overdosing on tremulous news and irrelevant information. Bad news produces fear, and fear drives economies. Thus, men endeavor to solve all of the problems of the world. It gives us something to occupy ourselves, instead of waiting for God.
Education is not waiting for the Lord. Business is not waiting for God. Governments are not waiting for the Lord. Sports teams are not waiting for God. Most churches are not waiting for the Lord. So, when God comes near (Mt 25), we are mostly unprepared because we are too busy, even when it comes to our own salvation (Mt 22). Hell is the ultimate and endless busy place…hot, congested, and polluted. In contrast, heaven is a place of Sabbath rest. Patience is practicing rest. Waiting for the Lord teaches us heaven.
The subject of waiting for the Lord is clearly and abundantly stated in the Scriptures. It is a required discipline. We must ask a few questions in order for us to understand God’s command for us to be patient: What are we waiting for? Who are we waiting for? How should we wait? Who are biblical examples of people who learned to wait for the Lord?
First, we are waiting for deliverance. The implication is that we are in a needy place, and “now” is always a needy time. The world is an oppressive environment, especially for God’s people. The curse of time, toil, and terror torments us. Christians wait for God to exact vengeance (Prov 20:22), but God is patient with the wicked (Rom 9:22). He is slow to anger and slow to wrath, but we must be assured His wrath will come (Lk 3:7). God displays the attribute of His patience through His treatment of His enemies (Col 3:6; 1 Thess 1:10). Still, the nations are waiting for God’s judgment upon them (Zeph 3:8).
Waiting for judgment and deliverance means we are all waiting for Christ to bring many sons to glory. Christians are waiting for Christ the Lord to come in His second advent (1 Cor 4:5; Jam 5:7), for our ultimate salvation, too. There is the now and the end things. For now, His reconnaissance mission, to save His people from their sins (Mt 1:21), employs the redeemed to labor for the sake of the elect (2 Tim 2:10). Christians, led by the Spirit, must find their spiritually blind brothers and sisters in the midst of humanity and work to give them sight. Spiritual sight comes through the knowledge of God in Christ, preached in the power of the Holy Spirit. In this, God is at work in us, to fulfill His will and purpose for us: to know Christ and to know our salvation.
Our flesh, with its restless carnal mind, wonders why God does not just get on with it. We must return to the notion of God and His attribute of patience being on display. Love is patient (1 Cor 13:4), and God is love (1 Jn 4:8). Love waits for its object to return love (1 Jn 4:19). Christians should keep themselves in the love of God, while they wait for the mercy of eternal life (Jude 21), for themselves and others. What makes this so difficult is that Christians suffer, while we wait for the Lord (2 Cor 1:6).
Christians are to put on patience (Col 3:12), knowing that the fruit of the Holy Spirit is patience (Gal 5:22). God is manifesting His own patience in and through us. God’s Word helps Christians, while waiting for God (Ps 39:7; 130:5). As we put on Christ, abiding in Him and with His Word abiding in us (Jn 15:17), we become patient like Him. As an example, Abraham, having patiently waited for the promises of God, obtained them (Heb 6:13–15). Paul prayed for the Colossians to have more knowledge of Christ, so that they may be strengthened for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience (Col 1:11). Suffering is implied in all of these ideas.
Christians wait in hope of God, our Deliverer, in times of need (Ps 33:20). We wait for God with eagerness (Ps 130:6; Is 8:17; 26:8; Phil 3:20), expectantly (Mic 7:7), and silently (Lam 3:26). Waiting for God produces hope, which is an extension of faith into the future. Christians who wait for the Lord will not be put to shame (Is 49:23). God desires to show favor and to bless those who wait for Him (Ps 147:11; Is 30:18). God’s Spirit and God’s Word assure us we will not be disappointed in the end (Ps 22:5); although we may suffer scorn and humiliation now.
Paul was patient (2 Cor 6:6), and he desired Timothy to follow his example (2 Tim 3:10). Pastors must be patient (2 Tim 2:24), exercising great patience (2 Tim 4:2). Christians, especially pastors, should not be frustrated watching the wicked prosper (Ps 73), while they wait patiently on God (Ps 37:7). We should be courageous in waiting for the Lord (Ps 27:14), for “The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him (Lam 3:25).”
Paul instructed the Ephesians to be patient with one another (Eph 4:2) and the Thessalonians to be patient with everyone (1 Thess 5:14). Christians should keep God’s way, as they wait on Him to deliver them from enemies (Ps 37:34). Sin, death, Satan and his demons position themselves against us. They love for us to turn on one another with words and actions; but we should not judge, instead, wait for Christ, who is Judge, to come (1 Cor 4:5). His just recompense to all people will be with Him.
God hears the cry of Christians who patiently wait for Him (Ps 40:1; Mic 7:7). They do not fear His coming, for He has their reward; and therefore, believers long for His return. Finally, God provides an inheritance for those who wait for Him (Ps 37:9; 37:34), for they inherit all the promises of God (Heb 6:12).
In summary, we have learned that we are waiting for God to deliver His people and to deliver judgment upon the earth (1 Thess 1:10). The Spirit of Christ is at work delivering souls, the elect, by filling the redeemed, to proclaim the excellencies of Christ. We have learned that God is patient, and He is manifesting His patience in us, who are indwelt by His Spirit.
Hence, we wait upon God, in expectant hope of the fulfillment of His promises, revealed to us by His Spirit in His Word. Therefore, we wait for God with His Word in our hearts, even as people of faith have waited for Him before us (Heb 11). Abraham and Paul are two examples of men who waited, and who taught others to wait for the Lord, with the promise that they would not be shamed, nor disappointed, for we wait for our glorious inheritance, as the children of God.
In conclusion, waiting for the Lord is our discipline. We have God’s help, and His work in and through us shines for others to see us at rest in Him. He is revealing His patient self through His patient people; therefore, we must wait for the Lord in perfect patience. Relax, He will do it. Just be patient.
David E. Norczyk
Spokane Valley, Washington
December 26, 2020