“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.”
As I gathered myself yesterday morning to begin the week, I began to think through all the things I needed to do this week. Instead of getting up to hid the ground running, I decided to lay in bed and meditate on the Lord and pray a little bit. My personality is such that I am very driven in what I do. It is a habit of mine to plan out my day down to five minute increments as I don’t want to waste a moment doing frivolous things. This also protects me from idle time which often produces either sinful thoughts or slothful behavior—both of which I abhor. I was reminded this morning of what Piper said in a conversation about his sabbatical due to his cancer. He mentioned that he “found rest in productivity.” I heartedly agree with this sentiment as the times I feel at most rest is when I most be used to serve God and honor him in my life, marriage, studies, etc.
However, with my mind constantly running and my heart passionately pushing me onward, I find it hard sometimes to simply sit still. I know this sounds silly, but what I kept on going back to in my meditation of Scripture was passage that kept speaking of waiting on the Lord and being still. The spiritual discipline of silence, solitude, and stillness is much needed in my life today along with a steadied waiting on the Lord. Waiting on God is no passive matter, as I have found that it requires a disposition of dependence on God as well as a determination to remove all distractions from my mind. The Psalmist gives us several admonitions to wait on the Lord, such as
Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!
Wait for the Lord and keep his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land.”
Moreover, the Psalmist gives us wonderful expressions of such waiting:
Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.
Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.
But for you, O Lord, do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.
“And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.”
I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry.
I will thank you forever, because you have done it. I will wait for your name, for it is good, in the presence of the godly.
For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.
For God alone, O my soul, waits in silence, for my hope is from him.
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.
I share these verses about waiting on God because we live in a day where waiting is not appreciated. It seems that we are in a world where the clock is so wound up that life is experienced in a “hurry-up, no huddle” mode. The air we breathe is full of eschatological expectation, and the world we live in pressures us to jam as much into our day planners as possible.
A couple of things I have gleaned from waiting on God and being still in recent days. First, I am reminded that my day is to be spent on God’s agenda, not mine. It really doesn’t matter what I have to do, what deadlines I have to meet, or what people I must meet with. There is nothing more important that “abiding in the Vine.” Secondly, waiting on God shows that “my times are in his hands”, not mine. When life is a vapor, it is too short to be spent being in a hurry or acting in presumption. Thirdly, waiting expresses “not my will, but Thy will be done.” In order to know God’s will, one must know the God of the will, lest I find myself doing what “is right unto man.” Fourthly, waiting reveals God’s power, not mine. I do not want to live or minister in my own strength, but in the “strength which God provides,” Surely I will grow weak, 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). Finally, waiting results in God’s provision, not mine. The God who owns the cattle on a thousand hills, who feeds the ravens though they do not work, will take care of His own, for He is my portion in the land of the living. I need not worry, doubt, or be anxious about anything when I have waited on the Lord. Truly, he will hear my cry.
So in stillness I desire to wait on the Lord—to behold his sovereignty and supremacy as King over all the earth and King over all my life (Psalm 46:10). Whatever I do, I hope to know God’s agenda in God’ time, doing God’s will in God’s power through God’s provision. So if you see me in a hurry or acting like there is something more important than waiting patiently on the Lord, please pull me aside and remind me that our Good Shepherd will lead me beside still waters. And please pray for me that I would not be so presumptuous and self-independent to “live, move, and having my being” apart from divine, enabling grace and the fullness of the Spirit. More than watchman wait for the morning . . . I wait.