Waiting on the LORD
by Allan Knapp
“Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.“
There has been a meme on social media this past week: “Your grandparents were called to war. You’re being called to sit on the couch. You can do this.” An article in Sunday’s edition of the Lansing State Journal expanded on the idea that American culture “has been about getting up and going out to do what needs to be done – not staying home, being quiet and practicing what can look a whole lot like inaction.”
Isaiah 40 has a marvelous way of telling us how to practice what can look like inaction. The chapter is full of familiar verses. Besides “mounting up with eagle’s wings”, we find “comfort, comfort my people” (v.1); “a voice crying in the wilderness” (v.3); and Pastor Jason’s regular pre-sermon “the grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever” (v.8). But the interesting thing about the chapter is that everything is about God acting. In the end, God’s people wait for Him to renew their strength so they can act with His blessing.
Scripture calls us to do both – take action and wait – at the appropriate moments. A phrase for current events similar to the Ecclesiastes 3 Time-for-Everything-Under-Heaven verses might be “A time to gather in groups and a time for extreme social distancing.” There will soon be a time for lots of action. For some, like those who serve in the field of medicine, the time for action is right now. For most of us, this is the time to renew our strength by delighting in the word and praying.
We can all help renew our congregation’s strength by continuing to fellowship with and encourage one another. Use all the communication tools at your disposal for staying in touch with brothers and sisters, friends, and relatives. And engage your imagination and creativity. I heard of two sweet events this past week. A friend’s grandson in quarantine had a birthday. Friends formed a parade, driving by the boy’s house, staying in their cars, displaying signs, and singing Happy Birthday. Another friend took her nieces and nephews into the back yard and made a fort from branches and logs leftover from last year’s fallen tree.
Know that even as we wait for God to renew our strength, He is working, and His kingdom is advancing. We are like the farmer in Mark 4:26-29: “And he (Jesus) said, ‘The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once, he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.’
So sleep and rise, and get your sickles ready.