WAIT ON THE LORD –or –WAIT FOR THE LORD ?
- By Mary A. LaClair
In modern English when we hear the word wait, we often think of an inactive biding of time: of staying in one place or of doing nothing while expecting a certain thing to happen; or even a waiting in readiness of anticipation. This would more often be passive rather than active. I kept getting the message “WAIT ON THE LORD” at a time in my life when the ball was in my court. So…instead I passively waited FOR the Lord. When the ball left my court, and I hadn’t ‘made a basket,’ I somehow felt the Lord had let me down; when actually it was I who had probably let the Lord down. You see I was thinking I knew what “Wait ON the Lord” meant. In truth, I did not really know at all that to “Wait Upon the Lord” was active and not passive.
I found that WAIT ON does not necessarily mean WAIT FOR.
(filler spacing so art work is not divided when selecting print option)
In Psalm 27:14 we read “Wait on the LORD, be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart; wait, I say, on the LORD” (KJV) Strongs Concordance defines the word “wait” in that verse: The Strongs Concordance uses Hebrew “number 6960: qavah (kaw-vaw): a primitive root; to bind together; (perhaps by twisting), i.e. collect (figuratively); to expect: to gather together.” If I were to “wait upon the Lord” today, I would gather myself together with Him in quietness, prayer and meditation, binding myself together with Him. I would collect myself in His presence. I would ask Him to twist or entwine His Holy Spirit with my spirit. This is anything but an inactive biding of one’s time. Checking Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (fifth ed.) an additional definition of wait is “(3) to act as attendant or servant; esp, to attend or wait upon persons at table; to serve – v.t. to serve as a waiter or attendant upon; as, to wait table.” Webster goes on to clarify our investigation, listing: “wait on or upon: a. to attend as a servant; to serve. b. to go and see; to visit on business or for ceremony,: and, “Waiter – one who pays one’s respect to another in a formal call.” Now I know that to WAIT ON THE LORD means to pay my respect to Him in a formal call, even with ceremony, for business, also to be at His service. Quite different from “Wait For,” wouldn’t you say? I hope you will be smarter than I was and you have learned with me. I pray that if you ever get the message to WAIT ON THE LORD, you will be smarter than I was and you won’t be passively waiting for, but will be actively waiting upon. “They that wait 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.” Isaiah 40:31 (KJV)
Art rendition furnished by Marti Fuller. Thank you again Martha.
(first published in the CNY ReVive 1998 paper and then Jan. 7, 2001 in PURPOSE, a Mennonite publication, including the artwork each time)