I love when the Holy Spirit brings remembrance of something to you 25-30 years after you first heard it. In a teaching I attended in the mid-80s by Alan Redpath, the late great British preacher, he said something profound in his prayer that did not make an impact on me until quite recently. He said, “Waiting is always winning.” In one ear and out the other was how this simple phrase was received. The speaker gave no explanation and offered no exposition. I did not initially receive this insightful prayer as a word from the Lord – prophecy in its purest form. Now these many years later the phrase has become a reminder of the work of the Holy Spirit in the sanctification process of the disciple following in the steps of Jesus his Messiah. Waiting on God is winning because He is all-knowing and as the extra-Biblical proverb says, “Timing is everything.” The Biblical principle that waiting is winning is the truth that launched this meditative study. To be a follower of the Christ is about winning His way, and His way is by waiting.
The Bible gives an example of the perils of not waiting. The beginning of the downfall of King Saul was his impatience with the LORD, and His divine timing. Saul’s lack of waiting on God consequently led to pride, which is contrary to being poor in spirit (the beginning of discipleship). Impatience is not waiting. Impatience leads to pride because it leads to control, and control of the self takes from the Lord God. This is what we need to comprehend and allow the Holy Spirit to work on if we want to develop into people of Christian character. Waiting is giving control over to God and not hoarding it for ourselves.
It will become evident the Bible uses waiting to describe an act and attitude of prayer and worship, and we will look at many examples of this. Waiting is also used to describe a lifestyle from which believers naturally wait for the promises of God to be fulfilled in their lives. This character trait is our objective in this study as we learn what Scripture says about waiting on God. It will be our premise that waiting in prayer, waiting in worship, and waiting as an attitude of our heart are to be practiced concurrently and continually. This is an essential to Christian maturity. When it comes to patience I am the chief of sinners and openly confess my sin. And like you I want to become like Jesus. Better late than never for myself, but sooner for you because you can choose to allow God to begin to transform you along with myself today.
Prayer is the easiest way to express waiting. But there is something so critical to our understanding of waiting in prayer that it needs to be discussed before we go any farther. Before we look at the Scripture references concerning waiting prayer, we need to ask, “What is the objective of waiting prayer?” Please understand this: prayer in the waiting sense of the term is a selfless act not a selfish one; the objective of this prayer is to line up our wills to the will of the Father. This kind of prayer is not an exercise to get what we want, but to receive what God wants to give us. When we talk about waiting in prayer it is not about achieving, but about receiving. People, who are poor in spirit, or possessors of the character of Christ, know that it is all about the Lord and they have no power to change the will of the Father. The Lord is good, loving, and all-knowing; and our response is to wait on Him – it is for our benefit – that is why God is described as benevolent. The blessed life that God wants to bestow on us is only possible when we wait on Him.
The American Heritage College Dictionary defines wait as “to remain or rest in expectation.” Most definitions of the words rendered wait in the Bible hold to a similar definition. All the different words will be explored and explained with some meditating thoughts to make the text most useful in helping us understand what waiting on God is and how we apply our understanding to our lives. The person of character is a person who has learned to wait on God.
What is your definition of waiting on God? Has something you read today changed how you look at waiting? Are you prepared for what is ahead? Pray today that the Lord prepares your heart as you seek Him in studying, and waiting, in His Word.
I finish this introductory meditation with another quote from the late great Alan Redpath: “There is nothing so small that we do not honor God by asking His guidance in it; or insult Him by taking it into our own hands.”