Waiting On God: What Does It Mean?

The idea of “waiting on God” is found multiple times in the Scriptures.  Unfortunately, a great many Christians have interpreted the meaning ‘waiting’ solely using Webster’s English Dictionary and contemporary culture rather than the Scriptures.

To ‘wait’ is typically thought to mean:  the action of staying where one is or delaying action until a particular time or until something else happens.

Notice that I previously used the word ‘solely’ as a modifier.  The typical meaning is not inaccurate; but incomplete.

Biblical Perspective

Scriptural insight on what it means to ‘wait on the Lord’ is far richer than I will point out in this blog post.  However, I’d like to polish a couple of the facets that you may not have seen clearly:

Wait for – Hebrew: qâvâh,

This is the Hebrew word you will typically find translated, ‘wait.’  It includes the idea of ‘standing still’…but not in a depression, stress, or frustration.  From God’s perspective, waiting doesn’t mean to ‘white knuckle it’ till things get better.

Other words

Wait is not the only way qâvâh is translated into English.  Other words that are used include ‘hope’, ‘look for’, and ‘gathered’.

As I’ve explained in other writings, ‘to hope’ from God’s perspective is often different than what many people mean when they are hoping for something.  Many (and maybe you) have reduced the idea of hope to wishful thinking without any sense of surety.  However, to hope in the Lord is a thought of confident expectation.

It is also important to point out that looking for is focused on the Lord’s faithfulness and not looking for circumstantial change.  We must turn our eyes away from circumstances and unto the Lord.  (Hebrews 12:2)

Circumstantial change will come when we are not obstructing our faith by looking at circumstances.


The first mention of qâvâh/wait/hope is found in Genesis 1:9,

And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.

Waiting on the Lord includes the idea of gathering together, thinking upon, and declaring to ourselves the character and faithfulness of God as seen in His Word.

I declare (out loud) statements like Psalm 27:1, “The Lord is where my life is safe so that
I will be afraid of no one!”  I’ve learned to keep my tank full rather than waiting for a crisis and only finding fumes to burn.

Besides Scripture verses, I intentionally remember testimonies (mine and other’s) of God’s deliverance, and manifest answers to prayer.

Psalm 27:14, “Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” (NIV)

Waiting for the LORD is what makes us strong with the ability to take heart.  When we wait on, hope in, and gather up remembrance of God’s character and goodness, we receive a spirit-level transfer of strength and confidence that transforms our emotions.

Waiting on the Lord, from God’s perspective, will totally transform the way you face life.  It has mine.






What To Do? What To Do?

Life is full of tough decisions.  How should I do this?  What will happen if I do that?  Maybe this way would be the lesser of two evils.  Lord, please show me what to do!  I need clarity!

Clarity or Trust

One day Mother Teresa of Calcutta was talking with a recent visitor from the States.  She asked him if he would like for her to say a prayer for him.  He said, “Yes, please pray that I get clarity on what the Lord wants me to do.”

To that request, Mother Teresa responded that she would not pray such a prayer for her visitor.  “Instead, I will pray that God will help you learn trust.”

Disappointed, the man said, “But, Mother Teresa…you are so clear about everything you do.  That’s all I want so that I can follow the Lord more faithfully!”

“I am seldom clear,” she said.  “I have learned trust.”  She continued, “You want God to make things so clear you don’t have to trust.”

Let’s Get Real About Faith

Many times over the years, I’ve been in that rickety boat.  The one named, “Sincerity.” The craft that seems real, but leaks like a sieve.

The problem….regardless of how honest our opinions are…if the boat is taking on water, it will ultimately sink.  Unless…

…we face ourselves, our situations, and what we think we believe…and allow the Lord to probe us.

His Probing Will Always Encourage Us

It’s totally safe to allow the Lord to search your heart and head.  He will never bring discouragement.  What He reveals will foster hope.  What He corrects will bring courage to “walk on water.”  He will not normally give us the clarity of explaining why we are walking on the water.  He won’t explain how the cellular composition changes under our feet.  But, hope and courage will be there in the face of Jesus.

Faith or Calculated Risk

What we often call steps of faith are – in truth – the result of calculated risk.  You and I have calculated our risk and decided whether or not the steps will lead to a potential of acceptable loss or not.

The God kind of faith came from the lips of Queen Esther in the Old Testament when she said, “If I perish, I perish.”

But…more on that in another post.  For now let me end with this:

Don’t Invest Your Prayer Time In Anything That Will Minimize Your Need To Trust

Instead, ask the Lord where His provision of Grace (His Supply) is in your situation.  Wait long enough to get an answer that doesn’t clearly lay out the details…but that “draws your heart like a magnet.”

Note:  You may not get it in the first day of waiting…or you may.  But, if you keep it before Him daily, the answer will get through.  And, normally, it will light on you like a butterfly.  And, the impression, hunch, perception, or idea (if accompanied by a sense of peace and joy)
will “draw” you like a magnet toward the Lord.

I’d love for you to “weigh in” with your experiences


Don’t Chase The Butterfly

You desire more clear communication with the Lord.  You know that prayer is more than a one sided conversation where you do all of the talking.  You know about “getting quiet” and you try to listen. But it’s such a struggle.  You often give up to try  again another day.

I know how you feel.  I’ve felt the same way, myself.  But, I found a secret!  I discovered something very important that opens the door to better “hearing” the Lord.

Simply put, it’s found in the phrase, “Don’t chase the butterfly!”

In the natural world, if you chase butterflies, they will flutter away from you.  It’s the same in the spiritual world!

There Are Two Major Mistakes

There are two major mistakes that people make when they are seeking the Lord desiring two way communication.

  1. They Chase The Butterfly
  2. Thy Listen For A Loudspeaker In Their Head

Here’s how I learned this.  One morning I sat down in my early morning prayer place. I listened to some scripture (Psalm 27) on my computer.  I then turned my attention to “the center of my being” instead of my head.  (Actually, the turning of my attention inward should start the process.) Then I expressed words of praise and worship.  Next, I asked Jesus to speak whatever He had for me…(and then)…

I pushed my imagination to experience something.  (You see, I know that the sanctified imagination is the doorway to connect with spiritual perception)

Other than a few random scatterings of uninspired pictorial debris…nothing was happening.

Then a hunch hit me, “Don’t chase the butterfly.”  “Be still and wait for it to light on you shoulder.”

I had just learned a vital secret to communication with the Lord.  I’d just discovered an important principle of experiencing the voice of His Spirit.

Don’t Push.  Wait Until He Initiates Something. The discipline of waiting takes practice…but, it’s extremely important if we really want a rich relationship with the Lord.

I’m so grateful for His grace in responding to me – with the thought of not chasing the butterfly – while I was emotionally pushing.  But, it was to instruct me on the issue of getting comfortable with waiting in an illustration I would understand.

  • Don’t listen for a loudspeaker in your head.

The second mistake we make as we are “pushing” for an inner response is expecting to hear words. In other words, we are trying to hear inner speech.

Much of the time He will initiate a response with a vague perception or picture in our “mind.”  As we then focus on that “sense,” it will begin to become clear.  That all happens at different speeds.  Most of the time I do not get the “full meaning” at that time, but instead, as I re-think it during the day.

I’m truly desperate to develop a deep relationship with the Lord.  It is obvious (I hope) that the depth of any relationship is directly linked to the issue of communication.  My desire for you, my blog reader, is to increase the quality of your personal relationship with Him.  May we walk this journey on a path that grows brighter day by day.

Any questions or personal experiences?  Please comment.
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