I am led of the Lord to write this article because as much as my life is tied to the worship of God, I have also experienced periods of waiting. We know from scripture that God is a God to be worshiped. In John 4:23-24 Jesus gives us His criteria for right worship. In Revelation Chapters 4 and 5 we see a lot of kneeling and bowing going on in the heavenly realm. And the prophet Isaiah’s worship, in recognition of God’s awesome majesty, moved him to repentance. (See Isaiah 6:1-5)
But we also know from scripture that God is a God of wait. David said “I waited patiently for the Lord, and He inclined to me, and heard my cry” (Psalm 40:1a). The prophet Isaiah penned, “…they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. . .” (Isaiah 40:31a). The Psalmist teaches us to wait on the Lord, and be of good courage; He shall strengthen thine heart (Psalm 27:14). I noticed in each of these passages that God either did, or promised to do, something in response to our waiting. To me, that’s good news because that tells me that my waiting period is never in vain if I trust Him. It is always good to read the whole verse, rather than just a portion of it; and then not too fast because you might run over something.
Waiting is a hard thing. I am in a waiting season right now. And as much as I want to move from where I am to where I want to be, it really isn’t about me. After reading Rick Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Life I learned that with all I have experienced in my life - the good and the bad - it’s not about me, and it never has been. I have been in seasons of waiting before, and God used all of it to accomplish His intended purpose. My job is to spend my wait time worshiping God. When we worship God in the waiting season we acknowledge it is all about Him, He is still God, and most importantly, He is still in control. God is in no way obligated to respond to my whining and complaining. But He will respond to my sincere worship of Him. I have never found in His Word where it says God will act on my faithless gripes and unsatisfied moans. The Word of God says it is impossible to please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6). So while I am aware of the fact that He hears me and understands, the best thing for me to do is change my attitude to one of thanksgiving, rather than lament my inability to manipulate an omnipotent God. I am not God, and frankly, I don’t want to be. I’m glad I am who I am and He is who He is. In Isaiah Chapter 43:10c we see there was no God before Him, and there will be no God after Him. While I seek to know Him better, and walk closer to Him, I have no desire to be Him.
The late Pastor L.C. Jones of the Greater Mt. Sinai Church in Dallas, Texas planted a seed in me years ago that I have never forgotten. He said, “Time spent waiting on God is never wasted time”. People may want you to act in a given situation when you have chosen to wait on God. As well meaning as they are, some people cannot stand in agreement with you when you’ve taken the position to wait on God. Truth be known, many of us miss the blessing of God in our lives by listening to people, rather than listening to God.
Worship is a wonderful place to be as you wait on God, and believe His promises. So as not to be misunderstood, my use of the word “worship” does not denote “being at church”. Let me clarify. Many people place “being at church” and “worship” in the same category when the two are distinctly different. Worship is the last thing on some churchgoers’ minds Sunday after Sunday. Worship is not a ritual or merely a weekly exercise. It is an encounter driven by a love relationship with a holy God. Both worship and coming to church are acts of the will, but the difference is one only involves physical presence, while the other involves a surrendered heart. It does not take a surrendered heart to show up at church each Sunday, but it does to enter into God’s presence - into the Holy of Holies, if you will. In the Old Testament only the priest could enter the inner court where God’s presence dwelt (See Hebrews 9:6-7). But because of Jesus, those who have received Him into our hearts can enter into His presence by His blood. (See Hebrews 10:19-20).
Worship is a matter of the heart, as is waiting on God. We can say we are waiting on God, but are we complaining in our hearts? Or are we daily searching the scriptures to find the peace we need while we wait? We can fool other people, but we can never fool God. He knows the secrets of our hearts. He knows whether our worship is real or not. In I Chronicles 28:9 David was cautioning his son that he cannot hide his thoughts from God, and therefore admonishes Solomon to serve God with a whole heart.
If you’ve read this far perhaps you can be persuaded to read a little further. Please let me encourage you to enter into private worship; just you and God. Allow yourself to become spiritually naked before Him, and be honest with God and tell him your heart. Tell him you’ve grown tired of waiting, but turn the tide on your impatience and begin a renewed trust in God by way of total, unashamed worship before Him. In your Spirit-controlled worship, whether private or corporate, you will find that God is listening, and is ready to move you to a new level of trust in Him as you worship while you wait.
Donna R. Patrick is the founder of WORDshop Ministries, a teaching resource in Biblical praise and worship. Since God called her into this ministry, worship education has become her passion. She serves on the music staff at the Christian Chapel Temple of Faith C.M.E. Church in Dallas, Texas. For more information on WORDshop Ministries, visit her website.
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