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Yes, LORD, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.
Do you know what it’s like to wait for God? I expect you do if you’ve walked with the Lord for even a little while. We all experience the desire for God to act. We pray with expectation and hope, even fervor. Yet sometimes nothing happens. We pray again, trying to have faith that moves mountains. But, still, nothing happens. We begin to wonder if God is listening. We wonder why God doesn’t act, why he seems to be so frustratingly slow. Maybe we even begin to question our faith. We want to trust the Lord, but we find it hard to do so.
What will help us wait for God?
Isaiah 26 provides one answer to this question. As God’s people walk according to God’s laws, they wait for God. What helps them to do this? The latter part of verse 8 explains, “[Y]our name and renown are the desire of our hearts.” God’s name represents God’s revelation of his character, his identity. A paraphrase might read, “Our hearts are filled with who you are, Lord.” God’s renown, the Hebrew word could also be translated as “remembrance,” is the record of God’s actions throughout history. We might say, “We consistently remember all that you have done, Lord.”
So, then, what helps us wait for God? First, we are helped by letting God’s self-revelation fill our whole being. “Heart,” in this verse, is a translation of the Hebrew word nefesh, which is often rendered as soul. It refers to the whole, essential being of a person. So, the ability to wait upon God comes when we attend to how God has made himself known to us.
Second, we are helped to wait for God by remembering how God has acted in the past. To be sure, we begin by recalling God’s saving works in Scripture. But we can also remember how God has acted in our own lives, all the ways God has cared for us personally. This recollection stirs up within us a confidence in God’s trustworthiness and grace.
As Christians, God’s name and remembrance are focused in Jesus Christ. Jesus is God’s ultimate self-revelation, God’s number one way of helping us to know him. Moreover, in Jesus we see God’s ultimate salvation and are reassured of God’s love and grace. Thus, when God seems to be slow, we are empowered to wait because we trust that God is for us. And “if God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
Can you think of times in your life when it was hard to wait on God?
Are you in such a time right now?
What helps you to wait for God when God seems to be painfully slow?
Gracious God, we want to wait for you. We want to be patient and faithful. We want to trust you even when you don’t fulfill our expectations. But, as you know, sometimes this is hard. Sometimes, when you don’t act according to our wishes, we wonder what’s wrong. We worry that we don’t have enough faith. Or maybe we even doubt that you are there to hear us.
Yet, you have made yourself known to us, Lord. You have revealed your character, embodied in your name. You have acted time and again, showing your trustworthiness, love, and wisdom. Most of all, you have revealed who you are through Jesus, through the one who by grace has saved us.
Help us, Lord, to wait upon you. Help us to trust you. Help us to desire your name and your renown. Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentary: What does this mean for people’s daily work?
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