As a waitress at an inn in a resort town years ago, I would stand poised at the guests’ table, pencil and pad in hand. I was not idly passing time. I was preparing to be of service by “waiting on” the guests. When they were ready to order, I would record their meal choices on my pad and then convey what I had written to the chef in the kitchen.
Recently I was thinking of that experience in the light of what it means to wait on God. While I may not be standing poised with pencil and pad, I can, nevertheless, wait on God with that same readiness to serve Him. I can prayerfully listen for, and be receptive to, what He is asking of me.
Waiting on God involves maintaining an aura of expectancy and a readiness to follow through, knowing that He gives us only messages or ideas that we can fulfill. Every order from divine Mind, the Mind of God, has a purpose that can’t be thwarted or undermined.
Jesus’ whole life was committed to waiting on God. His every act was a direct result of that expectant waiting. His waiting did not include lapses of time. One might even say that time had no place in a life lived in such intimate communion with the Father. What better model for waiting on God than Jesus’ life and works.
Servants stand ready to receive orders. They don’t delay in responding when summoned. To wait on God is to be alert to heed His summons. It’s not “hanging around” waiting for something to happen. Acknowledging His presence in our lives reveals new opportunities to serve Him, whether it’s a call to pray, even when we may not ever know the results of our prayers, or whether it’s a call to take action as the result of prayer. The prophet Hosea offers this direction: “Therefore turn thou to thy God: keep mercy and judgment, and wait on thy God continually” (Hosea 12:6).
I recall writing to a cousin in a distant city upon hearing of her divorce. She had married without her parents’ blessing, and the marriage had foundered. It was at a time when divorce was generally shunned.
I paused before putting pen to paper, waiting on God for just the right words to express my support for her courage in taking this difficult step. Shortly thereafter, I received a letter of gratitude from her. Our long-distance friendship deepened as a result of that exchange of letters, and she recalls it gratefully to this day.
How many times do we each have the opportunity to wait on God for the right moment to speak, the right words to comfort, the appropriate time to encourage? Waiting on God is not passive; it’s a state of readiness to respond in a Christly manner.
Our status as sons and daughters of God assures us of His ever-presence in our lives. It is our privilege to wait on God – to be poised to accept His order knowing that He never asks of us more than we can fulfill. We honor His presence by waiting on Him, standing ready “with pencil and pad,” to make the moment at hand count for what He is requiring of us.