I’m Gonna Wait On The Lord

Although I have written about songs and Bible passages dealing with waiting before [1], it so happens that one of the songs I will be leading the children’s choir at my feast site this year [2] is called “I’m Gonna Wait On The Lord,” and it is a fast-paced and relatively simple song that is sure to be a favorite of the kids singing it. The context of songs changes when children sing it. I would not expect any but children, for example, to sing the songs for the children’s choir, but at times children sing songs that others sing as well and happen to bring out layers to the song’s meaning that would otherwise remain hidden. To give one example of this, a friend of mine sent me a children’s version of the song “Say Something,” a moderately popular tune that I generally respond to by changing the radio station. Hearing the children sing this song, which is fairly whiny in its original version, though, is heartbreaking, as it provides a tale of a child unable to communicate with parents, and feeling so small and so unable to do anything to resolve the gap in communication. What is an irritating if frequent problem in adult life is heartbreaking when thinking of children, and so the change in perspective makes the song much more resonant emotionally, and dramatically increases the impact of the message, even without changing any of the words.

As we shall see, that is precisely the same effect that one has listening to a message about patience coming from adorable and often impatient children. While there is the tendency merely to think that children singing is cute without attaching anything more serious to the content of the message, paying closer attention to the messages delivered by children is a wise policy. To hear a message about patience coming from a minister or another speaker is somewhat commonplace, and it would be easy to tune out such a message. If we are listening to children, though, hearing a message of patience coming from the mouths of children is a far more pointed message, because it reminds us that even if we may look down on little children for being rather impatient, we are just as impatient ourselves, for we are little children in God’s eyes, even if we are big in our own eyes [3].

The structure of “I’m Gonna Wait On The Lord” is very simple: Chorus-Verse-Chorus-Verse-Chorus-Title repeated. In order to understand the simplicity of this song, we will take the song as it comes–first looking at the chorus, then each of the verses one after another, and finally comment on the importance of the repetition of the title. It should be noted, for point of comparison, that in the running order of the two songs to be sung on Family Day, I plan on leading this song last, because it is upbeat, peppy, and because I want it to be what sticks in the mind of the people listening to the song. In this way, the song itself is written precisely in the same format–start out by what the song is about (waiting patiently for God to act), then repeats that message, and then closes with that message, making it clear to anyone listening that we are supposed to be patient.

The chorus of “I’m Gonna Wait On The Lord” reads as follows: “I’m gonna wait on the Lord, / Wait on the Lord, / Cause I know He’s gonna show me / That it’s all worth waiting for. / And I’m not gonna rush / anything He’s got planned. / I’m gonna wait and leave it in His hands.” This is a straightforward chorus. There is nothing mysterious here, and yet this is not an easy thing for adults to do either, much less children. Perhaps it is difficult for adults mainly because we are cynical about our waiting leading to what God has that is worth it, afraid that God does not want to fulfill our longings or to bring us goodness and pleasure into our lives, and so we often rush things and force things to attempt to gain it for ourselves because we lack trust and faith that God wishes to bring our deepest desires into our lives. I don’t really need to go into any more detail, except to say that I find this message particularly relevant, and I am sure there are many other people reading or listening to these words that would find it equally relevant to their own lives, and to mine, and to those of many others as well.

The first verse of the song reads as follows: “When I pray it’s hard to wait and see what God will do. / I want an answer to my prayer before I count to 2. / But He wants me to trust Him cause he knows why things happen / And He knows when.” Again, there is nothing complicated or hard to understand about this verse. It is hard for us to wait on the Eternal to work in our lives, whether we are children or adults, men or women. We all want an answer to our prayer before we finish saying it, and sometimes we have to wait for weeks, months, years, or decades for God to work out His purposes in our lives. God wants us to trust Him to know when and how He is to act, but that act of trusting, of showing faith, is not an easy one. Often it is best to build up this trust in small and consistent ways, so that by the time we have to trust in God for important matters, we have seen God in action in our lives in many ways, great and small, so that we have built up trust and faith that He will accomplish good in our lives, and in the lives of those around us.

The second verse reads as follows: “I wish sometimes that I could see just what the future’s like. / But when I wait, then He’ll show me just when the timing’s right. / But He wants me to trust him cause He knows why things happen / And He knows when.” Here again there is a repetition between the two verses of the last two lines, reminding us (if we needed to be reminded) that God knows why things happen and knows when they will happen, but that we do not need to know for mere curiosity’s sake, but should be patient until the time is right. Those lines that are not repeated are a reminder to adults, and a reminder that is necessary, that we want to see what the future is like, but God reveals it to us when the timing is right, not when we are curious. At times, people may speculate to unwise degrees about how the future will look, and it is wise for us to be patient to wait on God to reveal things according to His ways, and also to be humble about the state of our knowledge and ignorance. In that way, it would not be bad to be more like a child.

The song closes by repeating the lines: “I’m going to wait and leave it in His hands,” a statement of faith and patience that will hopefully not only give the children something to think about for themselves but also serve as a thought-provoking message for the adults listening as well. The fact that the song itself has so many odd numbers of lines, and so many contrasts between short and long lines creates a sense of expectation, rather than a sense of balance. This too, I think, captures the tension of the song and of the need for faith in our lives. We want to be at rest, we want everything to be settled, but God is trying to push us forward, to spur us to growth, and often that requires discomfort and tension, and requires us to step out into the unknown, to have faith and trust that God can and will make things right. We never grow too old to need that push, or the reminder of where we are going and what we need to get there.

[1] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/06/07/waiting-for-the-end/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/12/11/he-waited-for-the-city/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/08/31/i-waited-on-the-lord-my-god/

[2] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2015/08/11/dont-believe-the-truth/

[3] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2014/10/16/remember-that-you-are-a-child-too/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Christianity, Musings and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to I’m Gonna Wait On The Lord

  1. Pingback: Such, Wer Da Will, Ein Ander Ziel | Edge Induced Cohesion

  2. Pingback: Song Review: Color | Edge Induced Cohesion

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