Waiting is a Holy Posture

Last month I talked about the difference between waiting for and waiting on. I explored Psalm 104 and the posture of those God has created. In this post I want to further explore this kind of posture.

Consider these passages:

“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.” Psalm 130:5-6

“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” Psalm 27:14

“It will be said on that day, ‘Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.'” Isaiah 25:9

“Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but 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.” Isaiah 40:31

“But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.” Micah 7:7

“For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” Romans 8:22-25

The first thing to notice in all these passages is the object of our waiting. It’s the Lord. This is why I call waiting a holy posture. The late R.C. Sproul defined holiness this way: “Whatever is holy carries a peculiar character. It has been separated from a common use.” The vessels used in the temple weren’t holy in and of themselves. They became holy as they were consecrated and set apart for use in worshiping the Lord. And just like those vessels, our waiting can transcend the common, it can go beyond the world’s definition. The world despises waiting. It actively seeks to avoid it. (Where do you think Amazon Prime came from? And the FastPass at Disney World?) But if we learn the Bible’s kind of waiting, a consecrated waiting whose object is the Lord, then our waiting is transformed into something completely different. It becomes holy.

What about the posture of those who wait? In Psalm 130, waiting is an eager seeking, like one who has been up all night straining his eyes for the first rosy inklings of sunrise. In Psalm 27, David seems to be preaching to himself in the midst of real physical danger. Instead of focusing on the need for physical strength to face his enemies, he exhorts himself to have the courage and strength of heart to wait on the Lord.

In Isaiah 25, the prophet speaks of a future time. His waiting is filled with a joyful and confident exultation that’s rooted in God’s promise of salvation. Fifteen chapters later he renews the theme. In Isaiah 40, he contrasts the short-lived vigor of youth with the steadfast endurance of those who wait for the Lord. Waiting produces perseverance.

In chapter 7 of Micah, the prophet decries the ungodliness around him and the worthlessness of putting confidence in any man. He then describes his waiting as an abrupt shift in his outlook. He will turn his face to the Lord and wait with dogged determination.

Then in Romans 8 we see a kind of waiting that even as it groans, it brims with eschatological certainty.

Waiting then is an active trust, a promise-fueled hope that looks forward. It’s a consecrated demeanor, a set apart attitude. It’s a sanctified disposition and a God-fearing frame of mind. Those who wait on the Lord lean in and look up, always desiring a better country. (Hebrews 11:13-16)

Waiting is a holy posture.

This kind of waiting, this holy posture that we can cultivate in our own hearts day by day as we meditate on his promises and abide in his grace, will not go unrewarded. In any and every situation we face, waiting for and waiting on the Lord can slowly transform our fear and anxiety into a settled confidence and an expectant hope that God is who he says he is and will continue to be faithful in everything he does.

“Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.” Psalm 34:5

“Those who wait for me shall not be put to shame.” Isaiah 49:23

“Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame…” Psalm 25:3

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