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.