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
I don’t know about you, but my teenage son does not like to wait. Rather than sit and be patient, he’ll pull out a game on his phone or, barring that, make one up with anything at hand.
“Dad, let’s see how many walls we can bounce this ball off before it hits the ground. The ceiling counts, too!”
“Son, I don’t think that’s a great idea in your doctor’s waiting room….’
This impatient behavior is not something built into his DNA. And I’m certain he’s not alone. Young men between the ages of 13 to 19 have testosterone coursing through their bodies and have yet to experience the usefulness of their fully developed executive functions.
They want to move, risk, create, and destroy. The 'action' of waiting is not placed high on their ‘to do’ lists.
Yet, the Word of God shows us in Isaiah 40:31 that there are times when we need to wait, and we want our children to follow the words of the Lord. But I don't think that's what God is saying.
Waiting Patiently vs. Actively Waiting
Growing up, my parents would take us to a wonderful restaurant in Portland, ME called The Roma. For a good reason, it was only on rare occasions we enjoyed the treat. We were surrounded by white tablecloths, real napkins, and hushed conversations from neatly dressed patrons.
We were told to touch nothing, save our silverware, and to not make a sound.
And, while we were not frequent visitors, it always seemed one particular waiter was at the table.
His name was David. Everything he did possessed a bit of flair, good humor, and a complete attention to detail. When I was twelve, it was a bit embarrassing – why would anyone make such a big deal out of serving dinner? When I was 16, I began to give him my grudging appreciation.
When I was 19 and wanted to impress a date, where do you think I took her?
David was an amazing server. He made every table he served feel like they were the only ones in the room. He always did his best to anticipate the needs and fulfill the desires of his guests. He never simply took our order and brought the food out of the kitchen. Instead, he was actively serving in every way he could.
When Isaiah says to ‘wait on the Lord,’ I think what He meant was that we should do our best to fulfill God’s desires. For us to actively serve Him.
If this is the case, how then are we to serve God? The scriptures give us several ideas:
By acting justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with Him. (Micah 6:8)
By picking up our cross and following Him. (Luke 14:27)
By serving the poor, widows, and orphans. (Jeremiah 22:16)
By developing the talents he has given us to serve His mission. (Matthew 25:14-30)
All of these ideas have two things in common: following the commands of God first and serving His people. (Sound familiar? Check out how Jesus said it.)
Both are active rather than passive exercises. And, that’s what our teen boys need. Action! Adventure! A sense of fulfilling a great purpose! Our sons won’t be waiting for the Lord. They’ll be waiting on Him, and that’s when the adventure really starts.
Let Us Help You
So, how do you help get your son to the point of understanding the importance and power of actvely serving the Lord?
By having real conversations about the challenges coming up in his life – and relating to your own life story. In addition, you need to provide him with experiences and skills that will prepare him for the responsibilities of a Christian manhood. Finally, you need to study what the Bible says about all this - together.
Our Pathway to Manhood workbook was developed to help you guide your son towards this goal. The seven chapters offer an easy way to have important conversations that are often awkward to start and real-world skill development If you'd like, sign up for our mailing list and get the first chapter for free.
Start taking an intentional approach to your son's growth in Christ. It will be worth the effort!