They called out in a loud voice, “How long, sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood? … and they were told to wait a little longer.” Revelation 6:10-11

This verse reminds me of these lines from the hymn, The Church’s One Foundation, “Yet saints their watch are keeping; their cry goes up: ‘How long?’ And soon the night of weeping shall be the morn of song.”

Generally speaking, we’re not good at waiting. We think nothing is happening while we wait or that we could be doing something more productive instead of waiting. Yet God sees waiting quite differently. He sees that we’re strengthened spiritually as we wait. “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31). Our waiting isn’t wasted if we’re waiting on the Lord because we’re growing stronger.

The Hebrew word for “wait” in this passage can also refer to the process of making rope. Making rope is a process of adding strands and twisting them together, the more strands the stronger the rope. As we wait on God we bind ourselves to his purposes and his timetable, and our faith becomes stronger.

If we wait for a bus, we wait expectantly, looking for the bus to come and believing it will come. Even though it may not come when we think it ought to. Likewise, as we wait upon the Lord, we wait expectantly, eagerly looking for God. His intervention may not happen when or how we would like, but we know that God will indeed come and make a difference in our situation.