Waiting On God

From Guest Blogger Ian Toone

“Every great movement of God can be traced to a kneeling figure.” Dwight L. Moody

Isaiah 40:31 – “Those who wait on the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

We often misunderstand what ‘waiting on God’ means. We might liken it to the experience of waiting for a bus that never seems to come; filling in time at an airport whilst waiting for the flight to be called; or childhood memories of the seemingly interminable wait for our birthday or Christmas. All these situations can be boring and frustrating, but waiting on God is not supposed to be like that at all.

When Isaiah speaks of waiting, he uses a word that is far from boring or passive. The Hebrew word is ‘qavah‘, and it contains several nuances of meaning. The first is ‘to bind together’, as with a cord, so that when we are encouraged to ‘wait’ on the Lord, we are being encouraged to connect to Him and to intertwine ourselves with Him. 

The second aspect of meaning from this word is ‘to expect’. When a dog knows that his owner is preparing his food, he sits and waits, but it is not a passive kind of waiting at all – his body quivers with excitement and he drools from his mouth in anticipation, because he knows what is coming. Do we wait on God with similar excitement and expectation at the wonder of meeting with Him?

Another aspect of the word is ‘to wait on’. Think of the people of Downton Abbey. They lived a luxurious lifestyle in a large stately home and had numerous servants working for them. At the sumptuous dinners in their huge dining room, there would be a butler and probably two others waiting on the family. These waiters didn’t need to be told what to do – they merely watched their master and knew what was required of them.

The last meaning of this word translated as ‘wait’ is ‘to look for’. God promises the people of Israel in Jeremiah 29:13-14: ‘You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you’. Do we actively seek the Lord with all our hearts as we set aside time to be with Him and as we read His word?

Waiting on the Lord is, therefore, not a passive thing at all. If we can learn to wait on Him in the full meaning of the Hebrew word – being bound together with Him, expectant that He will meet with us, waiting on Him and for Him, seeking Him with all our hearts – we will find ourselves soaring on wings like eagles. Our strength will be renewed and we will be transformed!


“Lord God, please forgive us if we’ve not been waiting on You in the way that Your Word tells us to. Please teach us to wait on You with expectancy that You will meet with us as we seek You with all our hearts. In Jesus’ name. Amen!”