One of the hardest things to do in life, I believe, is to wait on God. I think the reason for this is because we live in a society that wants everything in an instant. We live in a culture that has been conditioned to seek after instant gratification. I also believe that it has a lot to do with us having a wrong understanding of what the Bible means when it tells us to wait on God. There are well-known verses specifically that we tend to throw around whenever we are in this period or season of waiting on God. The most famous one is found in Isaiah 40:31 which says:
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.
The other verse is found in Psalm 27:14 which says:
Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!
When we read each one of these verses, we believe that we just sit around doing nothing while we wait on the Lord to do something. When in fact that is not what the writer of each of these passages is trying to convey. The context for the word “wait” in Hebrew in both of these verses is referring to an army outpost that is waiting for just the right moment to ambush the enemy. In order to get to this point the army has already prepared, trained, and has done everything to be ready to attack in a split second. They are not waiting on anyone to do something for them, they are waiting for the signal to advance in exactly the greatest moment of opportunity.
So the writer of these verses is telling us to not just wait around and do nothing, but while you are waiting you should be preparing. They are saying that the down time you have in your life should be used as prep time so that you are ready to advance in a given moment. You are not waiting on God to do something, you are waiting for Him to give you the signal that it is His appointed time where the greatest moment of opportunity lies.
Paul writes to Timothy instructing him that he needs to ready in season and out of season. (See 2 Timothy 4:2) Peter also tells us that we need to always be prepared. (See 1 Peter 3:15) While you are waiting, you need to make sure that you are ready and that you are prepared for whatever it is that God has in store for you. You need to take advantage of the time you have to study, train, and equip yourself for what God has called you to and not waste it.
The best illustration of this idea of waiting that I’ve heard came from Brad Cooper, Student Director at NewSpring Church. The Summer Olympics has just ended and Usain Bolt, arguably the fastest man to ever live, became the first person ever to win the gold medal in back to back Olympics in the 100m and 200m events. Bolt set the world record in the 100m with a time of 9.63 seconds. Now the Olympics only happens every four years. So during that time waiting, there is no telling how many hours Bolt put in the weight room preparing. There is no telling how many hours Bolt put in training during that time. There is no telling how many hours Bolt spent equipping himself for those 9.63 seconds. In order to set the world record in the 100m Bolt didn’t just sit around during those four years waiting for the next Olympics to come around, but he got himself ready and prepared.
Just like Bolt, you are going to have your 9.63 seconds. It might be an opportunity to lead a friend or family member to Christ. It might be an opportunity to encourage someone. It might be an opportunity to reach out your hand to someone in a time of need. It might be an opportunity to walk with someone through a time of hurting. It might be an opportunity lead someone through a struggle or addiction. Whatever your 9.63 seconds may be, Are You Ready?