I’ve had to wait for a lot of things in life. I don’t mean waiting in lines or waiting for a doctor’s appointment – we’ve all had to wait for those – but waiting in hopeful expectation for a major life change. And while I’d like to tell you that I always “wait on the Lord” joyfully, that would be a lie. Most of the time I’ve waited impatiently, and at times, even untrustingly of God.
Too often we care more about the gift more than the Giver. We can only see God’s work being done after we get what we want, instead of His greatest work being done in our waiting. But for us that’s actually good news, because, aren’t we always waiting for something?
I waited five years to attend the college of my choice only to be wait-listed. A year and a half after I started at my second-choice school, I received a phone call that I had accepted to my first-choice but I only had three days to drop out of my current school, move to Pennsylvania and begin classes. Because of the inconvenient timing I almost didn’t go. I told God he had a great sense of humor, but awful timing. Thankfully, He gently reminded me that I had been waiting years in hopeful expectation for this very news.
Then there was the time I prayerfully waited more than a year for a very specific job. When I finally got the job it seemed quick to everyone else but to me felt like finally crossing the finish line after years of prayer, pleading, striving and hoping.
And then there are the desires I’m still waiting for: a family. A house. A miniature pig. (To go with my mini animal farm, of course.)
Because I’ve desired these things for a long time does it mean I’ll get them? Absolutely not. But you know what? I’m going to keep hoping for them until the day I no longer desire them. Or the day that I finally meet Christ face-to-face. Either way – I can’t lose.
My problem has been that I’m never sure how to wait well, in a way that pleases God. I usually get impatient, then frustrated, then want to quit, then give it another shot, then get even more disheartened. As convenient as it would be, we can’t snap our fingers and stop wanting something (just ask anyone who has gone through the pain of unrequited love!).
How to Wait On the Lord Without Giving Up
We tell others that if they wait on the Lord He will renew their strength – and then turn around and forget it when it comes to our own lives. The most beautiful things in life take time to create. A baby. A relationship. Maturity. We cannot speed up the process because it needs time to grow and change. Sometimes we need time to grow and change too. Learning patience also acknowledges the fact that life is not on our timetable, but in God’s hands, which is far better.
Perhaps He is giving you rest today so that you can run tomorrow. Or perhaps He is working behind the scenes for something to come to fruition. (The right job, the right boyfriend, healing). Either way we must trust in His timing even if it feels like it takes a thousand days to us. To Him it is just one day.
With a Willingness to Give up Our Desires
Often I’m guilty of believing that just because I have a strong desire within me, it must be from God. I find the ones that align with Scripture and stick around usually are but then there are times I want something SO SO SO bad…only to change my mind a few days later.
Too often our focus is on our desires instead of God’s will. But really, what’s more important? That we get what we (think we) want… or that we get God? Nothing He can give us on this earth is more valuable than a relationship with Him. We must be careful not to value the gift over the Giver. Sometimes we’re called to lay down our desires and walk away, or at least be willing in our hearts to do so.
Imagine a child who never looked forward to Christmas or their birthday because they thought their parents didn’t care about them and wouldn’t bother to buy gifts anyway. Sadly, for some parents that may be true but not with our heavenly Father. No, we don’t always get exactly what we want, or more often, what we think we want, but let’s not forget that He is our father who loves to give good gifts either.
How often do we pray without any expectation that God will answer us? I know I do it all the time. What a waste of words. Instead let’s first pray for God to show us His will in the matter, and if we believe it aligns – keep praying and knocking and seeking!
As 1 John 5:14-15 says, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.”
What have you had to wait on the Lord for? What are you still waiting for?