Wait. A word that immediately evokes questions: Who and what are we waiting for? Why should we wait? How long do we wait? What’s involved in our waiting?
The word wait seems to evoke emotions that want to scream, “But, I don’t want to wait!”
Natural Ways We Deal with Waiting
Waiting is a part of our everyday lives. It is unavoidable. Driving to school, work or a doctor’s appointment has us maneuvering through endless traffic, staring at red lights, sitting in waiting rooms for our name to be called.
We occupy ourselves with music, audiobooks, drumming our fingers on the steering wheel, or doing mindless tasks on our phone. We do many activities to try and distract ourselves from the fact – we are waiting. If we are honest with ourselves, we would rather be doing something else.
These are our soulish responses. We adapt to the situation at hand. Some of our processes are beneficial ways of “maximizing our time” while other processes are our refusal to be still and quiet in the moment. Life is quiet, so we make noise.
So what do we do when the Lord is calling us to wait upon Him?
What Does It Mean to Wait on the Lord?
To wait on the Lord involves an expectation. This expectation is based on both knowledge and trust. Knowledge that He is worthy and trust that He will show Himself true.
The Word of God emphasizes the Lord is the object or Person we are waiting for – He is the desired One. Our focus is on Him and Him alone.
“I wait [patiently] for the Lord, my soul [expectantly] waits, and in His word do I hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than the watchmen for the morning, more than the watchmen for the morning. O [people of God], hope in the Lord; for with the Lord there is lovingkindness, and with Him is abundant redemption.” ~Psalm 130:5-7 AMP
When we choose to wait upon the Lord, we are choosing Him above our own desires. We are choosing to humble ourselves before Him, acknowledge His greatness, and listen for His still small voice.
3 Steps in How to Wait on the Lord
There are three steps which aid us in waiting upon the Lord: time in God’s Word, time in prayer, and time in His Presence.
Step One: Time in God’s Word
One way to wait upon the Lord is to spend time in God’s Word. God reveals Himself, His character, and His ways all through the pages of Scripture.
“The Lord is good to those who wait [confidently] for Him, to those who seek Him [on the authority of God’s word].” ~Lamentations 3:25 AMP
“I will delight myself in Your statutes. I will not forget Your word. Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things out of Your law. Indeed, Your statutes are my delight, and my counselors. Direct me in the path of Your commandments, for I delight in them. I will delight myself in Your commandments, because I love them. How sweet are Your promises to my taste, more than honey to my mouth. Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light for my path.” ~Psalm 119:16, 18, 24, 35, 47, 103, 105 WEB
“Blessed (happy, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable) is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly [following their advice, their plans and purposes], nor stands [submissive and inactive] in the path where sinners walk, nor sits down [to relax and rest] where the scornful [and the mockers] gather.”
“But his delight and desire are in the law of the Lord, and on His law (the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God) he habitually meditates (ponders and studies) by day and by night. And he shall be like a tree firmly planted [and tended] by the streams of water, ready to bring forth its fruit in its season; its leaf also shall not fade or wither; and everything he does shall prosper [and come to maturity].” ~Psalm 1:1-3 AMPC
God says His Word will help us grow to maturity, will illumine our path, and be sweet like honey.
Step Two: Time in Prayer
A second way to wait upon the Lord is to spend time with Him in Prayer. Prayer is a wonderful time to pour out our heart to Him! And it is a great time to be still, listen for His still small voice, and receive His love.
“In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice; in the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.” ~Psalm 5:3 NASB
“I waited patiently and expectantly for the Lord; and He inclined to me and heard my cry.” ~Psalm 40:1 AMP
Prayer is active. And waiting is an active stance of our heart. So pray through it – whatever “it” is in your life right now.
“For this cause, I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, that you may be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner person, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, to the end that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be strengthened to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and height and depth, and to know Christ’s love which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” ~Ephesians 3:14-19 WEB
Prayer can also be stillness and silence.
“The Lord is my Shepherd [to feed, to guide and to shield me], I shall not want. He lets me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still and quiet waters.” ~Psalm 23:1-2 AMP
“My soul, wait in silence for God alone, for my expectation is from Him.” ~Psalm 62:5 WEB
Persevere in prayer for breakthrough. After exhorting us to wear our spiritual armor, Paul says,
“Pray at all times in the Spirit, and be watchful.” ~Ephesians 6:18a WEB
And just talking to Him delights His heart.
“The prayer of the upright is His delight.” ~Proverbs 15:8b NASB
Spending time in prayer is a fantastic way to communicate with God. Communication is a two-way process which incorporates authentically sharing our heart with the Lord and integrates times of silence where we listen for His voice.
A friend recently asked me why it seemed God didn’t answer some of our prayers. I answered, “I believe God answers all prayers. Sometimes He says, ‘Yes.’ Sometimes He says, ‘No.’ And sometimes He says, ‘Wait.’ We don’t always appreciate the answer we receive or the timing of the answer, but I believe He answers us.”
“Sometimes God asks human vessels to be His arms and feet here on the earth, but they don’t obey, so the manifestation of the answer isn’t expressed on the earth – though that was His heart and His will.”
“And sometimes the other side interferes as we see when Daniel prayed, and the answer was delayed three weeks by demonic beings.”
“So God hears our prayers, He answers our prayers, but the manifestation of the answer is sometimes different than what we expect and that is where trust or doubt appear before us and we have to make a choice on which way we will believe, then walk out that belief – either in faith (even if it is not seen – yet) or in doubt, resentment, and bitterness because we think God doesn’t care for us.”
I hope this conversation helps you if you are struggling in your heart or mind because you haven’t seen answers to your prayers – yet.
“But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.” ~Romans 8:25 NASB
To wait on the Lord implies the passing of time. In the passing of time, do we trust God or do we distrust Him? It all comes down to God’s character. Do we trust God to be Who He says He is?
Step Three: Time in His Presence
A third way to wait upon the Lord is to spend time in His Presence. Time in His Presence is spent meditating on Who God is and literally enjoying being in His sweet Presence. We are assured in God’s character as we behold Him.
“You will show me the path of life. In Your presence is fullness of joy. In Your right hand there are pleasures forever more.” ~Psalm 16:11 WEB
“The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.” ~Zephaniah 3:17 NASB
“God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” ~John 4:24 WEB
Delighting in God, enjoying His Presence, allowing His love to pour out on us, fills us afresh so that we become carriers of His Presence and love to those around us.
When Waiting Involves Persecution
In His Word, God speaks of those who wait upon the Lord will walk in favor, inherit the land, and prosper. But what if delay and persecution come to us instead? Hebrews 11 speaks of overcomers “who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in warm put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection.”
Yet, it speaks of “others were tortured, not accepting their release, in order that they might obtain a better resurrection; and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about…destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground. And all these having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised because God had provided something better for us.” ~Hebrews 11:33-40 NASB
God never promises that all will be well with us every day that we live upon the earth, but He does promise to be with us.
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of [God’s People], your Savior. Since you are precious in My sight, since you are honored and I love you. I will give other men in your place and other peoples in exchange for your life. Do not fear, for I am with you.” ~Isaiah 43 NASB
It all comes down to God’s character. Do we trust God to be Who He says He is? Daniel believed God was Who He said He was even as Daniel was taken captive and made into a servant of a foreign king. In service, Daniel gained great favor because the hand of God was upon him. This great favor made others jealous which led to Daniel being thrown into the lion’s den to be eaten alive. Thankfully, God rescued Daniel from the mouth of the lion’s and the testimony of His deliverance went out into all the land, and through His Word it has gone out through all the ages.
Yet, this story is a dichotomy. God did not deliver Daniel from being taken hostage, nor did He deliver Daniel from servanthood in a foreign country. However, God did give Daniel great favor in service, and God did deliver Daniel from death. His place of service was used as a divine protection over the people of the area. So, what the enemy meant for evil, God used for good – through a yielded vessel who stayed in a place of trust despite his outer circumstances. Daniel trusted God in spite of the delay of his deliverance from captivity to a place of restoration to his people and land. Trust and a yielded heart were key to Daniel’s fruitfulness.
Here are several verses of comfort when we endure persecution for His Names’ sake.
“Blessed (happy, to be envied) is the man who is patient under trial and stands up under temptation, for when he has stood the test and been approved, he will receive [the victor’s] crown of life which God has promised to those who love Him.” ~James 1:12 AMPC
“Even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we fear no evil, for You are with us; Your rod and staff, they comfort us. You prepare a table before us in the presence of our enemies; You have anointed our head with oil; our cup overflows. Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” ~Psalm 23:4-6 NASB
We find blessed happiness in Him.
“Blessed (happy—with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, apart from your outward condition—and to be envied) are you who hunger and seek with eager desire now, for you shall be filled and completely satisfied!”
“Blessed (happy—with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, apart from your outward condition—and to be envied) are you who weep and sob now, for you shall laugh!”
“Blessed (happy—with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, apart from your outward condition—and to be envied) are you when people despise (hate) you, and when they exclude and excommunicate you [as disreputable] and revile and denounce you and defame and cast out and spurn your name as evil (wicked) on account of the Son of Man.”
We find joy in Him, in His love, and in His faithfulness.
“Rejoice and be glad at such a time and exult and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is rich and great and strong and intense and abundant in heaven.” ~Luke 6:21-23 AMPC
“Rejoice and exult in hope; be steadfast and patient in suffering and tribulation; be constant in prayer.” ~Romans 12:12 AMPC
“Be still before the Lord; wait patiently for Him and entrust yourself to Him; do not fret (whine, agonize) because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.” ~Psalm 37:7 AMP
He is our Living Hope.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
“In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various ]trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:3-9 NASB
When Waiting Produces Character
When we refuse to allow delayed answers to prayer and persecution to grow unbelief, resentment, and bitterness, then we grow in our faith and in character.
“Therefore, we do not become discouraged (utterly spiritless, exhausted, and wearied out through fear). Though our outer man is [progressively] decaying and wasting away, yet our inner self is being [progressively] renewed day after day.”
“For our light, momentary affliction (this slight distress of the passing hour) is ever more and more abundantly preparing and producing and achieving for us and everlasting weight of glory [beyond all measure, excessively surpassing all comparisons and all calculations, a vast and transcendent glory and blessedness never to cease!], since we consider and look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are visible are temporal (brief and fleeting), but the things that are invisible are deathless and everlasting.” ~2 Corinthians 4:16-18 AMPC
We experience prosperity and suffering.
“Not that I speak from [any personal] need, for I have learned to be content [and self-sufficient through Christ, satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or uneasy] regardless of my circumstances. I know how to get along and live humbly [in difficult times], and I also know how to enjoy abundance and live in prosperity.”
“In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret [of facing life], whether well-fed or going hungry, whether having an abundance or being in need. I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.]” ~Philippians 4:11-13 AMP
“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” ~Philippians 1:6 NASB
He strengthens and encourages us.
“But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired.” ~Isaiah 40:31 AMPC
“And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint.” ~Galatians 6:9 AMPC
When Waiting Brings Contentment
Let us allow our faith and trust in Who God is, His character and His ways produce in us godly contentment.
“Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light and your judgment as the noonday.” ~Psalm 37:3-6 NASB
“But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me.” Micah 7:7 NASB
“Therefore, the Lord longs to gracious to you, and therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; how blessed are all those who long for Him.” ~Isaiah 30:18 NASB
May these verses on waiting help you to take heart and continue to trust the One Who never fails.
39 Bible Verses about Waiting on the Lord. Published by Knowing Jesus. Retrieved July 12, 2022, from 39 Bible verses about Waiting On The Lord (knowing-jesus.com)
100 Bible Verses about Delight. Published by Open Bible. Retrieved July 12, 2022, from What Does the Bible Say About Delight? (openbible.info)
Amplified Bible, Classis Edition (AMPC) Copyright 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation.
New American Standard Bible 1995 (NASB 1995), copyright 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation.
Wait on the Lord Bible Verses. Published by Christianity. Retrieved July 12, 2022, from Wait on the Lord – Bible Verses and Meaning (christianity.com)
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