By Jim Jordal

Haven't you known? Haven't you heard? The everlasting God, Yahweh, The Creator of the ends of the earth, doesn't faint. He isn't weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak. He increases the strength of him who has no might. Even the youths faint and get weary,  and the young men utterly fall; but those who wait for Yahweh will renew their strength. They will mount up with wings like eagles. They will run, and not be weary. They will walk, and not faint.  Isa. 40:28-31 WEB

The underlined sentences of this well-known passage from Isaiah form a sort of mantra that some endurance athletes use to enhance strength and staying power during marathons and ultra-distance events of all kinds.

If you’ve ever done a marathon you’ll know that at certain phases of the contest you’ll come to hurt almost everywhere it’s possible to hurt. Those at the front of the race are faster than those further back, and probably hurt as much, although they’ve learned to accept the pain and “run through it” as they say. And if you’re not hurting, some will say you’re just not trying hard enough.

What does it mean to “wait” upon the Lord? Obviously, waiting requires a certain level of patience and an even bigger portion of expectation. We wait upon the Lord when we bring a problem or situation to him and then in faith wait for some sort of instruction, discovery, or resolution. Sometimes the way out of a situation requires God to work miraculously in our behalf. Other times the situation requires action by us. But however we approach something, it must be in faithful expectation that God hears us and will act according to his word and our need.

Waiting for the Lord has both individual and national applications. On the personal side we often wait in prayer and expectation for the Lord to act on some familial and business situation. Sometimes he keeps us waiting for a while so as to build our character and perseverance. Sometimes the answer never comes because what we seek is outside of God’s plan for ourselves or others. But whatever the answer, God is there and can use our reactions to build further faith and expectation.

On the national side it’s somewhat different. The problems we pray about are so large and many-sided as to defy human reason. As patriotic citizens we become concerned at the disastrous weather with almost continuous bad news of fires, floods, mud slides, hurricanes, tornadoes. We hear that the costs to governments to pay for these events runs into hundreds of billions over the past several years. And we now have small oceanic countries asking for relief as their entire nations lie under threat of total engulfment by rising sea levels.

When we ponder the scriptures telling us that the earth is the Lord’s, and that we were commanded in the Garden of Eden to nourish and care for the earth, we face a difficult prayer task. We believe in prayer, and we know we are told to pray for our nation and its leaders; but how do we begin when we know that some of the highest national leaders are also the people most damaging to the environment through their business practices of placing profits before people.

How do we pray for the nation without “praying on both sides” of a problem or issue? What if both sides of a question seem to be in violation of Divine will? Under these circumstances it becomes easier to just back away and let God’s will be done.
When it seems hopeless to pray effectively for some situation, that’s when God can really take over our faith and consequent action. Think of the times in Bible history when people like Moses, David, and Daniel had to simply admit their powerlessness and inability to do what their faith indicates and continuously remind God of his promises of deliverance and eventual blessing.

The great giants of Bible history had to “stand in the gap” for God’s people by constantly reminding God of his promises. You can also do this as you seek a path for your devotions and faith in what God has said and done.