A year and a half before my mother passed away, I visited her and asked her how she was doing and she said she was feeling some weakness in her body. It appeared that old age was catching up with her. I reached out and held her hands and started reciting, as best I could, the following passage of Scripture in our local Asante Twi language:
“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God and the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary, his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:28-31 RSV).
My mother was happy and impressed. She thought that it was brilliant and said it made her day. She thanked me for coming up with such brilliant and comforting words, but I told her that I was not that smart to make that up, and that I quoted from the Bible. Since then, anytime, I come across the passage, I remember my mother. May her soul rest in perfect peace with the Lord.
God spoke through the Prophet Isaiah to encourage the people of Israel to keep their hope and faith alive with those comforting words. Isaiah started the passage with questions: have you not known; have you not heard? The older generation ought to have known about the awesome power and mighty deeds of the Almighty God in their lives. The youths, who may not have had personal knowledge, must have heard about the awesome power and mighty deeds of the Almighty God. The everlasting God and Creator of heaven and the earth does not get tired and is able to empower and strengthen the weak to do more than they could ever imagine.
Note that waiting for the Lord does not mean sitting around, folding our arms, and doing nothing while expecting manna to fall from heaven. Observe the passage closely for some of the activities of those who wait for the Lord: They shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint. Renew, mount, run, and walk – are all action words indicating active collaboration by those who wait for the Lord. Those who recognize their weakness and wait by faith for the Lord to increase their strength would be strong in the Lord. Remember that we are talking about God “who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist” (Romans 4:17 RSV).
Waiting for the Lord means focusing on the Lord and devoting attention to Him through constant prayers and meditation. It means hope and trust in the Lord that He will do for us that which He has promised to do for us. It means by faith relying on the Lord and His grace and not on our own strength as the youths are wont to do with their false sense of invincibility.
It is to overcome our natural tendencies to be in a hurry for what we want, how we want it, and when we want it – which is usually now. It is to broaden our thinking beyond the physical things we see and embrace the spiritual components of things around us.
Waiting for the Lord is to address an opportunity we often miss after we finish praying and say Amen. Prayer is a two-way communication between God and us. Yet, we treat it as if it were a one-way communication where we tell God something today and hope to hear from Him another day. We should wait a little after prayers and leave room for the possibility that God may also want to speak to us right away, perhaps to give us some directions that may eventually lead to our desired answer.
It means leaving to God the matters we have brought to Him to handle, without rushing to take same into our own hands. In short, it is to let God be God.
When Jesus told the apostles to wait in Jerusalem for the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-5), they did not hang out idly by in Jerusalem. They joined together constantly in prayer and used the time to appoint Matthias to replace Judas as one of the twelve apostles, among other things. (Acts 1:12-26). Prayer is a good way to spend the time while waiting for the Lord.
Those who cannot wait for the Lord or put their hope and trust in Him unless they can understand Him may be missing their blessings because, as the Bible passage quoted at the beginning indicates, His understanding is unsearchable. A quest for knowledge and understanding is a good thing, but we should ensure that it does not become a stumbling block to our faith in the Almighty God.
Are we not glad that God wants us to sour on the wings like eagles, the most powerful bird of prey in the sky? That our strength shall be renewed; that we shall run and not be weary and walk without fainting? Our strength shall be renewed physically, mentally, and spiritually. Waiting for the Lord is not an opportunity to be lazy or a sign of weakness. It is a test of hope, faith, obedience, and patience. It is the time to focus prayerfully on the Lord. Waiting for the Lord also means that whatever we leave in the hands of God should be left there for Him to handle because God’s time is the best, and Jesus always shows up on time.
Prayer is the key. May God grant us the grace to seek Him daily through our prayers.
Dr. Daniel Gyebi, Attorney-at-Law, Texas, U.S.A., and Founder, PrayerHouse Ministry, Kumasi, Ghana.
PrayerHouse Ministry is dedicated to providing a quiet facility for Christians to pray individually by themselves without any intermediary priest, pastor or any other person. This is a free service. No money is demanded or accepted. One facility is located at Kyerekrom / Fumesua, near Building and Road Research Institute Offices, one mile off the Kumasi-Accra Road and next to a house called Grace Castle. If you are interested, please contact Agnes at 054-7498653. Another is located at Kantinkyiren, at the junction of Kantinkyiren and Konkori, off the Kumasi-Obuasi Road, branching left at Trede junction. Contact Kwadwo at 020-8768461 / 0246-989413.