Those words usually strike terror into the heart of the child who hears them. “Just you wait” until Father gets home, or until we get home from the store so that punishment can be adequately applied. Waiting, waiting is a lesson to be learned, seldom if ever connoting something good. I can think of a few unpleasant, fearful waits: waiting while the mechanic fixes the problem on the airplane; waiting outside the O.R. for the surgeon to come out to speak with you; waiting for the court date; even waiting in stuck traffic on the Interstate when you have an urgent call of business.
I was stopped by these words in Psalm 27:14. “Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.”
There are three commands here – indicating things we are capable of doing because God does not command the impossible from us. The first is “Be strong.” This implies that we can make ourselves overcome our self-doubts. There is no room for the escape clause “This is too hard for me!” or “Let someone else go, do, fight the battle.” It also implies that the capability of strength is built into us as part of our packaging. Whether we believe it or not does not change our inherent potential to exhibit strength. Often the accumulation of life experiences has occluded this truth; God’s word indicates we must deal with them to uncover the strength within.
The second command in “Take heart.” This speaks of values to center our lives on – courage, joy, belief in God’s goodness, letting hope for the future rise within. All of these and more will push back depression and fear which sap our very beings of the strength needed for living, thus destroying our effectiveness in the Kingdom in the process.
Finally, we are told to “Wait” for the LORD.” This is where the real battle is for many, if not most of us. Once He has appeared or acted in a situation the battle is over, the problem resolved. It is the “wait” that reveals our hearts the most clearly. Our fears begin to leak out. Do I really trust Him? Is He really going to do something? Should I not step in here and solve the problem myself? We get into the helping-God-out mindset – and it is clear from the Isaac-Ishmael story that helping God out is not a good idea.
Waiting on the LORD is in truest sense a leaning on Him in full expectation of His fulfilled promise. It is to be a place of rest and assurance. That is ultimately a definition of faith. There is no terror in it.