I wouldn’t say that waiting is one of my strong suits. I don’t even enjoy waiting on hold or standing in long lines. Guess, I’d better “get a grip” since Christmas season has begun!
As much as we all despise waiting, it’s very much a part of our lives, isn’t it? We wait to become adults, longing for all the “fun” and responsibility it will bring. We wait through classes and lectures to become a graduate, thirsting for satisfaction and accomplishment. We wait to find Mr. or Mrs. “Right”. We wait to hold a child close to our heart. We wait to move up in our jobs. We wait for our dreams to come true. We wait for our prayers to be answered. We wait.
It’s almost like we were created to wait. If want to get really technical, we’d remember that we are in the “church age” and we are in fact, “in between the times” of Christ’s first and second coming. So indeed, we are all waiting!!
But it is painful. Have you ever felt like you were forgotten as you waited? As in, God just didn’t realize that your heart’s desire is being ignored?
As I’ve been waiting on the Lord for some things, I’ve found myself receiving comfort through His word. There really isn’t any other place where the truth is spoken so clearly. Instead of presuming things on God, I can go directly to Him for guidance and comfort while I wait. I need Him to speak into my heart when waiting feels like a heavy weight that I don’t want to bear or when I’m getting mad at Him for making me wait. Let’s just be honest here.
I find myself deep into the pages of scripture, reading the stories of Daniel, who waited along side hungry lions and Joshua, who waited along side a river for a promise that was to come. I read about Paul, who waited imprisoned, Noah, who waited for rain, and Hannah, who waited for a child. I read about a blind man who waited his whole life to see and a crippled man who waited to walk.
Each story is unique and distinct and provided in scripture to teach us. Like our lives, each one has meaning and purpose. Since waiting is a part of each of our lives and even clearly taught in scripture, will you then consider a few things with me?
1. Waiting points you to the only One who can meet your need. Hannah’s desire (1 Samuel 1) to have a child could only be fulfilled by the Lord. In His timing and as His plan was fulfilled, her dream came true. Probably the most difficult part of waiting is digesting that God will use any means necessary to glorify Himself through you. We are vessels to be used for His glory. When I begin to grasp that idea, I can more easily surrender to the wait.
2. Waiting gives you time to evaluate if what you are waiting for is worth pursuing. Have you ever asked yourself if this is your dream or something God has placed in your heart to pursue? We often think our life should unfold in a certain order or surge at a particular time. But, what if God has something else prepared for you? In the book of Ruth, Naomi felt bitter over her loss and like those who have suffered severe loss, she never asked for it. Through a beautiful story filled with loyalty, courage, and even loss, God brought His very own Son into the world through their family line. Their “change in dreams” held great purpose in bringing God glory and brought about an unexpected blessing.
3. Waiting provides strength and courage when you surrender to the God who allows you wait. Isaiah 40:31 says, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not grow weary and they shall walk and not faint.” Over time, as I’ve been waiting on the Lord, I’m beginning to gain some perspective that God provides while we wait. He actually renews us and strengthens us, as we trust in Him! It’s not to make you miserable, but rather has great purpose that we can’t always see. You will “soar” and even flourish when you trust God and make peace with waiting.
4. Waiting doesn’t equal brokenness. I’ve often heard single friends say, “I’m ok with where I’m at in life, but other people around me aren’t.” How sad that someone else tells them that the place God has them isn’t good enough. We need to understand that times of waiting are shaping and molding and we desperately need them. Embrace this stage if this is where you are and know that like Ruth, who longed for the covering of a spouse, Hannah, who longed for a child, and Joseph, who wanted out of jail, God hears your cries. You are not broken or forgotten in the situation He has you in today.
We may never fully understand why we have to wait. Trust that God, in His intimate love for you includes this period of waiting to perform the good works that He has planned for you to do. You are not forgotten, broken or unloved. If you embrace this stage of waiting, you learn to rest more fully in the God who is allowing you to wait and to understand His presence in a new and fulfilling way!