How to Wait Well
When it comes to our spiritual lives, there is not a fast track. When we choose to entrust our entire lives to God, we simply have to wait on His guidance and timing for us. Sounds easy enough right? I don’t know about you, but I actually struggle with waiting. Yep, big time. Whether it is something as mundane as waiting in a grocery store line or something as serious as waiting for a life partner to come along, a baby to be born or a calling to be revealed, my natural inclination is to get to that “next” desired thing as fast and as efficiently as possible. I want what I want when I want it.
How about you?
If you are like me and are tempted to grumble during periods of waiting on God, take heed. It comes with the territory of faithful living. But instead of dreading or avoiding the inevitable periods of waiting that come along in life, we can actually learn to wait well. Here are a few reflections on how to wait well that have come out of my own periods of waiting:
(1) Wait in Action.
Waiting does not mean we sit twiddling our thumbs until ‘poof’ God brings us the desired thing or directive for which we are waiting. Waiting is not a passive thing. Rather, it is staying where we are and living actively in that place. It is the willingness to stay where we are and live out the situation to the fullest with the deep conviction that God is working. Patient living means to actively live in the present and wait there.
The Bible tells us we are complete in Christ no matter if we are single or married, with or without children, working or not. Colossians 2:9-10 (NLT) says,
“ For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.”
It doesn’t say you are complete IF. Rather, we are complete IN Christ. Period. And I think we are wise to approach seasons of waiting from this perspective. Our lives are not waiting to start. They have started and God has things for us to do in each season. Tim Keller speaks of waiting (in regards to singleness) as,
“…neither a condition without any struggle nor on the other hand an experience of misery. It is fruitfulness in life and ministry through the single state.”
I would argue that any state of waiting for something is a time for special fruitfulness in life and ministry. We can often fool ourselves into thinking that we will be happy or fulfilled or productive or fruitful WHEN…we get that thing we are waiting for. But really, God is working in every season, even through the difficult ones of waiting.
Try telling yourself: waiting is not passive, idle or dormant…it is active, productive and fruitful!
(2) Wait in Honesty.
Waiting well doesn’t mean each and every moment of every day is easy. Far from it. But this is a time to seek to go deeper with God. I love what the Psalmist in 62:8 says:
“Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.”
and in Psalm 56:9:
“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.”
We don’t have to pretend we are okay when we’re not. Bring it to God and let Him bring comfort, strength and grace in times of weakness. I am grateful for the difficult times of waiting in my life, for they have brought me into greater intimacy with God.
(3) Wait in Community.
It is easy to become hyper-independent and closed off from those around us during periods of waiting. We think no one else could possible understand. But God never intends for us to be isolated from his Body. Hebrews 10 says,
“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”
When you are waiting, reach out to someone and let them in on your journey. It will be worth it.
(4) Wait in Expectation.
When we pray and ask God for things, we must train ourselves to live with a greater consciousness of His presence. I love Psalm 5:3,
“In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.”
We can go about the tasks and activities of our days as usual, but with an unusual sensitivity to His working in our lives. We can be on continual alert, listening, watching and waiting with great expectation for God to show up. He could be sending us a message of hope, a directive, an instruction, a correction, a confirmation and we can miss them if we are not looking out for them.
We must also remember we have the Holy Spirit in us to guide us into all truth.
What does this mean in our waiting?
God says everything is made beautiful in its time. God is making everything beautiful in its perfect timing in your life and in mine right now. Even if it doesn’t look like He is present or we may at times feel like He has forgotten about our deepest desires of our hearts, we can know that He is right here with us holding our right hand and listening to every prayer because He promises to do so.
Choose today to embrace the wait. Doing it well shows trust in a God who really does know best.
How do you get through times of waiting? I could use some fresh encouragement.:)