Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?” I said, “Here I am. Send me.”
Isaiah 40:28-31 - Message by Ellen Mun - "Wait upon the Lord"
28 “Has thou not known? Has thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searching of His understanding. 29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength. 30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: 31 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; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
What does it mean to wait upon the Lord? In verse 31, the Hebrew word for “wait” is qavah. Qavah means to wait actively with anticipation, hopefully watching for God to act. There are 3 verbs in the active waiting: mount up, run and walk. An example of this waiting can be compared to a woman who is in her last 2 weeks of pregnancy before she goes into labor. The soon-to-be mother actively gets ready for the birth of her baby and enters into what’s called the nesting syndrome. She gets all the baby linens, blankets and clothing all washed and put away. She stocks up all the toiletries, diapers, wipes and bottles. She also makes sure that the last touches to the baby’s room is complete including furniture, decorations, toys, and other necessities. Finally, she makes sure that the baby car seat is right by the door along with her suitcase for her hospital stay. This is active waiting – because the mother knows her baby is coming any day, she waits with hopeful anticipation. In Isaiah 66:9, the Lord makes this same comparison to waiting: “Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith the LORD: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? saith thy God.”
Many people in our generation seem to think that waiting is a waste of time and according to an article in 2018 from digitalinformationworld.com, the average human attention span is now shorter than a goldfish, who have an attention span of 9 seconds. When smartphones hit the market in the year 2000, people had a 12 second attention span, but today it is 8 seconds or possibly even less. Pretty sad! Because of the over-saturated digital world with a constant hunger for new and more stimuli, people just cannot pay attention anymore. As a result, humans have become increasingly forgetful and are losing the capacity to focus on details since we only catch glimpses and skim through vast quantities of information, and only getting the general idea of things. Sometimes we only focus on headlines, and that’s as far as we’ll go.
With such a short attention span waiting seems impossible, so how can we overcome this dilemma? Certainly, timing yourself out of all digital devices from time to time each day or week will help significantly, but we must also not rely on our own strength. Our God is El Shaddai, the All-Sufficient One. El Shaddai occurs 7 times in the Old Testament, and it is first mentioned when God speaks to Abraham in Genesis 17:1. The Lord said, “I AM the Almighty God (El Shaddai); walk before me and be thou perfect.” When Abraham and Sarah, were 85 and 75 years old, they resorted to their own plans, leaning on their own understanding and strength by having Hagar become Abraham’s concubine. She gave birth to Ishmael, who was a “wild donkey of a man”. In essence, he was out of control and very difficult to raise. Finally, 13 years later at the age of 99, God spoke to Abraham again, who realized the error of his ways. This time God does three amazing things. First, God makes an everlasting covenant with Abraham; second, He names their promised miracle son, Isaac; and third, God gives the time of when His promise will be fulfilled. That saying, “Good things come to those who wait” was this moment for Abraham. After all the waiting, God spoke, and it was far more than what Abraham could have ever dreamed or asked for. We can learn from Abraham’s mistake that no matter how hard we try, we cannot make God’s pans go faster than He intended. Those who do not wait on the Lord and depend on their own strength, will “be weary and will utterly fall”, as it says in Isaiah 40:30.
Our Sovereign and All-sufficient God gives us power so that we do not faint, and He gives strength to those who have none. The God who gave Abraham a son at the age of 100 is the same God we serve today. The God who raised Jesus from the dead and seated Him at the Father’s right hand, is the same God who renews our strength so that we can run tirelessly. We must not be sufficient in our own abilities because God wants to do so much more than what we could ever do on our own. As the apostle Paul said in Philippians 3:3-8, that we who worship God in the spirit should rejoice in Christ Jesus having no confidence in the flesh. All the things we have gained, we should count it all as loss compared to the excellency of knowing Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore, let us live by faith and not by sight because God will not fail us. He is true to His word, and He said that His grace is sufficient for us because His power is made perfect in our weakness. Let us mount up on eagle’s wings, soaring upward toward God, and He will be our wind to keep us above the storm no matter how dark or violent it is. Let us walk with perseverance day by day in the straight path of the Lord so that we do not faint. God does speak, and He not only speaks to us once but over and over again by His grace until we hear Him; He may speak with a warning, give a direction or comfort us with an encouragement (Job 33:14-26). Where once we were wasting away like dead men, God gave a ransom in our place and renewed us with the strength of a youth, turning our mourning into joy because His righteousness shined forth (Psalm 37:4-7). And now, “the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day (Proverbs 4:18).”
Let us listen to the advice of King David from Psalm 27:14, “Wait on the Lord and be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart; wait, I say, on the Lord.” Also in Psalm 62:5-8, David sang, “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation: He is my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory: the Rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in Him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before Him: God is a refuge for us.” Let us actively wait for the Lord because as He promised in Revelation 22:12, He is coming soon, and His reward is with Him, and He will give according to what we have done in preparation for His return. 2 Peter 3:9 also tells us that our God is not slow concerning His promise as some men understand slackness, but He is long-suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. Let us remember this principle: God is never late nor is He early, but He is always on time.