God’s Promises – What does Waiting on God Mean ?

I’ve met many people who have received a promise from God. They eagerly await the fulfilment of this promise only to be disappointed time and time again. I’ve seen good friends lose faith and hope. I’ve heard of pastors who gave up the cause and walk away. I’ve seen Christian singles give up waiting for the person God wants for them, and settle for their choice – which rarely works.

We can find an unlimited number of books that discuss God’s promises, what we can expect from God, and, about his bounty. These are backed up by scripture verses and bible quotes. However, all relationships have two sides. Our relationship with God is not meant to be one sided. We have a roll to play in seeing that we experience the best God has for us in our Christian walk.

Waiting on God

Many Christians think that waiting on God means just going on with our lives, attending church, maybe reading the bible every day. They miss the whole point. To understand, we need to go back to the 1500s when most of the English versions of the bible were made, and the term ‘waiting on’ had a distinctive meaning.

In those days, it was customary for a servant to wait on their Lord or Lady. This often meant spending the whole day waiting for the noble Lord (or Lady) to request something. The servant may stand for hours. The Lord never once thought of the servant’s comfort. They did not take a lunch break. They never went home to take care of things. The servant’s life was unimportant. Their only purpose was to stand close enough to their Lord, so that they were available within a moment’s notice.

The servant was totally immersed in the Lord’s life. They followed him around. They waited on him. They spent their days in his home. When he travelled, they travelled, in many cases. Nothing was considered too great a sacrifice, and no task was considered too menial.

Most important, the servant never complained. They never demanded their rights. They never expected a reward or affirmation and praise. They just quietly lived their life in the shadow of their Lord. In fact, they learned to understand their Lord’s needs and anticipate them. They knew their Lord’s desires and meet them without being asked. They became important to their Lord.

We miss this meaning when we ‘wait on God’. We go about our lives as if he is a mere afterthought. We focus on his promise and expect Him to ‘wait on Us’. We expect Him to put our needs first.

Can we do any less than to live our lives in the shadow of our Lord? Is there any greater calling than to wait on us? Have we ever considered the cost? Because, the cost is not great. This time of waiting changes us. It makes us fit for God’s service. It teaches us what to do with our gifts once we receive them. We learn to be less selfish and self-centered, and be more God centered.

Slowly our rough edges are chipped away and before we know it, we are starting to mimic our Lord. We become Christ like. We learn to understand him, to anticipate what he wants. We learn to discern the difference between our desires and his. And one day, we are ready.

On that day, we learn a very important thing. We learn that the promise is not as important to us as it was before. We’ve turned our focus from the promise, to God. We’ve changed the way we think. We no longer worry about our rights, what is fair, but we go about God’s work. And we can look back and see that God has been waiting all along to fulfill his promise – he just needed to wait until our Lord became more important to us than our own desires and needs.

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