You chose the perfect restaurant, gathered your friends and/or family, and showed up at the agreed upon time. Your new haircut and cute shoes make you feel great, and you’re looking forward to an evening of quality time with people you love, until you speak with the hostess. “I’m sorry, she says, there’s a 45 minute wait. Should I put your name on the list?” The energy of the night seems to fall as quickly as your hair, the kids are getting hungry, and suddenly, waiting feels like your biggest enemy.
Waiting. Some are more naturally inclined to it, but none can avoid it or walk through waiting seasons perfectly. Perhaps waiting makes you feel like this cartoon song from my childhood… 🙂 I think we can all relate to the thought, ‘are we there yet’? We naturally look towards the next event, desired outcome, or longing fulfilled, but being present in the unfinished and incomplete realities we all face is most certainly not natural. The ability in our modern society to have many wants and needs provided with a simple phone call or click of a button further drives our souls towards impatience and discontent. Can we truly find joy and hope while we wait?
Teach us, O Lord, the disciplines of patience, for to wait is often harder than to work. – Peter Marshall
Waiting certainly has it benefits: the chance to develop confidence in God’s goodness & character, the ability to grow in our need for and appreciation of community, and the development of peace and confidence when the right door opens, among other things. How have your life, career, soul, family, and/or relationships benefited from your seasons of waiting? I’d love to hear in the comments!
Waiting on the Lord to lead us into His will for our family has been joyful at times, excruciating at other times, and very rarely what we have expected! I have historically been a ‘jump-first-ask-questions-later’ type of gal, but have had the privilege of learning from a man who patiently considers every decision and *hopefully* some of it has rubbed off on me? Throughout the last year or two of waiting, there have been wonderful surprises that have energized us and kept us going a little further. I could make you a list of things that we have & are waiting for…but I could make an equally long list of all God has done while we have waited. My intent is not to conjure up sympathy over the difficulties we have faced, but rather to challenge and inspire us as we all strive to wait on God in big and small ways. Your waiting could be visible, or it could be known to few or none but yourself…but God sees your heart as you wait, and is pleased as you seek to honor Him. I don’t intend to write a theology of waiting here…you can find a good one here or here. I am simply sharing a bit of what God has been stirring in my heart.
Where do you fall on this spectrum? How can we encourage each other as we grow in our confident expectation of God’s goodness on our behalf despite the circumstances we are facing?
Waiting that honors God:
- inspired by confidence in God’s character
- putting your hope in Christ (not in what you are waiting for)
- spurred on by fellowship, encouragement, or conviction from others
- desiring time to pray, consider, and hear from God
- time spent seeking counsel
- allowing suffering to finish its work in our hearts
- waiting with joy, praise & thanksgiving
- using it as a time of preparation and eager expectation
- surrounding yourself with those who are waiting with joy and godliness
Waiting that grieves His heart:
- avoidance of difficult responsibilities or conversations
- avoidance of specific callings or burdens given by God
- doubting God will be with us
- expecting the neon sign telling us how or when to move forward
- waiting in doubt, fear, or discontent
- giving in to anger & demanding-ness
- despairing that God will not answer or has forgotten us
- living in passivity and inaction
- waiting fueled by fear of man vs. fear of God
- waiting for the perfect _________.
What would you add to either list? It is so easy to jump from one list to the other as well! This is another area where prayer, the Word, and fellowship help us to see our blind spots and live in a way that more closely reflects God’s heart and desires for us as His children.
I will admit, I have been stalling a bit on putting up this new blog…at times to seek counsel and wisdom in prayer (good waiting), some days out of fear (bad waiting), other days because I felt I had no good news to report (pride and/or shame)…but the BEST NEWS has never changed! As Christians, we have a secret super-power 🙂 – we can find deep joy and peace in Christ as we wait, whether or not God ever provides what we want! This is perhaps best displayed during the ‘imperfect’ seasons of life. God has given His life so that we might know Him, be known by Him, and be changed into the image of His Son. So that we might live with Him for eternity. So that we can live out the Gospel in our homes, churches, workplaces, and communities. So that we can continue the work that He began!
Remember this, had any other condition been better for you than the one in which you are, divine love would have put you there. – Charles Spurgeon
Finding this joy in Christ is simple, but not easy. If you do not know Christ, you must acknowledge your sin & need for Him, accept His grace, and put your faith in His finished work on the Cross to live in relationship with Him now and throughout eternity. If you do know Christ, you must also cry out to God, asking for His daily mercies to sustain us, but also join hands with other believers for support. No unwelcome circumstance can change His will for us, and there are many practical commands about God’s will that have nothing to do with getting what we want or making decisions (His will that we be sanctified & avoid immorality, that we suffer for good, and that we choose thankfulness, for example.) Good things to practice while we wait!
Forgive me for waiting for things ‘to get better’ before I poked my head out again into this visible blogging space. God has continually impressed on me the ministry of sharing my weakness so that others may know His power perfected through me. But the Enemy likes to whisper lies and in a world that ‘has it all together’, being a honest voice that admits her insufficiency and desperate need for God is not always fun!
So, welcome to my humble blogging home – it’s a work in progress! Let’s all gather around the well of grace, knowing it will never run dry, and we will never be too much for Him. What a relief.
May we grow as we wait, sing as our hands remain empty, and share when they are filled to overflowing, for it is in Him that true joy is found, not in the things that we so deeply crave. Perhaps a better title to this post would be not what are we waiting for, but how are we waiting, and are we waiting on the only One who can fill our empty souls?
Psalm 62:5-8 (ESV): “For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him, He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.”