How To Wait Patiently
Are you currently waiting on the Lord? Maybe you’re waiting for a job, a spouse or a wayward child to return home. Maybe you’re waiting for wisdom for the next steps or how to handle a hard situation. Waiting is hard because there is so little we have to wait on these days. We can microwave a meal in three minutes. We can journey across the globe in one day. If we want an answer to any question, Google has it in three seconds. Not to mention, we can send a text in one second without waiting for the mail to arrive.
In our fast-paced, instant-access society, when we suddenly don’t have what we want most, and we have to wait, we feel helpless, weak and powerless because we don’t know how to wait patiently.
Sometimes we even question God like David did in Psalm 13:1, “How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?”
We wonder if God hears. We question if God cares. That’s called doubt.
Have you ever doubted God? I have. Years ago I felt God’s call to adoption. I waited and prayed for seven years (without nagging!) for God to put the same call on John’s heart too. Then I waited for two years as we did paperwork. And I waited another year after the paperwork was finished for a child. But the call never came. Instead, I was confronted with doors closing on the international path we’d chosen.
After ten years of waiting my heart was broken. Why God? Why?
In my brokenness, I turned to God. Even in tears, I told Him that I trusted Him. Verses like these resonate in my heart:
I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning. Psalm 130:5-6
Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. Psalm 27:14
And in my waiting and seeking I realized I wasn’t alone.
The Bible is filled with those who wait.
One of my favorite waiting stories is about a man who waited his whole life for a glimpse of the promised Messiah.
Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Luke 2:25-26
As he took the child, Jesus, in his arms Simeon proclaimed it was worth the wait.
“Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised. I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!” Luke 2:29-32
In Simeon’s waiting He saw the Lord. And in our waiting we also discover Him too. Every minute that Simeon waited made the joy of receiving even more precious.
Why does God ask us to wait? Waiting prepares your heart. Even when your mind feels ready for a task, your heart might not be there yet. Waiting allows God time to fill the gap between your head and your heart.
What to do while you wait:
1. Be thankful for who God is and what He’s done.
The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love (Psalm 103:8). Thank Him, knowing the waiting comes from His compassion, grace and love. Treasure Him for all He is. Know that if you never receive what you’re waiting for God is enough.
2. Walk in obedience in what God has already called you to.
Living a righteous life happens one day at a time. Instead of trying to hurry God up, walk faithfully where He has you now.
3. Be honest in your struggle.
As I waited for adoption doors to open I shared my struggle. I asked friends to pray for my family. I shared how I didn’t understand why we were having to wait for doors to open to adopt a child when it’s clearly God’s mandate in Scripture. The amazing thing is that a praying friend was the connection with our daughter’s birth mom. In my willingness to share my struggle (not with complaining but with humility) God opened the doors.
4. Seek God for strength.
Waiting is never easy, but when we are at the end of ourselves it’s then we turn to—and depend on—God’s strength. “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 NASV
5. Realize that the waiting is part of God’s ultimate YES!
Romans 11:34-36 says, “Is there anyone around who can explain God? Anyone smart enough to tell him what to do? Anyone who has done him such a huge favor that God has to ask his advice? Everything comes from him; Everything happens through him; Everything ends up in him. Always glory! Always praise! Yes. Yes.” (MSG). Even though the waiting was hard the final yes was much more beautiful than I ever imagined.
For me, Jesus’ ultimate YES wasn’t one child adopted but SEVEN. Yes, seven. When God opened the doors He opened a floodgate, and we adopted seven children in five years.
Looking back I’m so thankful for the time of waiting. I’m thankful that I allowed God to prepare my heart and my life. God’s YES was bigger than I ever hoped or dreamed.
Here’s a prayer for you:
Oh Lord, I know You’re a good God, but the truth is that I’m tried of waiting. I know You have the perfect answer. I trust You have the perfect solution, but waiting for the moment you decreed is tough.
Please be with me as I wait. Let me see You as I never have before. Help me to trust You and see You in new ways. Prepare my heart, Lord, as I wait, and finally thank You for Your ultimate yes.
In Jesus’ name,
Friend, today I’m also praying for you. I’m praying that God’s current NO will allow time, space and preparation for His ultimate YES. To God be the glory!
Waiting is difficult.
And difficult times are often when we grumble. I know I did. But as I grasped the beauty of God’s plan I became more aware of how the waiting can conform us to His likeness. When we grumble and complain we miss the opportunity to behold His majesty in our circumstances.
Last year my family and I embarked on a journey to living out a grumble free year and to grab ahold of the life of joy that God has promised us. And you know what? We did it! It wasn’t always easy and we weren’t always grateful. But we learned to find our peace beyond our circumstances and to thank God for that. That mindset has made all the difference in the state of our hearts.
These days we are living different lives.
Oh, we still face trials and disappointments, as everyone does from time to time. But we’ve learned to focus on the good and the Giver of good gifts–the best of which is Himself.
I’d love to share this journey with you in my new book The Grumble Free Year. It’s available at all your favorite online book retailers and right now there are some wonderful pre-order bonuses available. Click here to pre-order and get your FREE bonuses: www.thegrumblefreeyear.com