Wait on the Lord
Most people don’t like to wait. We hate traffic jams, checkout lines, and other delays. And our consumer culture fosters the idea that we cannot only have what we want, but we can also have it right now.
Spiritually speaking, however, we learn some of life’s greatest lessons through delayed gratification. The Lord promises to reward those who submit to His timing. God acts on behalf of those who wait for Him (Life Principle #14).
What are the spiritual rewards of waiting?
1. We discover God’s will and purpose in the things that most concern us.
- Lamentations 3:25 says, “The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him.” From this verse, what do you think it means to “wait on the Lord”?
God does not tease His children or string them along. Right now, as we wait, He is working all things together for our good and His glory (Rom. 8:28).
- Why did the apostles turn to the Lord in prayer in Acts 1:24-26?
- In your opinion, is it ever appropriate to make a decision without consulting the Lord?
- If so, how do you decide what choices to pray about and which to handle on your own?
Lot’s decision may have indicated his misplaced priorities—that he let greed motivate him instead of wisdom.
2. We receive supernatural energy and strength.
Trying to manipulate circumstances drains our energy. Actively waiting on God is energizing. When we allow Him to strengthen us for the tasks we’re called to do, we can experience supernatural energy.
3. We win battles.
When we rush God’s plans or do things our own way, we end up defeated. But waiting on Him will ensure our victory and keep us from foolish and precipitous acts. Proverbs 20:22 says, “Do not say, ‘I will repay evil’; wait for the LORD, and He will save you.”
- The disciples were encouraged and excited after the resurrection of Christ. Why did Jesus tell them to wait before sharing the gospel with the world? (Acts 1:8)
- What was the fruit of their obedience? (See Acts 2, especially vv. 41-47.)
- Have you ever felt ready to act, and yet sensed God wanted you to wait? If so, describe your response and the outcome.
4. We see the fulfillment of our faith.
The Lord says, “Those who hopefully wait for Me will not be put to shame” (Isa. 49:23).
In the end, we’ll never be embarrassed if we choose to wait on God. It’s always the wise thing to do. When others encourage us to forge ahead, we need to remember the Lord’s plans and timing are always best. He knows our strengths, weaknesses, and preferences better than anyone else—even better than we know ourselves. And only He can predict the future.
Don’t let circumstances tempt you to take matters into your own hands. God has a purpose for all you experience. Ultimately, you will be honored—whether during your life or after it ends—if you remain faithful to Him 1 Cor. 4:5).
- What unfair suffering did Joseph experience (Gen. 37:24; 39:1, 20)?
- What was Joseph’s final position in Egypt (Gen. 41:39-40)?
- When you look back on your life, can you see how times of suffering prepared you to serve God or minister to others? Explain.
4. We see the Father working on our behalf.
Isaiah spoke of a God “who acts in behalf of the one who waits for Him” (Isa. 64:4). What a wonderful promise! While we actively wait, He actively works. Think of this: Every single day, we have the greatest Mediator working on our behalf.
Although waiting can be one of the more difficult things in the Christian life, it is not wasted time. During periods of waiting, God teaches us lessons we couldn’t otherwise learn. In such a season, He sifts our motives, strengthens our faith, and may even change our circumstances. His purpose is to keep us in step with Him as He prepares us to receive the answers we need to hear.
- Ephesians 1:11 says that the Father “works all things after the counsel of His will.” What are you currently waiting on God for? What do you see Him doing in your life as you wait?
Closing: A seed planted in the ground needs time to grow. Digging it up too soon might kill the plant or at least ruin its chances of producing quality fruit. Similarly, the process of spiritual maturation can’t be rushed. It takes time. Even when nothing appears to be happening, allow God to set the pace for your life. Obey Him, and He will honor you in due season.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for the promise of blessing if I wait on Your timing, and for the assurance that by doing so, I will never miss out. Teach me to stay focused on You rather than circumstances or the opinions of people around me. Help me trust that all my needs will be met, and all my questions will be sufficiently answered, as I submit to You. Amen.
Adapted from The Charles F. Stanley’s Life Principles Bible, 2008.
How can I wait patiently on the Lord?
Learn how to patiently wait on the Lord. (Watch How can I wait patiently on the Lord?)