by Lorraine E. Espenhain | Source: Catholic.net
In the book of Isaiah, we are instructed as follows: "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." [Isa 40:30-31].
Waiting upon God is a principle which all who are in Christ must learn to embrace and apply to their lives if we are going to overcome. This principle is not just for those who are going through trials and hardships, as many suppose. There are times in my life when things seem to be so still, so boring, so tedious, uneventful and monotonous, that I just want to scream as I wonder about the purpose of such times.
I have found that waiting upon God is a principle that I must be willing to apply to my life moment by moment even in the midst of those seemingly still and uneventful times. Even though things may seem still and uneventful, God is never still. He is always at work in the lives of His people, refining, molding, shaping, pruning, sanding, cleansing, purging, correcting, and training.
So...whether we are enduring a difficult trial or simply experiencing endless days of tedium, waiting upon the Lord is a principle we all must learn to apply. But what, exactly, does it mean to ‘wait upon the Lord?’
Usually, whenever we hear the word ‘wait,’ we immediately think of passiveness and stillness. But waiting upon the Lord is not something that we do passively; on the contrary, it requires steadfast action on our part.
Several years ago, a friend of mine was going through a very depressing time in her life. I called her up on the telephone to see how she was doing. "I’m just sitting here waiting upon the Lord until He comes along and rescues me from this pit of depression," was her response. Because she was so depressed, she stopped praying, stopped reading the Bible, stopped going to church, and stopped ministering to others using her spiritual gifts. She would resume those spiritual activities once again after Christ rescued her and revived her once more. In the meantime, she was simply going to sit and stare at a wall until He came to her spiritual rescue. In her frustration, she wondered what was taking Christ so long?
My friend is not alone in the way she was thinking during that time. Many of us have the same tendency to do this when going through frustrating or difficult times even though we may not come right out and say it.
Our actions tend to speak for us, don’t they? To wait upon the Lord means we must continue to do all of the things that we’ve been doing in our spiritual lives while we wait for God to answer our prayers and move in our lives. We are to spend time with Him in prayer each and every single day. We are to spend time in His written Word, reflecting and meditating on it. We are to go to Mass, where we can gather with other believers and be encouraged as we celebrate the Eucharist together. We are to serve others in love using the spiritual gifts God has given to us, and we are to yield our lives to the Holy Spirit moment by moment, in order that He might make us more like Christ. We are to do all of these things while we ‘wait upon the Lord’ to move in our lives.
Waiting upon the Lord doesn’t mean that we simply roll over and die until Christ comes along and answers our prayers. It doesn’t mean a cessation of all spiritual activity in our lives while we wait for Heaven to finally come through. It means that we keep on ‘keeping on’ while we wait for God to move in our behalf.Unfortunately, when we are going through a difficult or frustrating time in our lives, usually, the last thing we feel like doing is opening up the Bible or sitting at the feet of Christ to pray. It’s much easier to sit in a chair, worry, fret, and stew. It’s much easier to turn on the television or to distract ourselves with some other form of entertainment so that we don’t have to think about our situation. But these things cannot strengthen us spiritually.
They have no power to take us through or to change and renew us. These activities profit us nothing in the way of spiritual strength. Have you ever watched an eagle (or any large bird) soar higher and higher up into the sky? How does he do it? Do we see the bird flapping its wings frantically and furiously against the wind as he desperately attempts to reach a higher altitude? No. He gracefully opens up his wings and skillfully uses the wind to enable him to mount higher and higher. The very winds that have power to serve as an obstacle to the eagle’s flight are skillfully used by him to take him up higher and higher.
And so it is with those who have learned how to wait upon the Lord. No matter how the winds may be blowing in our lives, God has given us the ability (through the power of His Holy Spirit) to stretch out our wings and use those winds to renew us, change us, and to mount up closer and closer to Him.
Isaiah promises that when we wait upon the Lord (actively and not passively), we will soar on wings like eagles.
It’s up to us, however, to yield our lives to God’s Spirit so that these things can be accomplished. If not, we can expect those winds to continue to keep us down, as my friend had been doing. No matter what you are facing in your life right now, I want to encourage you to actively wait upon the Lord. Time spent with God in prayer and daily Bible study do not change our circumstances; these things change us. They renew us. And as we are being changed and renewed, we receive supernatural strength and are able to mount up to God on eagles’ wings higher and higher. Keep serving others in love while you wait upon the Lord. Keep going to Mass. Keep yielding your life to the Spirit of Christ moment by moment so that you will become more and more like Him. This is what it means to wait upon the Lord. This is what it means to pursue faith.
When I find myself teaching the Word of God to others, even though I may be going through a difficult time in my own life, it is because I am doing so in the power and strength of the Lord.
My strength fell by the wayside long ago. Brothers and sisters in Christ, it is no different with you. God has given each of us gifts, talents, skills, and abilities which He desires us to use in order to edify others and build up His Church. The Bible doesn’t instruct us to serve others in love only when our lives are devoid of trials, hardships, and difficulties. We are to serve others always, just as Christ did. But if we do not learn the principle of actively waiting upon the Lord, we will find our service to Christ, our prayer and devotional lives, and our attendance at Mass being interrupted time and time again. In these last days, we cannot afford to allow Satan to break our stride. God has a purpose for our lives. We have a destiny to fulfill - a potential in Christ to reach. But we can only fulfill that purpose and destiny if we learn to embrace and apply the principle of waiting upon God in our daily lives.
God has given us a promise. They that wait upon Him (actively, and not passively) shall renew their strength. Let’s make up our minds to believe. Let’s take the Most High at His Word, and let’s open our wings... ...and fly.