Week of Monday, December 14 – Saturday, December 19
Wait – Man as a Chaplain

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. — Isaiah 40:31 (ESV)

“Wait” … I don’t know many guys who like that word. Let’s be honest, it’s hard to wait. With Christmas approaching, we all remember as kids being made to wait through the sleepless hours of Christmas Eve, watching the clock as time crept by before we were finally given the “go” sign from our parents to come out of our rooms and tear into our gifts on Christmas morning. It was tough to wait for our first time to shoot a gun, to drive a car, and yes, for that first kiss. In general, waiting makes you feel like you are not in control of your circumstances, that you are helpless, and it can even wear you out. We want to find a way to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and feel in control, strong and secure, but the waiting makes it hard.

The words of the prophet Isaiah remind us that waiting is actually good for us. Feeling weak and not in control is an antidote for our pride. In our flesh—when we are in charge and things are going well—we start to believe the lie that we can soar like eagles under our own power. We think we can keep walking and running and never get tired. We think we have the ability to propel ourselves through life with our own strength and fortitude. We coast by on our abilities, resources, and merits. If we have these things to fall back on, we don’t need to wait on the Lord, right? Wrong. Believe me, I know from personal experience.

After the “Black Hawk Down” battle in Mogadishu, Somalia, the enemy fired three mortar rounds at us, one of which hit its mark, killing one of my men, badly injuring over a dozen others, as well as injuring me. My legs were chewed up with shrapnel. After surgery to remove the fragments of shrapnel, I remember lying flat on my back, trying to recover, feeling generally helpless, when a facsimile (FAX) came in from one of the founders of Dollar Rental Car company, a guy who was a devout Christian. When it was handed to me, I saw that it was this very same verse from Isaiah 40. The timing was perfect, and I can tell you it made all the difference. God refreshed and renewed me during my “wait.”

Look, things won’t always go well. Disappointment will come, elections will be lost, jobs will end, illness or injury will catch us off guard. Wrong turns will be made, people will hurt us, and money we have may not cover what we need. We will eventually come to the end of ourselves and find ourselves weak and desperate, flat on our back and helpless. And that’s exactly where the Lord wants to meet us. That is exactly where He wants to renew us with His strength, which is infinitely better than anything we can muster up within ourselves. So learn to wait on the Lord. He will make it worth the wait.

Where do you need to wait on the Lord instead of acting in your own power? In what area of your life are you most impatient when it comes to trusting God to work through you? How do Isaiah’s words here speak to you about that situation?

  • As you wait today, talk to the Lord about it. Admit to Him the things that are wearing you out and your tendency to try fix it by yourself. Ask the Lord to give you peace during the waiting and the patience to be still and know that He is God.
  • In your role as Chaplain, how can you help those in your charge learn this tough truth about waiting?