How to Wait Upon the Lord
In our fast-paced world of increasing industry and global disruptions, artificial intelligence, and global expansion, all combined with a desire to be not only the best in the world, but the best for the world, how does a leader navigate through this sea of activity? Being a “Best for the World Leader,” it is implied that the world, and the people in it, are better off because of our offer or delivery. The Pepperdine Graziadio Business School’s Values of 1) Today—Not Tomorrow, 2) Integrity Always, 3) Courage with Compassion, and 4) Pioneering Spirit are key elements of becoming a Best for the World Leader.
As a University inspired by Christian values, these values should be integrated into the fabric of our lives. In order to be the Best for the World leaders, we must understand and follow the ultimate Best for the World Leader—Jesus Christ. His life and teachings have changed the world and exemplified leadership. Because it is often difficult to lead, leaders need to follow Christ’s example as well as to seek God’s wisdom, strength, and guidance.
As a leader, you may be wondering “How do I gain, wisdom, knowledge, and understanding? Where do I find strength and guidance?” God has created each person on earth uniquely, unlike anyone else, and has a plan for our individual lives. He says that He knows the plans that He has for us. But what are we to do when the direction is unclear? God said to wait. Isaiah 40:31 says that those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.
The question occurs so often: “What does it mean to wait? How do I wait? Does it mean that I am to simply sit around and do nothing?” With this in mind, let’s look at a Biblical understanding of what one should do while “waiting on the Lord.” Consider W.A. I.T. as an acronym that stands for 1) Whisper a prayer, 2) Anticipate the very best, 3) Invest your time wisely—meaning don’t be idle, and 4) Trust in the Lord.
Whisper a Prayer
Prayer is simply having a two-way conversation with God. We are to spend time praying and seeking God’s direction for our life. Every human being has questions that they want answered. We ponder over the past, interpret the present, and anticipate the future. We lose patience trying to figure out what comes next. The unknown looms before us, and we wonder what to do. We question the next steps to solving the puzzle.
God wants us to ask for His guidance. He loves us and wants to reveal His direction for our life. His eyes are constantly searching for those whose hearts are turned to Him. He wants us to call out to Him, and He promises that He will answer. He says many times that we do not have the things we need simply because we don’t ask. The Bible is filled with numerous examples of God’s answers to prayers. Prayer is encouraged throughout the scriptures for all that are serious about the path which they should follow.
“Call to me and I will answer you, and tell you great and unsearchable things that you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3.
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 29:11-14a
“But Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.” Matthew 6:33-34
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7-8
“…Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name…Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. We can be confident with God.” John 16:23-24
We are to whisper a prayer, to never stop praying. We need to find a quiet place to spend time alone with God, talking with him, reflecting upon his instructions, and listening to his response. Waiting does not simply mean doing nothing—praying is a part of that process. Who better to ask than the One who created you and knows everything about you.
Bringing prayer into leadership:
A very successful consumer products company in Southern California faced some financial challenges in 2008 after the recession. The CEO considered many options to increase revenues and profitability for the company. One option he considered was to relocate the company to another state where costs would be less and the entire operation would be more centralized. The CEO spent months praying, and seeking wise counsel, about what to do. He ultimately understood from God that he should remain in Southern California. Had he left, approximately 200 jobs would have been lost for employees living in the area. The question is: How much profit is enough? And at whose expense?
— Consumer Products Manufacturer
Anticipate the Very Best
We are to anticipate God’s very best. We have a loving Father who wants to guide us and show us His ways. God loves us and has a plan for our lives and those we serve. Someone said, “If you are not expecting the best, does this mean that you are expecting the worst?” Jesus specifically instructed us to not worry. We are to look forward to hearing from the Lord and He is excited to engage with us. 2 Chronicles 16:9 states, “for the eyes of the Lord roam throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.”
Sometimes we wait a long time to hear from God. But we are to have faith. Sometimes, and very often, faith requires waiting. It can take faith to remain positive and to continue to anticipate His very best. Even though we most often do not receive immediate results to our requests, faith is the reality of what we hope and the evidence of things we cannot see. We can be certain that His plan is in process. If we were able to see it clearly, then it would not require faith. We are given an opportunity to see God work all things together for those that love him and are called according to his purpose. Jesus said, “You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” John 14:14.
As a leader, facing the worst, but anticipating the best:
An employee of a subcontractor to a construction company was rushed off the construction site in an ambulance. He had been up on a scissor lift and became smashed in between the building and the ribs of the device. It was unsure if he would live. The company’s attorney advised the CEO not to show up at the hospital because it might demonstrate accountability for the injury. But, the CEO ran his company as a Christian leader. After praying and consulting with friends, he believed God led him to visit the employee in the hospital. Ultimately, the employee lived, his wife was grateful and the construction company was not sued.
— New Creation Builders
Invest Your Time Wisely
We need to invest our time wisely and not be idle. We need to be about doing the Lord’s work and fulfilling our calling. God has given us seeds. If we plant in the spring and maintain the garden, there is usually a harvest in the fall. We usually reap much more than we sow, just as a single kernel of corn can produce a plant that delivers hundreds of kernels of corn. One thing for certain is that if nothing is planted, there will be no harvest.
George Graziadio was known for his saying, “Today—Not Tomorrow.” Don’t be idle. Be active in helping others. Look for and seize opportunities to be of service. Continue to pray and anticipate the very best while you are producing. Seek God’s direction through prayer and stay actively serving him.
Investing time wisely by seeking God’s involvement:
Million Dollar Baby Co. has grown since 1990 to a company with almost $100 million in annual revenues. The CEO leads the company with only a recurring 90-day plan, as he wants to be sensitive and flexible to the Holy Spirit’s guidance. The company has a Bible study each week available for employees during the work day and provides a corporate chaplain on site.
— Million Dollar Baby
Trust in the Lord
Finally, trust in the Lord. This may seem simple but Proverbs is very clear where it says to trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he’ll make your paths straight. God promises to lead us. He is a “lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.”
Our world is changing at lightning speed. Conventional wisdom would set our priorities to strive to keep up with the latest information, technology, and intelligences. It is uncomfortable and counter-intuitive in this fast-paced, rapidly changing world to “Wait on the Lord.” The wisdom, knowledge, and direction gained from the Lord through waiting is counterintuitive to most leadership models, but it is exactly what is necessary to lead with confidence as we strive to be Best for the World Leaders who stand out from the rest.
Sixty years of trust:
This successful industrial electrician always trusted the Lord for work. In almost 60 years of working (30 years as a CEO), he has never looked for a job. In good times and lean times, he found that God was always present and guided him every step of the way. As he often moved forward into the unknown, through faith one thing always led to another and he could see the Lord’s hand in everything.
— Gary Urke, Elec-Tech
Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; Trust in Him and He will do it. Psalm 37:3-5