Wait on the LORD

Isaiah 40:31Isaiah 40:31 is one of everyone’s favorite verses:

“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.”

I’ve heard so many explanations and applications of it. Mostly they are along this line: if you serve the LORD well, then you’ll have unlimited spiritual energy. So pray hard, spend time in meditation on God’s Word, “abide,” or whatever and then the Spirit will make you victorious. You’ll not be weary in well doing, not fainting when the pressure is crushing, not depressed when relationships fail, not alone when friends break off their support.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. Part of this is my new favorite musician: Jeff Johnson an outstanding Celtic style song writer/performer. There’s a mix of sadness, and hopeful determination in his music that touches deeply in me. His “Wait on the LORD” on the album Vespers: light unto LIGHT is a hauntingly simple rendition of the song.

 As I reflect on the verse, I realize that the original context is the nation of Israel headed off into captivity because of their sin. The chapter begins with “comfort ye my people” promising the coming of Messiah as well as restoration. It ends with “wait on the LORD.” The point is that while you are in the place of hardness, like Bablylon, the thing to do is wait for the day of the LORD’s coming. Wait with feeling and proclamation of the greatness of the LORD. Wait hopefully, knowing that He is still LORD. Wait actively doing the worshipful activities in the congregation and in the world. Wait sadly, feeling the loss, often tearfully, with sadness bring life to a stop at times. Wait until He moves, for in that day renewal will happen. Wait trustingly but waitingly for all my activism, there is nothing I can do for renewing the lost. Wait, doing good where ever I can, mediating His grace in other seemingly hopeless situations. In fact I’ve seen three absolutely miraculous renewal of relations in the recent past. I know it can happen, so I wait. Persistenting in hope, prayer, faith an love.

Perhaps the most thrilling example of waiting is the news that Susan is pregnant (see previous post). We didn’t even know we were waiting. Sherry and I are still reeling with super happiness. Of course our plans have changed and we’ll head back for a quick visit to Kansas City on November 30, to hold a little tyke.

This past week, I preached “dragon wars” on Revelation 12 (today), turned in the final stuff on the second book, Death by Love,  found out I’m part of the presidential search team for Western, worked through many paper drafts for my students, and enjoyed being married a lot. Next week, it will be grading exams, and heading to Seaside to speak at the North American Baptist annual meetings. I’ll get to enjoy time with Dee Duke as the first speaker and get down to Cannon Beach to play with Nicole and Joy (I know that surprises everyone!)

Late addition:  Jeff will be at Village on December 9 for a Celtic Christmas Vespers concert. Mark your calendar!


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