Sometimes it’s hard to see God’s hand in our lives. We may feel abandoned and forgotten when things aren’t going well, and especially when there are dark clouds on the horizon and no help in sight. Sometimes, the threat of future suffering produces more distress than the suffering itself.
Such was the case with the people in the kingdom of Judah when Isaiah wrote these words. They faced a daunting threat: two of their neighbors–Syria and Israel–had combined forces and were preparing to attack. Many of the people were panicking. Isaiah told them not to be afraid but to trust the Lord.
In the passage above, Isaiah models appropriate behavior for such a situation. He tells the people that he is intentionally taking two actions as a result of the lack of visible support from God: he is waiting upon the Lord and he is looking for Him.
Waiting is hard. It requires two kinds of discipline: trust and deferred gratification. Elder Robert D. Hales said:
The purpose of our life on earth is to grow, develop, and be strengthened through our own experiences. How do we do this? The scriptures give us an answer in one simple phrase: we “wait upon the Lord” (“Waiting upon the Lord: Thy Will Be Done,” General Conference, October 2011).
Elder Hales listed some actions that we can take as we wait:
- Hope, anticipate and trust the Lord
- Plant and nourish our faith
- Pray as the Savior did: “Thy will be done.”
- Ponder and receive the Holy Ghost to know what we should do.
- Be diligent and faithful in keeping God’s commandments
Elder Hales pointed out that we may not be ready to receive the answers and blessings we seek:
In my life I have learned that sometimes I do not receive an answer to a prayer because the Lord knows I am not ready. When He does answer, it is often “here a little and there a little” because that is all that I can bear or all I am willing to do.
Today, I will “wait upon the Lord.” When I don’t immediately see His help with the problems I face, I will continue to trust that He is there and that He has not forgotten me. I will continue to move forward, believing that His help will come when it is needed and when I am ready to receive it.