WAITING ON THE LORD – JIM CHAVEZ 11/13/2022
When I was up here a few weeks ago, I told you that I had a topic for a message that I felt God
was trying to teach me. Both Star and I. I told you that this has been a challenging season of
life for us. I referred to it as my 2 steps forward 3 steps back summer.
It has been a time of questioning…a time of some chaos and confusion. Fit’s and starts….I can’t
speak for Star but to be real honest for me, I’ve gone from “trust” to “fear” to “doubt”, never to
despair thankfully, and back to “trust”. Then I find myself rinsing and repeating the cycle.
What does it mean to “wait on the LORD?” I know that God has been trying to teach me what it
means. We hear brothers and sisters in Christ use the phrase all the time. I’ve used the term
many times and as I have been wrestling with it, the famous line from Inego Montoya in the
Princess Bride comes to mind. “I don’t think that means what you think it means”. At least not
what I was thinking it meant.
Today, this message is going to be as much a personal testimony of what we’ve been struggling
with as it going to be a word study on what it means to “wait on the Lord”.
In order for me explain why I have been calling this my 2 steps forward 3 steps back summer –
fall – and now moving into winter, I have to take you back to where it started.
As I think of my 34+ years with Star, there have only been 2 seasons in our lives that I would say
we have nicknamed. This one “our 2 steps forward 3 steps back season” and there was a
period in our lives from 1990 – 1996 that we call our “dark years”. I was working full time,
going to school full time and we had all 4 of children during this time and truthfully, we don’t
remember a lot about those years….thus the term. They were long years, difficult years, years
we weren’t sure we were going to make it through. But as we look back today with we look
with fondness at God’s faithfulness and goodness to us to get us through those times and as we
walk through this season of life we trust that a day will come where we will look back and see
His mighty hand in all of it.
Sometimes as we are walking through the fires of life, we cry out to Him and He seems distant.
By faith, we know He’s not. We can rely on His promises to us. Isaiah 41:10 says, “Fear not, for
I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I
will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
And Joshua 1:9 says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be
afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
These verses bring great comfort to me and they have all summer and yet I still fear. There are
ample verses that we turn to in times of despair and I’m ashamed to say that at least for me
sometimes I have to keep repeating them, because the cares of this world, the situation we
have found ourselves in at times have brought heart break.
I’ve memorized Psalm 34:18 …it’s a verse that has been resonating in my heart and brings me
momentary comfort. “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed
in spirit.” I don’t want you to think that we’ve been in this season continuously overwhelmed
because that’s not the truth. And when I say this verse has brought me momentary comfort,
it’s because I’ve needed momentary comfort.
I know the lesson that the Lord is teaching me. Teaching us…to Wait on Him. And our prayer
has been “Lord let me learn what it is you are trying to teach me, so I can learn it quickly and
you can move me on.”
So today I am going to be sharing with you our journey and testimony of what God has been
doing in my life. I will be weaving the word study into what I share, so pay attention because
you don’t know exactly where it will show up.
I think we are all guilty of using the phrase “I’ve been waiting on the Lord” incorrectly at some
point in our walk of faith. It’s a phrase that sounds good, it sound spiritual, but have you ever
really stopped to think about “what am I actually saying?” “What do I really mean when I say
that?” And what does the Lord have in mind when He tells us to “wait on him”?
Where to begin “how does any good store go, you start at the beginning” – you’ll hear a couple
movie references “I am old now. It is time for you to know what really happened. It began long
ago in a land far way to the west.
What I share with you today is going to be real, some of it is going to be raw, not in a bad or
morbid sense, just my heart is to be transparent with you.
It is no secret to most of you that we have been trying to get established up here for quite a
few years. Our journey north started taking roots in 1994. My brother bought a cabin on the
river that year and Star and I started coming up visiting a couple times a summer. Since Star
went to Bible School with Pastor John and Dee, when we were up here on a Sunday, we would
drop in every now and then.
Fast forward to 2012. We were up at my brother’s cabin for a last summer break before school
started. Star went for a walk and on that walk, she found a little secluded cabin, hidden by
trees and it happened to be for sale. She was convinced when she got back that the Lord was
impressing on her that this would be hers one day. She really felt like the Lord was prompting
her to buy it. Being the godly, sensitive husband that I am, when she told me that, I told her
that “God was not prompting me.”
I have learned a few lessons since we’ve been married and one of those lessons is that when
Star is moved by the Holy Spirit, I need to pay attention. So I did. Long story short, I ended up
making an offer on this cabin and low and behold, apparently the Lord wanted her to have it.
At the time we bought it, it was pretty inaccessible and really was only a 2 season place. So
from 2012 to 2019 we did a lot of work on it fortunately turned it into a year round place just
before Covid hit us. It was during these years that our love for Priest River and this church
grew. But we honestly had no intention at that time to move up here until I retired, which is a
few years off. We were heavily involved in our church in the Spokane Valley and the covid
shutdowns ultimately made the decision for us to leave our church in Spokane and begin
attending here more regularly. It was really during these past couple years we began praying
and planning on how we could be up here full time.
The cabin is small, a little over 600 square feet and we knew, in order to move up here full time
we would need something a bit bigger and at minimum a lot that was big enough to store all
our junk so as most of us do, we plan and we scheme. Don’t get me wrong, we prayed nightly
for God to open doors and show us a way. We thought he was doing that. We met a neighbor
that had some adjoining property and we started working with them to see if we could split off
some of his land and buy it and we felt like we needed to follow-that thread so we prayed and
“we waited on the Lord”.
Eventually as that proposition started unraveling we began looking for land and we had our
eyes on a piece of property that was 2 minutes from our cabin. We watched it month after
month after month after month and finally on January 1 st or 2 nd this year, Star and I were having
coffee one morning and she said to me “what is our plan”…”what are we going to do”.
Basically, she was urging me to fish or cut bait. We were “waiting on the Lord” but somehow in
our wait we were sort of growing stagnant. Is there action in “Waiting on the Lord”?
I had never really thought about that.
So again, I listened to my wife…she left to go for a walk and a minute after she left, I picked up
the phone and called the owner and by the time she got back from her walk, we had purchased
One Step Forward! We felt like God had answered and was moving us towards Priest River.
Now fast forward to June this year. This was another BIG step forward. We decided to sell our
house and to move into a rental that we have. We felt like the Lord was prompting us to spend
the next couple years building what we need on our property in order to move up here full
time. We both felt as though our wait was over. We had taken 2 steps forward.
As all this was going on, I had noticed, well my daughter and Star noticed long before me, that I
was losing my balance a lot. I’ve had chronic back pain the past couple years, but this was
different. My right leg was getting progressively weaker. So like every good husband does,
when his wife tells him to get it checked out, I immediately did….. NOT.
I ended up trying to short circuit my GP by going to the chiropractor to get my back adjusted
and things started getting real. My chiropractor wouldn’t work on me and sent me to a
physiologist that ended up being very concerned with what she was seeing.
So in June they ordered a nerve conduction study and the results were bad. A few months ago,
I preached to you a sermon I wrote titled “Life’s not fair, but God is…right?” and I told you
about my best friend in high school, how he was diagnosed with Huntington’s disease, and
shortly after that diagnosis, he was diagnosed with ALS as well. I told you how I watched as he
progressively lost his motor functions and ultimately died from those diseases.
Ironically, here I was in June, shortly after we decided to sell our home and move, I was with a
doctor and he was examining for the symptoms of ALS. The nerve conduction study told them I
had some neuro-muscular disorder. I remember sitting in that office going through the exam
and thinking about the last time I saw my friend. I remember when I was with him, wondering
whether I would be as gracious as he was if I were to find myself a similar situation…. all those
thoughts and memories came rushing to my mind and fear gripped me. Fear of the future, fear
of the unknown. Fear of my faithfulness to the Lord and whether I would be a good soldier of
Christ when times got tough.
My symptoms ended up not being severe enough for them to conclude that I had ALS, but they
did indicate that I potentially have some sort of neuro-muscular disorder. Their most likely
diagnosis was something they called “late onset Muscular Dystrophy”…… Talk about 3 steps
back. At the time I felt like a concussion grenade went off and it wasn’t 3 steps back, it was my
full body weight getting blown back, completely off my feet. Talk about fear, talk about doubt,
talk about seriously organizing your future…what’s left of it. Once those discussions are out in
the open, there is no way that Genie goes back in the bottle.
It was disorienting, it caused us to put all our plans on hold, and waiting on the Lord took on a
whole new meaning for me. It caused me to ask 1000 questions. It caused me to doubt
whether we were supposed to be up here. Something I was fairly confident the Lord was
orchestrating, all of a sudden had me turned completely around.
The doctors felt like I was dealing with 2 separate issues. My back issues and this neuro
muscular issue so In August they sent me in for an MRI. The determination was made after the
MRI, that it wasn’t my back that was causing my problems. That was a bit of good news bad
news. Good news that I didn’t need back surgery, but bad news because it just gave more
credibility to the Muscular Dystrophy conversation. So they opted to give me a cortisone shot
in my back to try and alleviate some of the pain. The first couple days were magical, the pain
lessoned, and we were really praying to God that maybe this was the answer. We were both
fairly optimistic. But 4 Days later, on a Friday evening, I was on a boat with our Slovenes that
were visiting and all of a sudden I realized I could not move my foot. I could look at it and try
but there was no mobility. I lost every bit of strength and it basically was like having a dead
limb. Fear once again gripped me. I had them take be back to the dock and I literally had to lift
my foot into position so I cold put weight on it. Was this a side affect of the shot? Was this the
progression of the muscular dystrophy. It fit, that is the prognosis of the type they thought I
might have. You lose mobility in one foot, then a leg, then the other foot and the other leg and
you’re in a wheelchair. I don’t know how many of you were here that Sunday but if you were
you might have seen me come forward for prayer with Pastor John. It was all I could do to keep
my balance coming down the aisle. I was a mess. In our waiting on the Lord, I felt like we were
Up until this point, even while waiting, I had been a man of action. We had been taking small
steps forward. But now what. In all my years of hearing that phrase, it would drive me nuts
when someone was asked to step into ministry or to do some service and they would say “I
need to pray about it” and then when you followed up they would say we just waiting on the
Lord. I never really ever bought it. I have never thought that waiting on the Lord meant sitting
back and doing nothing but that’s what I was feeling. Do I sit back and doing nothing…until I
know for sure?
Luke 14:28-30 says 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and
count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a
foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man
began to build and was not able to finish.’
With this verse in mind, here were some of the questions I was asking?
What if I do have muscular dystrophy?
How long will I be able to walk?
How long will I be able to do building projects on my own?
How many years of reasonable health do I have to start and finish what I need to, in order to
move up here?
Do we change what we were going to build and make it ADA compliant?
Do I just get something in the Spokane Valley that will handle a wheel chair that is closer to all
What quality of life will I have in my latter years?
What can I do to make it easier for Star and ensure I can be self-reliant for as long as possible?
These are my questions for my situation, but I know I’m not alone in this. We all have
significant issues in our lives and we are all waiting for many things, some that have huge
…we’ve been praying for little baby Emma fighting health issue after health issue. Her life and
death has been in the balance. We wait on the Lord
…for some we are waiting on the Lord to bring our prodigal children back to Him
…some of you might be waiting on the Lord to repair a broken marriage
…for a child or spouse with a substance abuse problem
We need God’s intervention and so we “wait on the Lord”
Here’s the word study
As I began looking at this phrase, I learned that the Hebrew language has nearly 20 words for
“wait” in the Old Testament (NASB).
I’m gonna tell you the rest of my story, but I want to switch gears for a little bit and talk about
what waiting looks like? What does it mean? Is the Lord’s admonition to us different than the
way we use the term today. We have so many variations.
We have officially entered the holiday season and we hear from everyone around us, especially
our kids. I can’t wait for Christmas. There is an eager anticipation of that day coming. Each day
the feeling gets stronger, the anticipation grows, the signs loom larger. We see the tree go up,
we see lights go up, we hear the Christmas music. On December 1st everyone brings out their
calendars and each day, they open up the little reminder that we are waiting but our wait will
soon be over and the Day will be HERE. There is an Eager anticipation. Is this what “waiting on
the Lord means?”
So there is a waiting where there is eager anticipation, but there is also a waiting that we may
find ourselves in, where it is with hopelessness and dread, maybe even fear. If you’ve ever
been in the ER with a loved one that has been in a terrible accident or is going through a life
threatening surgery, it is rarely a wait of eager anticipation. When all we know is they are in
surgery, the prognosis wasn’t good or the risk is high, the injuries are life threatening. We still
wait, we pray, we want to hope, we give it to the Lord and we take it back and we give it Him
again. We start running through all the “what if’s”. What will I do if I lose this person, what will
I do if they are paralyzed or brain dead. So we go from eager anticipation to a barely hope and
despair. We become like the man in Mark 9:19 that says to Jesus “I believe; help my unbelief!”
This can’t be what “waiting on the Lord means”.
Another type of waiting we are all experience in, is waiting that is just plain annoying, it grates
on us, it is unnerving. It’s the kind of waiting that we end up having to do at the DMV or on the
freeway when there has been a semi overturned. We gut it out, we mutter under our breath. I
can’t believe that this is anywhere close to what “waiting on the Lord means”.
So let’s look at the Hebrew word for “wait”. The first time “wait” appears in the Bible, Jacob is
blessing his twelve sons. He makes a somewhat disturbing statement that his son Dan will be “a
serpent” — that evil and trouble is present — Jacob prays:
“For your salvation I wait, O LORD.” (Genesis 49:18)
The word that is used most often for wait in the Bible comes from the Hebrew word qavah — it
means “to wait, hope for, look, expect.”…it carries with it the first type of waiting I talked
about “eager anticipation”.
The old testament makes bold promises for those who qavah for the LORD…we know we are to
wait, but even in some of these verses, they don’t tell us HOW TO WAIT
“I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined to me and heard my cry.” (Psalm 40:1)
“Wait for the LORD, and He will save you.” (Proverbs 20:22)
“Those who hopefully wait [qavah qavah] for Me will not be put to shame.” (Isaiah 49:23)
“The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him.” (Lamentations
Before Jacob’s blessing, there is one earlier appearance of qavah in the OT — but it isn’t
translated “wait.” It is found in Genesis 1:9 and it says “Then God said, ‘Let the waters below
and the heavens be gathered [qavah] into one place, and let the dry land appear’; and it was
so.” (Genesis 1:9)
So qavah can mean “gathering” — especially gathering strength. (It can mean binding or tying
something strongly together.) We see this in Isaiah 40:30… its one of my favorite verses…and I
think this verse probably moreso than the others not just give us a promise but give an
indication of what it means to WAIT.
“Yet those who wait for the LORD, Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like
eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.” (Isaiah 40:31)
“Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.”
“Waiting is a great expression of faith. It means enduring patiently in confident hope that
God will decisively act … in that waiting, those who wait in true faith are renewed with
strength so that they can continue to serve the Lord”
(qavah, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament)
So “Waiting for the LORD” does not mean sitting back helplessly.
It means to gather strength — to be energized by the confident expectation that God is going to
So it seems to me like the Lord gives us a good idea of what it means to wait, but as I think
about the way I have been doing it, I haven’t been always waiting with expectation and hope so
what happens if we are do it wrong?
Well the great thing about our Lord is that even when we don’t do things entirely correctly, he
still comes through.
“When You did awesome things which we did not expect [qavah], You came down, the
mountains quaked at Your presence.” (Isaiah 64:3)
Even when we are not so faithful, God IS. Don’t forget that.
Remember that waiting on the Lord is not a passive exercise. Patient, confident trust in the Lord
is the main idea of the exhortation to wait on the Lord. I want to read Psalm 27 because I think
it illustrates really well, what Waiting on the Lord means.
27 1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my
life; of whom shall I be afraid? 2 When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries
and foes, it is they who stumble and fall. 3 Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall
not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident. 4 One thing have I asked of
the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple. 5 For he will hide me in his
shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high
upon a rock. 6 And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will
offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord. 7 Hear,
O Lord, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me! 8 You have said, “Seek4 my face.”
My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.” 9 Hide not your face from me. Turn not your
servant away in anger, O you who have been my help. Cast me not off; forsake me not, O God
of my salvation! 10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me
in. 11 Teach me your way, O Lord, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies. 12 Give
me not up to the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses have risen against me, and
they breathe out violence. 13 I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the
land of the living! 14 Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for
courageous trust in God, based on a confident expectation that the Lord will rescue and save us
in our time of trouble.
So we seek Him, we pray, we confidently expect positive results. Don’t misunderstand me
here, it doesn’t mean health, wealth and prosperity, it means we trust that God is going to work
all things out for the good of those who love Him. We pray for wisdom (James 1 tells us that’s
how it’s done). We pray for protection and believe like David did that we will see the goodness
of the Lord in the land of the living.
And remind ourselves what Psalm 25:3 says… “Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to
If we are Waiting on the Lord by trusting, seeking, and praying, our faith will grow, we will
experience peace and stability in the eye of the storm.
Waiting on the Lord brings God’s blessings: “Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has
perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him”
(Isaiah 64:4; see also 1 Corinthians 1:7).
Sometimes we might feel as though the Lord does not see or hear us—that He’s not answering
our prayers. It is during these moments, we have to put our complete faith and trust in the
living God. We can wait on the Lord in eager anticipation, knowing that He is with us and in
control of our lives.
His timetable might be longer than we like. Biblical waiting involves actively walking in step
with God as He unfolds His plans.
I like how David Jeremiah put it….Waiting is what happens between the promise and the
fulfillment. If we learn to wait on the Lord, we will see Him do great things.
Let me finish up by sharing what Paul Harvey would say is “the rest of the story”. I’m not out of
the woods yet. I met with my physiologist this Thursday and my improvement has been great.
My leg is getting stronger, my balance still needs work and they are still trying to get me into a
neurologist locally and preferably at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix. The doctors are somewhat
mixed in their opinions as to what I really have going on. There is enough concern yet that they
can’t rule the neuro-muscular disorder out at this point. I feel better, I feel stronger. Just a few
short weeks ago, I couldn’t walk without a walking stick and today I’m walking on my own and
praising God for that. We’ve got some ground to make up for and The most constructive thing I
can do, we can do, while we wait on the Lord is to focus on what we know for sure: God is
good; God is love; God’s Word is true; God causes all things to work together for our good,
according to His purpose; God is conforming us to the image of Christ; God has given us the
family of faith for love and support and Jesus promised,
“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians
12:9). Focusing on what we know and understand about God teaches us to trust in His unfailing
power to bring us through.