Summary: Waiting is not doing anything; it is preparing our hearts. And as we are obedient to God, God is going to bless that moment of our waiting.
Years ago I came across a verse that said, “…and there is grace in the wilderness,” and I just about died. I’ve heard people say, “You know, I am in the wilderness. What a horrible place to be.” Well, there are many times when we are in the wilderness that God can really use us. It was Philip in the book of Acts, who was called out of an evangelistic journey in Samaria to go into the desert to minister to an Ethiopian eunuch. The Bible says that he arose and went in obedience. He wasn’t in the desert kicking the cans and being mad at God for sending him there; he did what God wanted him to do. He went out of obedience to the Ethiopian man and led him to Christ. That Ethiopian man, in turn, went back to Africa and led the Continent to Christ. So we realize that this event was more important than just a little tiny revival. When we find ourselves living in the wilderness, that’s where God can make us and that’s where God can groom us. And even for David, a powerful king and sweet psalmist, so much of his life was in the wilderness when he was running from Saul. But, in that wilderness, he brought forth the songs that we love so much—the Psalms. So before we begin to get bummed out and want to quit, we ought to really understand that God spoke to the Israelites while they were in their wilderness; God fed them manna in the wilderness; God gave them a cloud to guide them by day and a pillar of fire by night to guide them.
Even their shoes didn’t wear out. The Shekinah glory (God’s divine presence) was there. So they had everything, and yet, the people did not come to really know God. Moses tried, but the people didn’t.
Here’s an important question to ask ourselves: Do we wait on God? Some of the marriages we see that are troubled is because the man and woman did not wait on God. They went ahead and got married anyway. Now God can take it and make it and use it for His glory, but there is a lot of pain involved. It is best to wait on God. In the book of Numbers 9:8, “Moses said to them, stand still and I will hear what the Lord will command concerning you.” Here is a guy who is not going to make a decision. He is not going to be pressured into doing something. So many times in our lives, we have been pressured into doing things, and those have been the worst decisions of our entire lives. It’s okay to step back and say, “I don’t know what God wants.”
There’s a story in the book of Leviticus, chapter 24, that says that a man, accused of killing another man, was brought to Moses, and the people asked him what they should do. The law indicated that he should be killed. But Moses responded with, “I don’t know. God has not revealed this to me, so throw him in jail.” The man was put in jail, but the next day, Moses said to bring him out. So they brought him out and Moses said, “Kill him.” So basically, God told Moses exactly what happened and it was okay to go ahead. But here is the important point: Moses did not move until he gave God a chance to get involved in his life. Now if we were to do that, we wouldn’t yell at our kids, threaten a divorce, or do all those things that can destroy marriages and relationships. We wouldn’t yell at our bosses or do things that can get us fired. We would wait and give God an opportunity to work.
David said the very same thing in Psalm 27:14, “Wait on the LORD; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!” Now we can just read that as is or we can take a few moments and ponder it. The Bible is saying that when we wait on God, God is going to make us be of good courage. Wait on the Lord and be of good courage. And so if we wait, our hearts are going to be encouraged. It goes on to say, “He shall strengthen your heart.” He is going to strengthen our hearts. “Wait, I say…” So in the waiting, it’s not just waiting, God will strengthen our hearts and God will give us encouragement.
In the book of Isaiah there are two great passages: Isaiah 30:18, “And therefore will the Lord wait that He may be gracious unto you…” In other words, why does God hold back? He is holding back so that He might give us more, and that we will be exalted in due season. And then Isaiah 40:31, “But they that wait on the Lord, shall renew their strength and they shall mount up with wings of eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.” If we wait on God, we are going to be renewed. God is going to give us strength. So here is what we have to come to grips with—waiting is not doing anything; it is preparing our hearts. And as we are obedient to God, God is going to bless that moment of our waiting. If we would only stop, God could really do a great thing. God could speak to us, or show us how He could do some great things. We are going to do the impossible. We are going to mount up with the wings of eagles and fly. We are going to run and not get tired. And we are going to be able to walk and not faint.