by John Wright Follette
“They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:31, ESV). To wait upon God is entirely within the reach of all, whatever may be the age, condition or environment. All may not be able to preach, teach, go as missionaries, or enter into public service; but any Christian can wait upon the Lord.
The Bible tells us much about waiting upon the Lord. The first meaning of the expression is silence. Prayer has been made and now the soul is hushed and, bowing in silence (in faith), it waits before God.
Our souls are too noisy. In prayer life alone see how it hinders. Our hearts are much distressed and burdened, so we go to prayer and maybe spend much time pouring out our petitions before the throne. And too many times we get up immediately, rush out of his presence and often try to answer the prayer by some efforts of our own. We do the praying but not the waiting.
Let us not be afraid to be silent before him, thinking it is wasted time. He does not want us to be all the time talking — telling him so many things about which he already knows more than we do. Time is needed today for proper adjustment to him, our vision properly focused, our hearts hushed, and minds subdued. It is in the silent hour before him, quietly waiting in his presence, that the miracle is wrought.
Expectation and hope
The second meaning of the word carries the thought of expectation and hope. “For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from him” (Psalm 62:1, 5, ESV). To wait upon God means to expect from God. It implies dependence.
How necessary today that we wait upon God in the sense of expecting from him. The natural man is so self-sufficient. He turns here and there and expects help from his natural ability, from friends, or from circumstances, But in the spiritual life we are taught to distrust self and to depend upon the power of the Holy Spirit.
The third meaning of wait is to watch, observe, take notice. This means that all our spiritual senses must be alive, alert and expectant. To wait means that we are to be near to him and still, that we may catch the slightest intimation on his part. Our hearts are to be sensitive enough to catch the faintest reflection and be able to discern quickly his voice. The meaning is clearly shown in Proverbs 8:34: “Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors.” Here we have a man, maybe a servant or soldier, waiting at a door or gate. He does not know the moment his master may open the door to require his service, or maybe to give him a gift.
Be it one or the other, it matters not to the waiting man. His duty is to wait (to watch or take notice). It is not the waiting of an idler; it is not the waiting of a dreamer. It is the quiet waiting of one who is girt and ready.
We do not long watch or observe keenly the movements of God before he has some word for us. He bids us go or come on some mission, or speak, write, pray, visit or sing for him. Why? Because we were near enough to feel what is on his heart, and thus we were able to enter into fellowship with him in service. Many today do not understand the movement of God in the world as he is speaking to us in present conditions because they are not near enough or still enough to observe him.
Such wonderful blessings, then, hang upon this one condition: to wait. And to wait upon God is to have the heart silent in an expectant attitude, to hear what he might say — that we might do his bidding.
Wait means that we are to be near to him and still, that we may catch the slightest intimation on his part.
About the author: John Wright Follette (1883-1966) was a Bible teacher, conference speaker and author. This excerpt is adapted from his book, Broken Bread [public domain].\
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