Wait for it! Wait for it! Wait for it!
Those words spark my attention when I’m watching a funny video. Like this one.
Waiting in those instances can be easy. First off, you can see how long until the payoff. I can wait 15 seconds. Now if your “wait for it” video said 30 minutes, I wouldn’t watch. But here’s the kicker. Even if I did watch, I would know the video would end by 30 minutes. Waiting in real life doesn’t often work that way, but I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know.
In my last post, we looked at how “be still” means to relax. The word also means to wait. Literally, being still means to delay action almost to the point of laziness. In one sense, the word means essentially to wait limply, to extend a period of time unduly, to be limp or slack in taking an action.*
David is teaching us to wait indefinitely on God to act. This idea frequents the pages of Scripture (Psalms 25:5, 27:14, 37:7, 123:2; Isaiah 8:17, 30:17, 40:31; Lamentations 3:24-26; Micah 7:7; James 5:7-8 alongside numerous others). Jesus himself illustrates what this type of waiting looks like. In John 11, he received word that his friend Lazarus was sick. He waited for two more days (11:6). The healer. The great physician. The one who could fix blind eyes and mend lame hands. The one who stops winds and stills waves instantly, waited. In those waiting days, Mary and Martha, Lazarus’ sisters, anxiously longed for their friend to arrive to make him better. But he didn’t, and Lazarus died. As you would expect, Mary and Martha confronted Jesus with confusion, anger, and frustration, “Why did you wait? Where were you? If you had been here, he wouldn’t have died!” (11:17-33).
He delayed to such a point as to appear lazy. He extended time unduly. He was still. Why? One reason: that they might know he was God. Jesus had the ultimate “wait for it” moment. Instead of settling for just healing a sick friend, Jesus asked to be ushered to his gravesite. There, he called Lazarus from the dead and resurrected him (11:43). What might have been a mere routine healing now became the most dramatic example of miraculous power each onlooker had ever experienced. He wasn’t a mere healer. He turned back the clock on death itself!
Back to Psalm 46:10. If we’re not careful, we may think David is encouraging us to practice a careless or pointless waiting, but he’s not. This waiting is a willful wait. It’s intentional. It’s deliberate. It’s purposeful. As we see in Jesus’ delay to allow Lazarus to die, the waiting looks forward to the display of God’s glory and power (read John 11:40-43 to see this exact truth in Jesus’ own words). It’s exactly what David was teaching, “Be still and know that I am God” or “Wait and know that I am God.” God is saying, “Wait expectantly and I will work.”
What about you? What have you learned from God in times of waiting? How has he displayed his power when you attentively waited on him to move? Share your thoughts or experiences in the comments section below.
*Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament) (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.