I have heard so many people use the phrase that they are “waiting upon the Lord” as an excuse to do nothing. They are expecting God to simply work His miracles first and then they will respond to that. But “waiting on” the Lord does not mean “waiting for” the Lord.
You see, people standing on a street corner before the morning commute are “waiting for” the bus. They don’t have to do anything, they simply stand there with complete confidence that at (or near) the appointed time, the bus will arrive to do it’s purpose… carry them to their destination. However a “server” in a restaurant is busy “waiting on” customers. They are active, they are serving, they are responding to needs.
When God calls us to have a servant heart like His Son Jesus, and also tells us to “wait upon” the Lord… He is telling us to SERVE. His promises will come, in His time, but we are to wait upon Him between now and then… we are to serve Him and His people. Often, God will not respond until we first put forth that step of faith.
An excellent story of this exact thing is found in Joshua 3. The Israelites have once again come to the promised land of Canaan and Joshua has convinced them that this time, they are to enter. The big problem staring them in the face is that the Jordon River is at near flood stage and therefore impossible to pass. God tells Joshua that when the priests (carrying the Arc) put their feet into the water, He will stop the water. He is asking them to take a physical step of faith.
My favorite part of this story is how God actually responds. You see, when He did something similar by parting the Red Sea, the action was very visible, right in front of them. However this time, when He stops the river, He does so very far upstream. “the waters coming down from above stood and rose up in a heap very far away, at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan, and those flowing down toward the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. And the people passed over opposite Jericho” (Joshua 3:16). Assuming this is miles upstream and out of sight, the priests would have stepped into the river, carrying the Arc, and seen nothing happen. The Bible doesn’t state that they stood their and “waiting for” something to happen. They were leading a caravan of the entire nation of Israel. They kept walking into the river. God stopped the river miles up stream and eventually, the river bed dried up. And it stayed dried up until the entire nation of Israel passed over the land and crossed into Jericho.
You see, God calls us to serve, step out on faith and allow time (His time) for His actions to be revealed. Keep serving Him, keep stepping forward and He will guide your path.
If you have been “waiting for” the Lord, perhaps today is the day you can begin “waiting on” the Lord instead.