"They Who Wait for the LORD"|
Patience is a virtue that you will not often find on the streets of America. As I was driving to work today, I was in a line of traffic that stretched as far as the eye could see. Every car in the line was travelling at the same speed. However, this did not deter the lady driving in the car behind me from passing me to move up one space in the line, thus allowing her to arrive at her destination two seconds earlier.
So it is in the world. When it comes to spiritual things, however, patience is an absolute requirement. Those who are spiritually impatient will achieve nothing and will receive nothing.
When we think of patience we think of having to wait for something or someone. Waiting is not something that most people do well. We prefer “instant gratification”. We would rather have our desires now. This is why many people have enormous debts – because they buy things before they can afford them.
In Isaiah 40:31, the prophet wrote, “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.” When Isaiah wrote this, he was living in a time of crisis. Judah was threatened by Assyria, and Isaiah could see by inspiration the coming threat of Babylon.
Yet Isaiah preached patience to the Jews. He told them to trust God, and they would be delivered. The impatient thing to do would be for Judah to make alliances with Egypt and other nations to protect themselves. Isaiah pleaded with them to wait on the Lord instead and place their faith in His ability to save them.
To “wait for the Lord” is more than just standing by idly until the Lord does something. It is to continue to work for the Lord in anticipation of the reward. “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (1 Cor. 15:58) We know our labor is not in vain because we trust and anticipate that God will keep His promise to reward those who wait for Him.
Paul noted three steps in the course of a Christian’s conversion as exemplified in the Christians at Thessalonica: (1) Turn to God; (2) Serve a living and true God; (3) Wait for His Son from heaven whom He raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. (1 Thess. 1:9-10) Notice again the element of anticipation in this third step. A Christian is to wait for the Lord and eagerly anticipate His coming.
Unfortunately, what happens many times is that people turn to God and serve Him for a time, but waiting for the reward becomes too much for their patience. Things of the world that offer immediate gratification draw them away from the Lord, and they go astray.
Waiting for the Lord requires faith. It requires one to allow other things to pass by while looking ahead to eternity. Waiting for a lifetime may seem like a burden until you weigh it against being with the Lord for eternity. “Be patient, therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient over it until it receives the early and the late rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” (Jas. 5:7-8)
Stacey E. Durham
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