Waiting on, and Hoping in, the Lord

04/26/13

While studying through Psalms recently, my eye was drawn to the phrase “wait on the Lord.” There are endless promises for those who wait on the Lord, but I am always amazed at how little I actually wait on God. 

 
I usually find I am waiting on other circumstances in life: waiting to graduate from college, waiting for a better job, waiting to get to a more “financially stable” place, waiting for the right man . . . waiting, waiting, waiting. It seems I’m hardly ever content in my current circumstances. I don’t think it’s wrong to want our situations to change, but I do think our problem is where we are placing our hope.
 
It’s almost comical that this is what I ended up studying before our team left for Malawi, considering we had a little less than two months’ time to raise support for the trip, and that required reliance on God for financial provision. While this was a wonderful testimony of His faithfulness, the provision came so quickly I didn’t realize how little I had to wait. It was instant gratification. I knew I was going. But the lesson in waiting hit me full-force when we started building relationships with Malawians.
 
In a New American Standard Bible I read where the word “wait” is used, there is a note that says “or hope in.” Waiting is often the same as hoping. Here in Malawi, the people constantly wait on, trust in, and hope in God for the most vital needs. Their income, clothing, education, and the food on their tables come as a direct result of this hope—and they’re vocal about it! 
 
I don’t often think of what I wait on as what I place my hope in, but I find it to be true in many circumstances. All throughout grade school, I had rehearsals after school. I can remember many times I found myself outside the performing arts building waiting for my mom to pick me up. Waiting longer than was absolutely necessary was always frustrating to me, so I would sit with my back to the brick wall and watch the first point that I knew I could see her car coming down the road. Waiting for me was a very active thing as I kept my eyes focused and looking for my one hope to get home—my mom’s car.
 
In this same way, I find that when I am waiting on something, it is usually because that is what I have placed my hope for peace and joy in. It is what I have my eyes and my heart fixed on. But even if I get to whichever place I’m hoping to be, I’ll find something else I’m not satisfied with and create a new hope to wait on. 
 
One of the many things the people of Malawi taught me was how fulfilling hope in Jesus is. Their hope in Him feeds them, both physically with the food on their tables, and spiritually, with an overabundance of joy and absolute peace about life. They believe and trust in His power to provide the best for them. They celebrate in their present joy and provision—even if life alone is the only thing they have.
 
No matter how bad our circumstances, how undesirable our situation, Jesus is enough for us. I don’t usually believe that, but I think it is worth fighting to choose to believe this and walk it out.
 
One of many prayers upon my return from Malawi is that I begin to make Jesus the thing we can’t stop thinking of. That we, as a church, would be people who hope in Him and Him alone and truly begin to experience the reality that Jesus is enough for us, even if our situation never changes. May we begin to wait on the Lord alone and keep our eyes on Him, for those who wait on Him will never be ashamed, their strength will be renewed and they will not grow weary. (Ps 25:3, Is 40:31).
 
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