Waiting on God

Waiting on God is an essential spiritual discipline for the Christian artist. It goes against every fiber of our being to wait for anything, let alone God, whom we cannot see, touch or feel.

So why wait? What are we waiting for? What possible good can come from waiting? Is it not merely a waste of time, a pointless spiritual exercise for the overly zealous?
No, most definitely not.

They That Wait Upon the Lord
Acrylic on Yupo
Sara Joseph

They that Wait, Acrylic on Yupo, Sara Joseph

"But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew [their] strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint."Is 40:31

I am no expert on waiting on God, being as much a product of this culture as most of you are. I too am impatient, restless and more prone to act instead of waiting for anything, or anyone.

However, I love God's word and have learned to heed it. When I do, what I learn is so fabulous that I return eager for more - eager to learn, to grow and to experience far more than I ever have before! The little that I experience and understand makes me hungry for more.

The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit, who is a gentle and patient teacher, will work with anyone with a sincere and willing heart. When I have sometimes been less than willing, I've learned quickly how to change my attitude to ensure that I qualify and you can too.

In the Bible, waiting on God is commanded for many situations: for deliverance, for retribution, for reward, for the successful harvest of crops… In fact, haste is treated as a prime character trait of fools. How often we rush into projects and make snap judgements on people and circumstances! Even our conversations fall far short of God's ideal. The quick and "witty repartee" is not something that God esteems. Instead, He advocates a slow and measured response to all of life, leaning less on our wits and completely on Him and His ways. This response is not only far out of reach for someone like me, who is cheerily impulsive, but it is downright impossible to accomplish despite my best efforts! Thankfully, I don't have to. Jesus, if allowed, will work through me, if I permit Him the time and the will to do so. That is where waiting on God comes in.

As artists, I know that you will want to know most about waiting on the Lord for all things pertaining to our gifts, talents, abilities and resources.

Each year during this Christmas season, as our already busy lives become even more hectic, I find myself rebelling. Expectations are high for a picture perfect Christmas, for a meaningful holiday and for all those intangibles that we have a hard time defining even to ourselves…the stuff of tinsel and glitter.

Yet in this season, when I choose to step aside and wait on God, the rewards have been sweet. If you feel like it might be a waste of time, remember that the Bible promises that no one who waits on God will be disappointed.

"Yea, let none that wait on thee be ashamed:" (disappointed) Ps 25:3

But what, you may ask, am I waiting for? While there are times when we wait for something specific: an answer to prayer, a change in some circumstance etc. Those seasons of waiting are not what I'm writing about here. Instead, it is a different sort of waiting on God, where I come to Him with no agenda. I merely want to hear from Him. I still myself long enough to understand Him better, to acknowledge His goodness in my life and to ask for wisdom to face my tomorrows yet to come. This kind of waiting on God, the Bible promises, will bring a specific result. I will be strengthened.

"Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD." Ps 27:14

By faith, I can trust that it will come to pass, whether I feel like it at the moment on not. Waiting on God is not then a pointless exercise. In fact, I am promised that there will be rich rewards for determining to wait on God. The very act of choosing to wait is pleasing to God.

"The LORD [is] good unto them that wait for him, to the soul [that] seeketh him.
v 26 [It is] good that [a man] should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD."Lam 3:25

Pen and Ink
Sara Joseph

Soar, Pen and Ink, Sara Joseph

I pray and tell God that I am waiting on Him with no particular agenda but to hear. I am awed by the privilege of coming before Him, knowing that He sees and hears me. How I love Him! I trust that He will reward my waiting as promised. I determine to not act on any of the issues that are pressing on me, until I've heard from Him. If there are specific issues, I present them before Him.

"Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou [art] the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day." Ps 25:5

It was in this attitude of waiting that Isaiah penned the incredible verse below.

"And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this [is] our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this [is] the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.(Yeshua)" Is 25:9

Wow! Isaiah described the joy and rejoicing in God's "salvation" - the reward for waiting. He had no way of knowing that hundreds of years after he wrote this verse, that the yearning and waiting of humanity would culminate in the coming of Jesus! The Hebrew word Isaiah actually used for "salvation" is Yeshua, or Jesus!

All that we need, or ever will need, is to be found in Jesus. It reminds me of one of my Christmas favorites Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring by Johann Sebastian Bach.

Here is an extremely creative version of it. Enjoy!

As I've waited on God in faith, God has rewarded me with much. Sometimes it is the sweetness of His presence, at other times it is specific instruction or insight. Because my waiting on God is an act of faith, I trust that not one moment of it is wasted. I have not been disappointed. God is truly faithful to His word to perform it.

During this busy Christmas season and before you step into another year, take some time to wait on God for His insight, favor and blessing for the year to come. Then you will be far more fruitful than you ever dreamed possible!

Return from Waiting on God to to read about another spiritual discipline.