Waiting is part of life. There is no getting around it.
Sometimes waiting is easier because we know what’s coming. We are in a queue for the thing that we know we will get if we are patient. This is the reason why some of us stand in line for hours for a free pizza, free Build a Bear, and free ice-cream, because we know that eventually we will get what we have come to get and it is worth the wait to get it! (One of our friends waited 8 hours in line to get Build a Bear her three kids under the age of six in hot summer weather! Wow!)
But the hardest kind of waiting is when we are unsure of what is there on the other side. I remember how excruciating the two week periods were as we waited to find out the result of our infertility treatments. It is hard when we want something so badly, and we have paid a great price for a chance to have it, but there is no guarantee.
One of the central themes we see in the Bible is waiting.
The people of Israel waited for their Messiah who would deliver them. Some waited well. Some didn’t.
Some characters in the Bible waited for the fulfillment of God’s promises for their lives: Abraham and Sarah for a son, Moses for the Promised Land, David for his place on the throne… and the list goes on. Some waited well. Some didn’t.
The disciples of Jesus didn’t quite understand what Jesus said about His death and resurrection. So they didn’t wait for the resurrection after He died. They went back to fishing.
But, after Jesus rose from the dead and showed Himself to them for forty days, they listened and followed Jesus’ order “Do not leave Jerusalem and wait for the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 1:4-8)
Today, we live in a time of waiting for the return of our King, Jesus, to establish His kingdom forever on this earth.
It is crucial to our Christian faith that we learn to wait well.
The Hebrew word for wait is qavah. It means to look eagerly for, to lie in anticipation, and to linger for. Waiting is not passive as it can sometimes feel. It is an active posture, waiting and looking eagerly for what God has next for us.
How do we wait well?
- Remember that God has an eternal perspective.
It is hard to wait when we forget that we are created for eternity. When our mind is set on what is here, and now, then we live for only that. But, we were created not only for today but for eternity.
God is preparing us for eternity with Him, and He has our whole lives to do that. Often what seems urgent for us today isn’t urgent for God, because He has a much longer-term perspective. Taking time to focus every day on eternity will help us put things in perspective and wait well.
- Remember that God is not slow.
Waiting on God, as the Bible often exhorts us to do, can feel excruciatingly slow. But our feelings and impatience deceive us.
God is not slow.
In 2 Peter 3:9, the Apostle Peter had this to say: “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (ESV)
To us, God’s timing can feel slow. But, God has a reason for what appears like slowness to us. It says it is because He is patient.
When you feel the urgency and the desire to seize control of the situation because God seems too slow, remember that what looks like slowness to us is His patience toward us.
- Remember that God has not forgotten.
Psalm 139:17-18, this is what the Psalmist writes.
“Every single moment you are thinking of me! How precious and wonderful to consider that you cherish me constantly in your every thought! O God, your desires toward me are more than the grains of sand on every shore! When I awake each morning, you’re still with me.” (TPT)
Do you believe this truth? God’s thoughts toward you are precious and wonderful to consider. His desire towards you is more than the grains of sand on every shore!
Isn’t this an incredible truth? When I take a moment to just think about this truth, my heart can’t help but worship and thank God! It is an amazing truth about how God cares, sees, and values us.
When God is not answering our requests at the speed we want, we are tempted to think that God is inattentive – either because we aren’t important to Him or because he is somehow withholding good things from us because of something we’ve done.
We can’t wait well if we begin to think that God doesn’t care.
But, we can wait well and surrender our anxieties, wants, and fears because in His every thought, we are cherished.
Through waiting, God often reveals to us the lies that we believe about who we are to God and who God is to us. We can surrender to God in our waiting because we know we are always in His thoughts. He has not forgotten about us.
- Remember to hope in God and take courage.
Psalm 27:14, The Psalmist exhorts with these words: “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! “
Don’t get discouraged because waiting is hard. Waiting is inherently hard. It takes strength and courage. God tells us to be strong and courageous, not because we are weak and cowardly, but because we are capable of strength and courage. However, He knows we need encouragement to make those choices.
Don’t wait just for the outcome you want, but wait expectantly to see what God does. You can pray for the outcome, but surrender yourself to what God does.
Don’t bail on God. Waiting is not just giving up and accepting whatever happens. Wait with hope in God.
When we wait with our hope placed in God himself, our strength will be renewed! Isaiah 40:31 writes, ”but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” (ESV)
- Remember to inquire of the Lord, and do not run ahead of God.
One of my favorite characters in the Bible is David. I love his heart for God. He loved God with all of his heart, with all his soul, and with all his strength. (Deuteronomy 6:4-5)
One of his regular practices was to inquire of God, to seek His counsel and guidance, and to know His will whenever he faced trials. We see seven times that David inquired of the Lord in the book of 1 and 2 Samuel.
David, during a period of prosperity and peace in his kingdom, he desired to build a temple for God. Nathan, the prophet even told him to go ahead and do it. But, God came to prophet Nathan later that evening and said to him that David is not to build a temple for God, but that his son will. (2 Samuel 7)
Are you a person who inquires and wait for God’s guidance or do you run ahead and try to solve your trials on your own? Do you run ahead of God when you have a great idea about things you want to accomplish for His kingdom? What if God has a different plan?
When you come to God in prayer, inquiring of God for His guidance and counsel, God will direct your steps.
Are you in a season of waiting?
The season of waiting is a special season in our lives where we are actively anticipating, looking eagerly toward, and lingering for God to show up.
Don’t begrudge this period of waiting. God will not fail those who wait for Him!