“They Shall Not Be Ashamed That Wait for Me”

K. Douglas Bassett

(Isa. 49:23; 40:31; 41:10; 2 Ne. 6:7, 13; 2 Ne. 8:5; Mosiah 21:34; D&C 98:2; 133:45; 1 Jn. 2:28)

The word wait in Hebrew means hope for or anticipate. Thus, one who waits upon the Lord places his trust in Him and lives in accordance with His will as he or she anticipates His coming. Such persons will have their “confidence wax strong in the presence of God” (D&C 121:45), for they will have no unresolved sins to cause them to be ashamed.

(Hoyt W. Brewster, Jr., Isaiah Plain and Simple [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1995], 204.)

Closely associated with our willingness to trust in the Lord is our patience amid adversity. It is difficult to “wait upon the Lord” (Isaiah 40:31), yet numerous scriptural passages admonish us to be patient in tribulation (see D&C 31:9; 54:10; 66:9; 122:5–7; Alma 26:27). It is a natural inclination to be impatient and to think that no matter how long our “small moments” of adversity may last, they are too long (see D&C 122:4). This natural tendency can be characterized by a saying I first saw on a plaque on the kitchen wall of my parents’ home: “God grant me patience—RIGHT NOW!”
Impatience and a lack of trust in God are twin traits found in the natural man. Just as the natural man is an “enemy to God” (Mosiah 3:19), impatience and an unwillingness to trust in God’s designs for us can become enemies to our spiritual development and faithful endurance. “When we are unduly impatient,” Elder Neal A. Maxwell observed, “we are suggesting that we know what is best—better than does God. Or, at least, we are asserting that our timetable is better than His… .” (“Patience,” In 1979 Devotional Speeches of the Year [Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1980], 215.)
Patient endurance requires waiting—not passive waiting, foolish fretting, or idle twiddling of our thumbs, but waiting upon the Lord. “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord” (Ps. 27:14). Waiting on the Lord implies not only trust but also active submissiveness to his ultimate purposes for our lives. This kind of faithful submission to the Lord’s will means humbly accepting not only the “what” but also the “when” and the “how long.” Tribulations and trials bring us to our knees until we, like Job, stop resisting and surrender our lives to the Lord. Only through such liberating surrender can we find, amid our own suffering, the peace and comfort that Job ultimately found.

(Brent L. Top, A Peculiar Treasure [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997], 139–140.)

Commentaries on Isaiah: In the Book or Mormon