Struck blind by an unknown disease in the middle of his career, English poet John Milton wondered in a famous sonnet what God expected him to do. Were his literary and other talents now “useless”? “Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?” In the poem, Patience answered, reminding him that God does not need our work: “They also serve who only stand and wait.”
Biblically, waiting is not just waiting for God to do something—it is waiting for God Himself. In other words, our hope is founded upon the character of God. This kind of hope is not tentative but guaranteed. Godly waiting is therefore accompanied by a joyful anticipation and strong faith that He is on the way: “In the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly” (Ps. 5:3).
Waiting on the Lord is part of our overall relationship with Him. It is an orientation toward God—an attitude of the heart, mind, and will. We’ll explore different elements of this relationship, orientation, or attitude in the next five days in order to see a definition of biblical waiting.
Today’s reading reveals hope as a key ingredient in spiritual waiting. Micah’s lament for Israel mourns that pretty much everything that could go wrong had gone wrong. Harvests failed (v. 1), people acted in hurtful and violent ways (v. 2), and corruption and exploitation were rampant (vv. 3–4). Relationships were broken at every level, including community, friendship, even marriage and family (vv. 5–6). The only bright side was God Himself—but He is enough!
Waiting on the Lord doesn’t mean a “wait and see” attitude, nor is it mere human optimism. Instead, Micah watched in hope. He waited for the God he knew would be a Savior. And he boldly asserted, “My God will hear me” (v. 7).
APPLY THE WORD
Waiting might not be easy, but Scripture promises that God is present even in our waiting and He will strengthen us to hope and to trust. Keep this verse nearby as a reminder: “Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isa. 40:31).