Working While We Wait

It is good to quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord. Lamentations 3:26

God told Noah that He was going to destroy the earth; at least one hundred years passed before the first raindrop fell (Genesis 5:32; 7:6; 11:10). God told Abraham that he’d be the father of many nations; twenty-five years passed before Isaac was born (Genesis 12:4; 21:5). God revealed to Joseph that his brothers would bow before him; at least twenty years passed before they knelt at his feet in Egypt (Genesis 37:2; 41:46; 45:6). Waiting. And more waiting.

None of us doubt that God keeps His promises, but the waiting trips us up, doesn’t it? Much of what we know about God in our heads has a tough time traveling through our hearts and into our actions.

Noah, Abraham, and Joseph worked while they waited. Noah built an ark. Abraham fought battles, dug wells, and maintained his livestock. Joseph labored diligently for his family, Potiphar, and the chief jailor. None of these patriarchs sat idle and fumed. Sure, they made mistakes, particularly Abraham in fathering Ishmael. But they kept doing what needed to be done as they waited, no matter how menial or mundane it may have seemed. When they failed or other people failed them, they got back up and started again.

My husband and I have done our share of waiting over the last twelve months—waiting to sell a home, to buy a home, to find jobs. We didn’t like it much. Who does? Yes, we battled worry, disappointment, and doubt. But we also reminded ourselves of God’s promises, prayed for His guidance, and completed everyday tasks.

The Hebrew word often translated wait in the Bible is qavah. It means “to look for, hope, expect,” but it’s related to words that mean “to twist, to bind” and “to be strong.”* Spiritually speaking, to wait on the Lord is to bind ourselves to His promises and the certainty of His character. That confidence provides the strength we need to live each day as though His promises have already been fulfilled.

We can combat worry with work and corral impatience with industry. Ask God each morning, “What’s on Your to-do list for me today?” Then believe that He is working on your behalf as you work for Him.


Read Lamentations 3:24-32. According to Jeremiah, what are the benefits of waiting on the Lord?

Read Luke 12:35-47. What is Jesus trying to teach the disciples about the relationship between waiting and working in these two parables?

According to Romans 4:19-21, what did Abraham learn while he waited on God? What has God taught you as you have waited for Him to answer a prayer or reveal His will?

Read Galatians 5:5-6. What is Paul teaching the Galatians about working faith that pleases God?

Denise K. Loock

*Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for qavah (Strong’s 6960)“. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2013. 26 Jan 2013. <http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H6960&t=KJV >

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