Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

Wait on the Lord

It's part of the life of faith.

And it is there I choose to await His promise – in which, at least, He will never fail – as it is stated in the Gospel: “They will come from the east and from the west and will recline at table” with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob: so we believe that believers will come from the whole world.

  - Patrick, Confession, 5th century

Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
On You I wait all the day.

  - Psalm 25.5

That’s a curious word, “wait.”

Who among us likes to have to wait for anything? Having to wait implies impatience, inactivity, perhaps even wasting time – as in waiting in line at the DMV, waiting for your turn at the doctor’s office, or waiting for your car to be inspected or repaired.

We get impatient at restaurants waiting for the waiters to wait on us as promptly as we think they should. When they’re slow to greet us, hardly ever check to see if our drinks need refreshing, don’t come around to ask how we’re doing or if we need anything, we think such people aren’t earning their keep. They’re not waiting like we think waiters should – actively, attentively, efficiently, and with a view to our needs and pleasure, not their own. And they’re making us wait in all the ways we don’t want to! We expect our waiters actually, you know, to wait – on us.

We just don’t like to wait for anything.

But the Scriptures over and over urge us to wait on the Lord (cf. Ps. 27.14). Perhaps there is more to this discipline than we have thus far understood?

What does it mean to wait on the Lord? I hear Christians say this all the time, when asked about something related to their walk with or work for the Lord, “Well, we’re just waiting on the Lord.” You know what they mean: they’re laying low, hanging out, busying themselves with this and that, and keeping their eyes open to see if the Lord might show up and give them some direction, meet some need, open some door of opportunity, or whatever.

God’s job is to do the blessing. Our job is just to, well, wait until He does.

When Patrick said he was going to wait in Ireland until the Lord brought in believers from all over the country, he didn’t mean he was just going to sit around and do nothing. God had promised to bring many people to Jesus Christ. Patrick understood that this promise would be realized as he waited on the Lord in Ireland. But he didn’t lapse into a season of impatience, distraction, or inactivity. For Patrick, waiting on the Lord was more like what we expect of waiters in a restaurant – attention to and active work to carry out God’s wishes and meet His expectations.

Patrick was an active waiter. He believed the promises of God, that these expressed His desires as well as His expectations for His people. So Patrick got busy waiting on the Lord, to fulfill those desires and realize those expectations. He prepared himself, prayed, evangelized, preached and taught, trained young men and women, and started churches. He perhaps understood the discipline of waiting like the apostles did, who, when they were commanded to go back to Jerusalem and wait for the promise of the Father, didn’t just sit around doing nothing, busying themselves with lesser matters, and looking out the window every now and then to see whether the Holy Spirit had arrived. They understood waiting to mean a kind of active seeking of the promise of the Lord, so they went back to Jerusalem and committed to ten days of continuous prayer and leadership preparation.

So waiting on the Lord is an active discipline. We are waiting on the Lord and His promises when we are working as though everything depended on us – focused on His Word and promises, seeking Him in prayer, doing our research and preparation, encouraging one another, reaching out to the lost, teaching and training, and all the rest.

God must do the work that produces the fruit we seek – full enjoyment of God’s covenant promises. But we must get in motion and busy ourselves with the tasks He has assigned us, so that, through the energy of our waiting, He may do the work He plans and intends to do.

So, what are you waiting for?

For Reflection
1. What are you waiting on the Lord for today? How are you waiting?

2. What does it mean for you to “get in motion” in your Personal Mission Field?

Psalm 27.11-14 (Joanna: Immortal, Invisible God Only Wise)
Lord, teach us; Lord, lead us because of our foes!
Hear, Lord, when we plead for release from their woes.
Had we not believed all Your goodness to see,
our hearts sorely grieved and in turmoil would be.

Wait, wait on the Lord; persevere in His grace.
Hold fast to His Word; seek His radiant face.
Be strong, set your heart to abide in His Word;
His grace He imparts; therefore, wait on the Lord.

Lord, help me to be a better waiter on You, because as I wait on You I am…

What to do with your wait time
Have you ordered your free copy of Ray of Sun (click here)? The poems in this book include “Wait Time”, a helpful meditation on the value of learning to wait – especially on the Lord. Order two copies, and share one with a friend.

Please prayerfully consider making a gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe. Only God can move you to do this, and we believe He intends to support this ministry from within the ranks of those who are served by it. If this includes you, please seek the Lord in this matter. You can click here to donate online with your credit card or through PayPal, or send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.

T. M. Moore, Principal
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All Psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore

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