We know the Lords ways are not our ways. His ways are much higher, and designed to bless and benefit us. To wait on the Lord means to be content and patient because we actually believe what the scriptures say, and are attempting to actually do the things the Lord taught. We can cling to God and resting in His love and wisdom. This means trusting His timing. This element of waiting, however can be the most difficult aspect of all for two reasons.
(1) Contentment and patience are difficult because they are so contrary to fallen humanity and how we naturally think even after we are regenerated by the Spirit of God. It takes constant renewal in the Word, fellowship with the Lord, and growth through struggle to change.
(2) Contentment and patience fly directly in the face of the cunning delusion Satan constantly seeks to pass off on the human race, namely, that man does not need God and can find security, satisfaction, and significance apart from the Lord through his own solutions and human wisdom.
To wait on the Lord means learning to be content and patient as we cling to God in a fallen world and rest in His love and wisdom (Phil. 4:11). We are assured that someday we will have all the tears wiped away, and that all things will become new again (Rev. 21:4). The key is to exercise faith here and now, while we struggle through this fallen world.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18. Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. 17 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
On the one hand, being content and patient means learning to be independent of the things we think we need for our significance, security, or satisfaction in life.
Philippians 4:11-13 Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
On the other hand, it means learning to trust in the Lord in the midst of a fallen world. It means resting in His goodness and being committed to His purposes and glory no matter how things seem at the moment. Though believers generally recognize Satan’s big lie for what it is—a lie—we still tend to buy into part of his sales pitch concerning his substitutes and counterfeits for happiness and fulfillment.
(1) We tell ourselves we can’t be happy unless we have certain of the details of life—a particular kind of car, or home, or furnishings for our home, etc.
(2) We believe the lie that we can’t be significant and find meaning in life unless we obtain the position we are coveting, unless we are accepted by a particular group of people, or unless certain people respect our opinions. (You fill in the blank.)
When we believe these kinds of lies, we become discontent. Then, in our state of discontent and false belief, we turn from waiting on the Lord, we resort to our own wisdom, various causes, distractions, and prevailing norms of the day. We reach into our own little bag of tricks to get what we want. Regarding this Jeremiah wrote:
Jeremiah 2:12-13 “Be appalled, O heavens, at this, And shudder, be very desolate,” declares the LORD. 13 “For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, The fountain of living waters, To hew for themselves cisterns, Broken cisterns, That can hold no water.”
One of the greatest evidences of our fallenness is our propensity to seek to get from this world what only God can give us. God has given us all things to enjoy (1 Tim. 6:17), but never apart from Him. Without the Lord, even in the midst of great prosperity, life becomes like parched ground and we end up like a gerbil on a wheel, running, running, running, but going nowhere and facing only discontent and boredom.
To wait on the Lord means to learn contentment with His provision and timing in any given situation through fellowship with God— following Him, knowing Him, clinging to Him, and trusting Him because He is trustworthy.