I wrote a couple of weeks ago about living in a winter season. Patience is generally a strong suit of mine, but God stretched me beyond what I could handle on my own. I was not comfortable with the amount of time I had to spend in that season. What do we do while we’re waiting? What’s the appropriate response when God simply says “wait”.
When we are asking God about something specific in our lives, He has one of three answers; yes, no or wait. The problem with that “wait” option is that we are trying to discern if He is saying “no” or if we should in fact wait a little longer. When we feel like we should wait, there’s a few things we can probably agree on.
- It’s hard. From the time we were infants, we have never liked to wait. We want instant gratification. We are used to living on a timetable that isn’t always God’s. It reminds us that we are not always in control. When we pray, we may address him as “Lord”. By definition, a lord is someone who has control over or is master of someone. In our struggle, it goes against our human nature to admit that we actually have a lord. It’s humbling.
- It’s not always the popular response. Unfortunately, this can be true even among friends and family. Some people will think you’re crazy. This is why your relationship with Jesus Christ is your own. No one else knows what your discerning spirit is leading you to do. You may have to suffer a little criticism while you wait.
- It messes with your head. When we choose to wait on the Lord, rather than assume He is telling us “no”, after a while, it’s easy to feel forgotten. When our patience is running out, but we know deep down we need to continue waiting, our imagination can come up with all sorts of scenarios as to why we don’t have any direction yet. ” What am I doing wrong?”, ” Why can’t I hear you?”, ” Your word says to call on you and you will answer!!”, ” What’s the point?”. Not the prettiest picture of what happens while we’re waiting, but this is truth. I lived in this box for a while recently. It can be suffocating.
There are times in our lives when we have to make an immediate choice. I’ve come to forks in the road where I had to step right or step left with no time to pray. Or maybe there’s time to whisper a prayer, but no time to wait on an answer.
These are times where we use common sense. These are also times that we rely on what we already know about God. Listen, when we place our faith in God, we’ve just become one of His children. We should do whatever we can to get to know Him. This is where we partner with someone who has already been walking this road for a while. We get together and allow them to teach us how to study His word. We join a Bible study. Buy a devotional book and read a page each day. It’s in creating these disciplines and consistently learning more about Him that we will be able to make those knee jerk decisions that sometimes have to be made.
What can we do while we wait? If it’s important to us, it’s important to Him. Here are a few things to occupy us while we wait…
- Stay in the Word. Keep reading, even on days we don’t feel like it. Stay on course with our Bible study. Do a personal study…find out what He says about patience, hope, direction, His love for us. Make it a priority.
25 “The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
26 it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.”
Lamentations 3:25-26 NIV
- Seek wisdom from others. There should be people in our lives that we can trust and confide in. There are probably people in our lives that have already walked a similar road to the one we are currently walking. The Lord honors authentic relationships. Don’t be afraid to confide in a friend and ask for their wisdom and prayers.
“For lack of guidance a nation falls,
but victory is won through many advisers.” Proverbs 11:14 NIV
3. Be still. If we are seeking guidance from Him, we have to give Him our time so that He can speak and direct us. Be deliberate about putting aside time, not just to study and read His word, but to sit quietly. Get up before anyone else while the house is quiet. Stay up past everyone else and retreat to the porch. Soak up the silence and clear our minds.
“Be still before the Lord
and wait patiently for him…” Psalm 37:7a NIV
4. Keep moving with what we do know. I know He has never let me down. I know He has good plans for my future. I know that He knows when I am struggling. I know He is calling on me to trust Him while I wait.
I’ve seen this quote painted on canvases, scroll across all of my social media, hanging in homes…it hangs on my daughter’s bedroom door. It’s so simple. No, it’s not a Bible verse, but it does capture a little bit of what we should be doing while we wait on the Lord. Feel the rain. Embrace the struggle. The frustration. Use it to learn who we really are. When the impurities surface in our personalities, and they will, allow the rain from our storm to wash them away. Choose joy, choose to dance. Who knows, we might even realize that the very thing we are focused on and waiting for is not even the point of the waiting.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”…Romans 8:28 NIV