An Expectant Attitude

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Isaiah 40:31 is a favorite Bible verse for many people because of God’s promise to give weary people strength to continue on. But what exactly does it mean to wait upon the Lord? I like the Amplified definition, in brackets: But they that wait [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. I also like the definition that I found in my Strong’s with the best of Vines for the word wait: “this word stresses the straining of the mind in a certain direction with an expectant attitude; a forward look with assurance.” This verse is talking about people who look to God, expecting Him to work in their situation. This does not come naturally to us. Instead, it takes work and effort to have faith that God, Who we can’t see and sometimes can’t feel, will work in our lives to meet our needs. Let’s look at areas this affects our lives.
In hard times. Isaiah 40:28-31 reminds us that God doesn’t get tired and that He will give weary people strength. He says that even young people wear out, but He will renew our strength in hard times if we look expectantly to Him. Wait [and hope for and expect the Lord] on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD (Psa 27:14). I waited patiently [and expectantly] for the Lord; and He inclined unto me and heard my cry (Psa 40:1). In hard times it takes faith to expect God to provide for us taking us through the experience, to shape us into what He wants us to be. We can’t have this rest when we are bent on getting a specific outcome. We need to be surrendered to God’s will for our lives even if it isn’t what we want.
Our search for truth and when making decisions. Yea, let none that wait [trust and wait hopefully and look for You] on thee be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait [expectantly] all the day. Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I wait [for and expect You] on thee (Psa 25:3,5, 21). We need to have faith and confidence that God will show His will. We need to have faith that God has a plan for us and expect that He will reveal His will in His time. But again, it takes surrender to whatever God wants to accomplish in our lives.
Our struggle against sin and evil.
For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait [and hope and look for the Lord in the end] upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. Wait on [for and expect] the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land [in the end]: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it (Psa 37:9, 34). Sometimes it feels like sin and evil have the upper hand, but sin will be judged in the end. As we expect God to work, and we walk in His ways, we will inherit eternal life where there will be no sin or struggle against evil.
In normal life. And now, Lord, what wait I for [and expect]? my hope [and expectation] is in Thee (Psa 39:7). In the first six verses, the Psalmist is pondering about life, but then in verse seven, he places his expectation in God instead of life. When things are going well, we assume life will treat us well instead of placing our trust in God We need to continue to expect God to work in our lives and accomplish His plan when things are going as we want them to and not allow that to distract us from God.
A couple of practical thoughts in closing. How do we pray? Do we come in desperation trying to force God to answer our prayers the way we want? Instead, we should come to God expectantly with confidence that He will take care of the situation at hand according to His will, and we can rest that He will do what is best for us. We need those hard times in life to help us realize that we aren’t in control and help us to see our need of placing our trust and expectation in God, Who does all things best.