As I read the scriptures one day, this phrase—wait on the Lord—jumped out at me. I looked it up and found lots of verses with this unique phrase. Here are a few:
Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord. – Psalms 27:14
Say not thou, I will recompense evil; but wait on the Lord, and he shall save thee. – Proverbs 20:22
And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ. – 2 Thessalonians 3:5
Waiting patiently on the Lord, for your prayers have entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, and are recorded with this seal and testament—the Lord hath sworn and decreed that they shall be granted. – Doctrine & Covenants 98:2
…For the people of the Lord are they who wait for him; for they still wait for the coming of the Messiah. – 2 Nephi 6:13
The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. – Lamentations 3:26
What does waiting on the Lord really mean?
Using Merriam-Webster Dictionary, I found these four definitions:
- To remain stationary in readiness or expectation
- To look forward expectantly
- To serve at meals, usually used in phrases like wait on table(s)
- To be ready and available
Plugging each of these definitions into the scriptures above, I gained new insight into what waiting on the Lord can mean and how I can wait on the Lord better.
Definition 1 – To remain stationary in readiness or expectation
This seems to denote being firm and steadfast in our testimonies and faith. We build upon a foundation that doesn’t move…and that sure foundation is Christ. To remain stationary and firmly in Christ’s court, we must have an understanding of who He is and what He is about. His will becomes our will over time as we continually strive to wait on Him.
Definition 2 – To look forward expectantly
Using this definition brings a slightly different meaning. When we wait on the Lord, we look forward to serving Him. We are anxious for Him to come again. We have faith that He will visit the earth again in great glory, and we do all we can to be ready for that glorious day. This definition implies active faith that moves us to action. This kind of faith and waiting on the Lord pushes us to repent and allow God to change us.
Definition 3 – To serve at meals, used in such phrases as wait on table(s)
When we go out to a restaurant and have a server wait on us, we expect certain things. We want them to be cheerful and welcoming. We want a waiter to be aware of our needs and move to fulfill those wishes without us having to wave him down. We want them to take our orders, serve our meals without making a mess, and clean up when we finish.
If we are God’s waiters, we need to be cheerful and welcome Him into our lives, make room for Him, intuit His will and keep His commandments. We will serve Him by serving others, and try to clean up messes made so the world becomes a better place. We will want to do whatever He desires to please Him. The blessing in all of this is in the reward we receive at the end. I imagine God to be the ultimate tipper, giving us ALL that He has for our patient waiting on Him.
Definition 4 – To be ready and available.
By this definition, to wait upon the Lord means we are ready and available to heed His will. Today. Right now. We don’t make excuses for why we can’t serve Him or justify sins. Our faith moves us to repentance so we are ready and available to wait on Him.
Are you waiting on the Lord?
Jesus Christ provided an example of how to wait on the Lord. His whole life was spent in the service of others, doing the will of His Father. These questions can help you do a self-diagnostic to see if you can raise the bar in some manner on your ‘waiting’ and server abilities to be more like Him.
- Is your faith and testimony of Jesus Christ firm and unshakable?
- Do you look forward expectantly to the day of His return?
- Are you prepared and ready for that day?
- Do you welcome Christ into your life?
- Do you strive to serve Him and keep His commandments?
- Are you prepared and available to serve God each day in whatever manner He might prompt you to act?
Be the best server you can be. Imagine the Lord sitting at His table, and think how you would act, what you would do, how would you speak as you waited on Him. Would you listen more? Would you hurry to serve Him and find out His will?
Now write down your thoughts and make a concrete goal of one thing you can implement today to wait on the Lord better. And know that each time you approach to wait on Him, He will smile and be pleased with your efforts.