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Waiting and Working
‘They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. Neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside Thee, which worketh for him that waiteth for Him.’—Isa. 40:31, 64:4
Here we have two texts in which the connection between waiting and working is made clear. In the first we see that waiting brings the needed strength for working—that it fits for joyful and unwearied work. ‘They that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up on eagles’ wings; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint.’ Waiting on God has its value in this: it makes us strong in work for God. The second reveals the secret of this strength. ‘God worketh for Him that waiteth for Him.’ The waiting on God secures the working of God for us and in us, out of which our work must spring. The two 12 passages teach the great lesson, that as waiting on God lies at the root of all true working for God, so working for God must be the fruit of all true waiting on Him. Our great need is to hold the two sides of the truth in perfect conjunction and harmony.
There are some who say they wait upon God, but who do not work for Him. For this there may be various reasons. Here is one who confounds true waiting on God (in living direct intercourse with Him as the Living One), and the devotion to Him of the energy of the whole being, with the slothful, helpless waiting that excuses itself from all work until God, by some special impulse, has made work easy. Here is another who waits on God more truly, regarding it as one of the highest exercises of the Christian life, and yet has never understood that at the root of all true waiting there must lie the surrender and the readiness to be wholly fitted for God’s use in the service of men. And here is still another who is ready to work as well as wait, but is looking for some great inflow of the Spirit’s power to enable him to do mighty works, while he forgets that as a believer he already has the Spirit of Christ dwelling in Him; that more grace is only given to those who are faithful in the little; and that 13 it is only in working that we can be taught by the Spirit how to do the greater works. All such, and all Christians, need to learn that waiting has working for its object, that it is only in working that waiting can attain its full perfection and blessedness. It is as we elevate working for God to its true place, as the highest exercise of spiritual privilege and power, that the absolute need and the divine blessing of waiting on God can be fully known.
On the other hand, there are some, there are many, who work for God, but know little of what it is to wait on Him. They have been led to take up Christian work, under the impulse of natural or religious feeling, at the bidding of a pastor or a society, with but very little sense of what a holy thing it is to work for God. They do not know that God’s work can only be done in God’s strength, by God Himself working in us. They have never learnt that, just as the Son of God could do nothing of Himself, but that the Father in Him did the work, as He lived in continual dependence before Him, so, and much more, the believer can do nothing but as God works in him. They do not understand that it is only as in utter weakness we depend upon Him, His power can rest on us. And so they have no conception of a continual 14 waiting on God as being one of the first and essential conditions of successful work. And Christ’s Church and the world are sufferers to-day, oh, so terribly! not only because so many of its members are not working for God, but because so much working for God is done without waiting on God.
Among the members of the body of Christ there is a great diversity of gifts and operations. Some, who are confined to their homes by reason of sickness or other duties, may have more time for waiting on God than opportunity of direct working for Him. Others, who are overpressed by work, find it very difficult to find time and quiet for waiting on Him. These may mutually supply each other’s lack. Let those who have time for waiting on God definitely link themselves to some who are working. Let those who are working as definitely claim the aid of those to whom the special ministry of waiting on God has been entrusted. So will the unity and the health of the body be maintained. So will those who wait know that the outcome will be power for work, and those who work, that their only strength is the grace obtained by waiting. So will God work for His Church that waits on Him.
Let us pray that as we proceed in these 15 meditations on working for God, the Holy Spirit may show us how sacred and how urgent our calling is to work, how absolute our dependence is upon God’s strength to work in us, how sure it is that those who wait on Him shall renew their strength, and how we shall find waiting on God and working for God to be indeed inseparably one.
1. It is only as God works for me, and in me, that I can work for Him.
2. All His work for me is through His life in me.
3. He will most surely work, if I wait on Him.
4. All His working for me, and my waiting on Him, has but one aim, to fit me for His work of saving men.
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