“They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength.” Isaiah 40:31
Trusting God is not comfortable. It doesn’t belong in a Hallmark card picture — a colorful valley, a quaint village, a church steeple, with a sentimental slogan. Trusting God can be extremely uncomfortable, even painful.
Rabbi David Kimchi, one of the early Hebrew lexicographers, defined the verb “wait” in Isaiah 40:31 with reference to the medieval German verb for “twist.” That is, waiting on the Lord can involve tension and pressure and stress. How could it be otherwise? Waiting is pent-up irresolution. It is not a light thing to wait trustingly for the Lord:
“Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, . . . so our eyes look to the Lord our God, till he has mercy upon us.” Psalm 123:2
“My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.” Psalm 130:6
“I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.” Psalm 143:6
My point is this. You may be going through hell right now. You may be bewildered, gasping, frightened. But that doesn’t mean you aren’t trusting God. It might mean you are trusting God.
Isaiah really understood something. He understood that it’s in this tension that our strength is renewed. How so? There is something about coming to the end of ourselves and our own strength and wisdom — that’s when our hearts finally crack open, and the love of God pours in. When we have nothing of our own left, when nothing will suffice but that which is directly and immediately of God, that’s when God alone is our sufficiency, and we find him to be so.
-Ray Orlund is Lead Pastor of Immanuel Church in Nashville, Tennessee and a Council member with The Gospel Coalition. You can read more of his thoughts at http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/rayortlund/
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