I absolutely adore the Spanish language. I love to hear, read, write, and speak it. Me encanta (I love it).
One of the ways that I try to stay fluent with the Spanish word is by reading The Word in Spanish. My sweet Momma bought me a bilingual Bible before I moved to Spain in 2012, and it has been one of my most cherished possessions ever since. The leather is falling off on every side and the binding has been glued back together multiple times, but it is mi Biblia. It is my Bible through which God comforts, convicts, and challenges me each time we meet on those beat-up pages.
Each page has the same passages written in two columns, one in Spanish and the other in English. I try to only read the Spanish column so that I can practicar mi español. However, if I find a verse that I love (or one that I don’t understand), my eyes will wander over to the other column to re-read the verse in English.
Sometimes, in doing this, a verse takes on an entirely new, much deeper meaning.
Recently, I was reading the book of Isaiah, and I found a verse that I loved in Spanish:
“Fuera de Ti, desde tiempos antiguos nadie ha escuchado ni percibido, ni ojo alguno ha visto, a un Dios que, como Tú, actúe en favor de quienes en Él confían.” –Isaías 64:4 (NVI)
For those of you who can understand that, ¡muy bien! For the rest, never fear. I loved the verse so much, my eyes immediately darted over to the English translation to read what it said as well:
“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 (NIV)
Beautiful, right?! And the Spanish translation is just as lovely. Typically, the translations vary somewhat but the heart of the passage remains the same. In Isaiah 64:4, however, the final words of each verse are strikingly different to me.
In English, Isaiah 64:4 ends by saying that God acts on behalf of those who wait for Him. But that’s not who God acts for in the Spanish verse. In Spanish, the NIV says that God acts in favor of those who trust in Him.
That’s different, right? Someone who waits versus someone who trusts?
I tend to think so. After all, it is one thing to wait for someone, but quite another to trust in them. We have all waited for people in our lifetimes that we surely haven’t trusted, right?
Waiting and trusting aren’t the same thing. Are they?
For the NIV Bible translators [Nueva Versión Internacional (NVI) en español], these two verbs are synonymous in this verse. But this isn’t just the case in this verse… it is the same throughout the book of Isaiah.
Isaiah 8:17 links the idea of waiting and trusting together very clearly:
“I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding His face from the descendants of Jacob. I will put my trust in Him.” –Isaiah 8:17
In this verse, Isaiah says he is willing to wait on the Lord – even though he doesn’t see Him or feel Him at the moment – because Isaiah knows that God is the safest place to put his trust.
Isn’t that true for us as well? Aren’t we willing to wait on those we trust?
If we trust in someone, we are often much more willing to wait on them. We are willing to wait on a friend to decide her plans because we trust her. We are willing to wait on a significant other to propose marriage because we trust his intentions. We are willing to wait for a child to mature because we trust that she is capable.
This is true in our interpersonal earthly relationships, and it should be true in our relationship with God as well.
We are willing to wait on all kinds of people, for all kinds of things, because we trust them.
Are we willing to wait on God, for all kinds of things, because we trust Him?
If there is anyone we should trust, it should be our Heavenly Father.
Trusting God can feel risky – I know this from personal experience. But it is truly the safest thing we can do. Not only is it safe, it is what is best and easiest for us to do. Again, the book of Isaiah tells us so:
“This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: ‘In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.’” -Isaiah 30:15
Our salvation isn’t found in striving; it is found in repentance and rest. Our strength isn’t found in our own effort; it is found in quietness and trust. God tells us so in His Word. And here, in Isaiah 30:15, God tells us that for millennia, humankind has preferred to toil in our own might rather than rest and trust in Him.
Resting and trusting in God sounds a lot like waiting to me.
Waiting is the simplest thing we can do. But gracious, it can be so HARD.
It’s often the hardest, however, when we forget that God is God… and we are not. Once again, the eighth century B.C. prophet shoots us straight:
“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength, They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” –Isaiah 40:28-31
When we think our salvation and strength are found in our own doing, we will grow tired and weary. We will stumble and fall. But when we hope, wait, and trust in the Lord, He will be the One to renew our strength.
God longs to do this for us. God does not act on our behalf because He is forced to; God designed our relationship to be this way. God wants us to wait and trust in Him, so that He can take care of the rest.
Just as God was willing to take on our sin on the cross for us, He is willing to take on our day-to-day struggles, decisions, and needs for us as well. God doesn’t do this reluctantly – He longs to do this for us. All we have to do is wait and trust in Him. Isaiah once again tells us how God feels:
“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore He will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him!” –Isaiah 30:18
Often, trusting God looks like waiting on Him. It is then, in those moments of rest and quietness, that God acts on behalf of those who wait and trust in Him. I pray that you and I may be counted in that number. Gloria a Dios.
Today’s writer is Elizabeth Rogers. Elizabeth is the Connections Pastor at Classic City Church in Athens, GA. Passionate about the Spanish culture and language, Elizabeth served for three years with an international missions organization in Spain. She loves adventuring with her husband, group fitness classes, and morning quiet times outside with a good cup (or two or three) of coffee. Elizabeth currently resides in Athens, GA with her handsome goof of a husband, Josh. You can connect with Elizabeth via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.