In my personal time with the Lord, I’ve been studying about waiting on God. I can think of a lot of circumstances for which we must wait: a change in career, a longed-for spouse or child, building a house, selling a house, emotional and physical healing, necessary finances, etc. When I feel like the Lord is not on my timetable, I’m often tempted to run ahead and take my own course of action. In studying the Scriptures, I’ve seen that this lack of discipline can have horrendous consequences.
And I’ve seen that in my own life that an impatient heart beats uncomfortably and makes me—and people around me—pretty miserable. I’ve sensed that the Lord has led me to a season of waiting. I’m not sure what this season will birth, but I am learning so many rich things in the process.
Here are a few of my lesson of waiting:
Rest in God. Be still.
Lamentations 3:26 says that, “It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.” Waiting quietly runs against the grain of my I-can-do-it, watch-me-now mentality. And yet, I long for stillness of heart and mind. Sometimes a season of waiting brings that gift. Counselor Helen Luke cautions that without significant times to be still, we “extinguish the possibility of growth and walk backwards.” Here’s the paradox: we achieve our deepest progress standing still.
Not only do we make progress in standing still, but we also receive gifts that come only in the dark of the unknown and the hidden. God promises in Isaiah 45: “I will give you treasures in the darkness, riches stored in secret places.” I don’t want to miss a single treasure or any amount of riches by failing to wait on God. He has something special for me in every season!
Resist the temptation to get ahead of God.
The Scriptures are replete with examples of people who did not wait on God, but took things into their own hands, and then suffered the consequences. In Genesis 16, Sarah disobeyed God. He had promised her a son, despite her old age. When Sarah’s circumstances stretched beyond her faith, she offered her handmaiden to her husband. We still see the consequences of her failure to wait on God each day on CNN. Abraham’s two sons, Ishmael and Isaac, are still fighting.
The Israelites also got ahead of God and disobeyed Him. While in the desert—a defined place of waiting—they “. . . did not wait for His counsel” and “. . . put their God to the test” (Psalm 106:13b, 14b). The result? God “sent a wasting disease upon them” (15b). Eugene Peterson translates that passage in The Message by saying: “He gave them exactly what they asked for—but along with it, they got an empty heart.”
Getting ahead of God is a lonely place to be. It breaks our fellowship with Him, and like Sarah and the Israelites, it affects more than just ourselves. Whether or not I obey God effects people around me and could hurt future generations. Now that’s sobering!
Remember God’s promises while you wait.
“Blessed are all who WAIT for Him” Isaiah 30:18
“They that WAIT upon 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” Isaiah 40:31.
“[God] acts on behalf of those who WAIT for Him” Isaiah 64:4.
“WAIT on the Lord; . . . and He shall strengthen your heart” Psalm 27:14.
“. . . those that WAIT upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth” Psalm 39:9
“The eyes of all WAIT upon Thee; You give them their meat in due season” Psalm 145:15
“The Lord is good unto them that WAIT for Him” Lamentations 3:25
“I will WAIT for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me” Micah 7:7
Redeem the Time
If I am going to be in a season of waiting, then I want to make the most of it. I don’t want to miss what God has for me by fretting feverishly. Saying “Yes” to the Lord always brings joy in the end, so I want to choose joy by faith. God never wastes anything when we submit to Him. He can make something beautiful out of ashes, something joyful from mourning, and something praiseworthy from heaviness (Isaiah 61:3). And I realize that God will grow me in the process if I stick close to Him. I love how The Message translates Romans 8:24, 25:
“ . . . waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.”
Recognize Jesus’ Example
Author Sue Monk Kidd makes an interesting observation about Jesus’ life: “One day while I was reading in the gospels [she writes], it occurred to me that when important times of transition came for Jesus, he entered enclosures of waiting—the wilderness, a garden, the tomb. Jesus’ life was a balanced rhythm of waiting on God and expressing the fruits of that waiting” (from When the Heart Waits).
My heart’s desire is to find that “balanced rhythm” and to express the fruits of this season. God’s promised fruit recorded in Galatians 5:22 includes the gift of patience, and exhorts us to “keep in step with the Spirit.” Only by Jesus’ Spirit can we expect to endure a season of waiting and birth patience. Only by fixing our eyes Jesus as our example can we keep from losing heart. ~Judy