Sunday, January 3, 2010

Waiting Upon the Lord

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)
It is easy to interpret this scripture as another way of saying “be still and know that I am God” because of that word wait, but there is another way to read interpret it, which takes into account the full phrase “wait upon”. It is sort of an archaic phrase, but it evokes the idea of service and action, rather than inaction. This idea is preserved in the name of the person who serves people eating at restaurants—“waiter”. Perhaps this example is weak, but it is helpful. I also think of that old name for female servants of a queen—“ladies-in-waiting”. Surely their job wasn’t to wait for the queen, but to serve the queen. I think the same thing applies in the above scripture.

By understanding “wait upon” to mean service, we see that the above scripture contains a sort of counterintuitive promise—people who serve the Lord will have their strength renewed. It seems impossible that someone could be given more strength as they expend it in work, but the Lord has the power to do this through the Holy Ghost.

I know that this promise is real because I have experienced it in my life. I know how it works. When I serve the Lord and keep His commandments, I qualify to have His Spirit to be with me (as promised in the sacrament prayer). The Spirit sanctifies, enlivens, and renews my body so that my strength lasts longer. I know that this is a blessing that everyone can access who is willing to keep the commandments.

For my past thoughts on this scripture, see "The Promise of Stamina."