“Those that wait on the Lord renew their strength.” (Isaiah 40:31)
If I received a telephone call that was completely one-sided then there would be a level of frustration afterwards. Neither would there be any benefit. The very point of the conversation is the exchange of news! And at its deepest level, every conversation is the development of a relationship.
Again, if I ate but did not digest then I would receive little benefit. It is the act of digesting that actually nourishes the body.
Similarly, Eugene Peterson wrote that “Reading is a gift, but only if the words are taken into the soul – eaten, chewed, gnawed, received in unhurried delight.”
So when I “wait on the Lord” what does it look like? Is it the giving of information (my shopping list of necessaries for the day); or is it the receiving of instructions (while I stand at attention at the Officer’s desk)?
Certainly not either/or, but certainly much more than both/and!
A rather impertinent interviewer asked Mother Teresa what she prayed for each day. She said “Oh, I don’t pray, I listen.” “So …” –the interviewer went on – “What does God say?” “Oh, He doesn’t say anything, He listens.” What a picture of the “unhurried delight” of waiting on the Lord! As simple as listening, as basic as eating, as natural as making friends. When we learn to rest before Him in this way, we are enabled to walk with total trust into every situation that the day throws our way. As we do so, every single action of trust becomes spiritual nourishment to us. And our strength is renewed.
We are nourished by the very act of waiting. My relationship is developed when I learn to listen to my friend instead of merely spouting out all my troubles. My body is nourished when I digest my food. My mind is nourished when I think over what I have read.
These times of quiet, with a Bible and a notebook, with a ready heart and a listening mind, as God and I listen to each other, enrich me and renew my strength. They are my “unhurried delight.”