August 31, 2022 • Life for Leaders
Scripture – Isaiah 26:8 (NIV)
Yes, LORD, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.
Throughout the ages, God’s people have had to wait for God. Sometimes this waiting seems endless and endlessly difficult. What will help us wait on God? According to the prophet Isaiah, we will be able to wait on God when we focus on who God is and how God has acted in the past. God’s nature and actions help us to wait with trust, even when the waiting is hard.
Do you know what it’s like to wait for God? I expect you do if you’ve walked with the Lord for even a little while. We all experience the desire for God to act. We pray with expectation and hope, even fervor. Yet sometimes nothing happens. We pray again, trying to have faith that moves mountains. But, still, nothing happens. We begin to wonder if God is listening. We wonder why God doesn’t act, why God seems to be so frustratingly slow. Maybe we even begin to question our faith. We want to trust the Lord, but we find it hard to do so.
What will help us wait for God?
Isaiah 26 provides one answer to this question. As God’s people walk according to God’s laws, they wait for God. What helps them to do this? The latter part of verse 8 explains, “[Y]our name and renown are the desire of our hearts.” God’s name represents God’s revelation of his character, his identity. A paraphrase might read, “Our hearts are filled with who you are, Lord.” God’s renown—the Hebrew word could also be translated as “remembrance”—is the record of God’s actions throughout history. We might say, “We consistently remember all that you have done, Lord.”
So, then, what helps us wait for God? First, we are helped by letting God’s self-revelation fill our whole being. “Heart” in this verse is a translation of the Hebrew word nefesh, which is often rendered as soul. It refers to the whole, essential being of a person. So, the ability to wait upon God comes when we attend to how God has made himself known to us.
Second, we are helped to wait for God by remembering how God has acted in the past. To be sure, we begin by recalling God’s saving works in Scripture. But we can also remember how God has acted in our own lives. This personal recollection stirs up within us a confidence in God’s trustworthiness and grace.
When I face something scary, something that makes me worry and fret, I try to remember how faithful God has been in the past. I know that this faithfulness doesn’t mean I’ll be protected from pain or loss. But I have experienced the way God works in and through all things for our good and his glory. When I remember God’s faithfulness, I am able to trust him even with things that could be troubling to me.
As Christians, God’s name and remembrance are focused in Jesus Christ. Jesus is God’s ultimate self-revelation, God’s number one way of helping us to know him. Moreover, in Jesus we see God’s ultimate salvation and are reassured of God’s love and grace. Thus, when God seems to be slow, we are empowered to wait because we trust that the God revealed in Jesus is there for us . . . always. And “if God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).
Can you think of times in your life when it was hard to wait on God?
Are you in such a time right now?
What helps you to wait for God when God seems to be painfully slow?
Talk with your small group or with a wise friend about your experiences of waiting on God.
Gracious God, we want to wait for you. We want to be patient and faithful. We want to trust you even when you don’t fulfill our expectations. But, as you know, sometimes this is hard. Sometimes, when you don’t act according to our wishes, we wonder what’s wrong. We worry that we don’t have enough faith. Or maybe we even doubt that you are there to hear us.
Yet, you have made yourself known to us, Lord. You have revealed your character, embodied in your name. You have acted time and again, showing your trustworthiness, love, and wisdom. Most of all, you have revealed who you are through Jesus, through the one who by grace has saved us.
Help us, Lord, to wait upon you. Help us to trust you. Help us to desire your name and your renown. Amen.
Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the unique website of our partners, the Theology of Work Project. Commentary on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: What Does This Mean For People’s Daily Work?
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Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.