Waiting On

We all know what it means to wait for something. If we’re parents, we have a front row seat to our children’s frustration with it. Year after year, we hear the cries of impatience: “How long until my birthday?” and, “I can’t wait until Christmas!” and then, “When can I make my own decisions?”

This isn’t the kind of waiting I’m talking about. This is waiting for. The dictionary defines this kind of waiting. It means to remain inactive until something expected happens. But I want to talk about waiting on. This is not so easily defined, and is a kind of waiting that goes directly against the spirit of the age.

Psalm 104 speaks of this kind of waiting. But first, it lays an important foundation. The psalmist extols the greatness of God as the Creator and Sustainer of all things. Ponder these actions ascribed to God:

He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters…

He makes the clouds his chariot; he rides on the wings of the wind…

He set the earth on its foundations…

The mountains rose, the valleys sank down to the place that you appointed for them. You set a boundary that they may not pass….

You water the mountains…

You cause the grass to grow…

The trees of the Lord are watered abundantly, the cedars of Lebanon that he planted…

He made the moon to mark the seasons…

There go the ships, and Leviathan, whom you formed

After establishing the foundational truth of God as Creator and Sustainer, the psalmist goes on to describe the posture of the things God created and sustains.

These all look to you, to give them their food in due season. When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things. When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust. When you send forth your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the ground. Psalm 104:27-30

Do you see the difference between God and his creation? He gives everything. The creation receives. He is the Source. His creation looks to him. He is fullness, we need to be filled.

Psalm 104 reveals the foundational truth that rests beneath what this “waiting on” means. Andrew Murray, in his book Waiting on God, says it like this:

“It is God who gives all: let this faith enter deeply into our hearts. Before we fully understand all that is implied in our waiting upon God, and before we have even been able to cultivate the habit, let the truth enter our souls. Waiting on God, unceasing and entire dependence upon Him, is, in heaven and earth, the only true faith, the one unalterable and all-comprehensive expression for the true relationship to the ever-blessed One in whom we live.”

The spirit of this age is one of independent self-generation. We don’t need anyone or anything. We create our own reality. We define our own existence. We establish our own significance. But anyone who has lived on this earth for more than 2 seconds knows that’s a lie. But it’s the one we keep telling ourselves and believing. The toddler screams, “I can do it myself!” The teenager groans, “Stop telling me what to do!” And the adult preaches to herself, “I am enough!”

For most of 2020 I have been dealing with a foot injury. It has severely restricted my running plans. I thought I had put it behind me, but it flared back up recently. Now I can’t run at all without pain. It’s confusing and frustrating to say the least. Those who know me know I love to run. I have availed myself of almost every method of rehabilitation. What can I do? How can I fix it? I am waiting for healing to occur. But am I waiting on God? Have I forgotten the foundational truths of Psalm 104?

I can’t. I don’t have the ability or the authority to fix this. I am not in control. This has also been the lesson of 2020, if we’ve been wise enough to see it. We are not in control. We can’t fix it. We are helpless.

With all the mess that 2020 brought, and with my foot problem, I need to go back to the foundational truths that never change. I am the creature, he is the Creator. He is the Source. I am dependent on him and must look to him. I need grace to wait for, but more importantly, to wait on. This has been the truth all along, but I constantly forget.

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