Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Reward of Waiting Diligently

I waited patiently for the LORD;
And He inclined to me,
And hear my cry.
(Psalm 40:1)

Young‘s Literal Translation has, “I have diligently expected Jehovah, And He inclineth to me, and heareth my cry.”

The Hebrew for “waited patiently” is the word for ”wait,” qavah, used twice. This double use is a common Hebrew idiom used for emphasis. We might say it like this: “I waited with waiting.” The psalm writer was intent upon waiting for the LORD.

Now, the word for “wait,” qavah, does not speak of idleness or laziness. Nor is it about waiting in speculation, to see whether or not a particular thing will happen. Rather, it is about expectation. The psalm writer waits with great intent, fully expecting that the Lord is going to come through with the answer he needs.

In other words, it is all about faith. As the author of Hebrews said, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for” (Hebrews 11:1). This hope is not the “maybe so, maybe not” variety. It is positive expectation, even joyful expectation. Faith is what gives substance — the underlying reality — to such expectation.

Faith involves patience. That is the point the author of Hebrews makes, both before and after chapter 11. Many Christians want faith to immediately manifest its fruit, but very often, there is a waiting period. That is because faith is like a seed. It takes a little time for the seed to germinate, to put out its roots, to bring forth the stalk and the ripening fruit. Sometimes it happens very quickly, but often it takes time. That is why patience is so important.

So the psalm writer says, “I waited patiently for the LORD.”

If we continue in patient faith, it will always brings its reward. As the Word of God promises:

But those who wait on 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)
The psalm writer waited diligently for the Lord, and look what happened: “And He inclined to me, and heard my cry.” The Lord heard and answered.

Just as the waiting was not in idleness, but in faith and expectation, so too, God was not idly observing, but focusing His attention with great intent. Faith in God’s promises always pleases Him, and when we turn to Him, He will never turn us away, but will show us His great love and mercy. When we are in trouble, as the psalm writer here was, He will deliver us.

Many Christians call on the Lord in time of trouble or distress, but they often do not know how to wait in expectation, so they give up when the answer does not quickly appear. Jesus promised, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7). But the Greek tense of the verbs “ask,” “seek,” and “knock,” depict a continuing action. That is, it involves patience, a faith that hangs in there? How long are we to ask, seek and knock? Until we receive what we are asking, find what we are seeking, and have the door we are knocking upon opened up to us. In other words, we are to wait with diligent faith and patient expectation.

Waiting on the Lord is not an act of idleness, but an exercise of faith and expectation. Ask, seek, knock. Then diligently watch for the Lord to answer, and you will not be disappointed.