Waiting is undeniably hard.
We live in a world of instant gratification. If we want to know something we do a quick Google search. If we want to buy something, we Amazon Prime it for the next day or even the same day! If we want to do something we just do it without thinking. Carpe diem! We live in a world that doesn’t like to wait. Adverts constantly telling us that we need the next big shiny new thing in order to be happy. I want it and I want it now.
We make to-do lists with unachievable expectations of when we’ll be able to tick each item off. We live hurried lives trying to fit as much as we can in to every spare moment of the day saying, “If only I could have more time in a day, then I’d be able to do x, y and z.”
Waiting can bring out the worst in us. Our impatience can make us anxious and frustrated, and those closest to us having to bear the brunt of our bad moods and lack of good humour. Lack of faith makes us question if what we’re waiting for will actually happen.
We’re all living in a time of waiting as I write this. We’re experiencing a global pandemic where as a nation we stumble through the unknown, waiting for things to look up, checking our newsfeed each day looking for something to change. Seeking any positive step in the right direction, we wait for things to go back to what we once knew as normal – or the “new normal”…whatever that means. Slowly, things are in fact changing for the better, but probably not as quickly as we’d like.
I’ve struggled to be patient these last few months and will undoubtedly continue to struggle at various times to come. Plans cancelled, holidays postponed, diaries emptied. Anxiety about a very real health emergency. Possibly facing the loss of a loved one. Let’s face it, it’s not easy. But as I’ve wrestled with these struggles I’ve also come to realise how much I need Jesus. I’ve been forced out of my comfort zone and into the unknown with Him. And I’ve realised His “way of the unknown” is much more exciting, because it’s actually only unknown to me. God has always known what my next step will be and the amazing thing is that He chooses to reveal just the right amount of information or self-awareness, at just the right time along the way, that’s just right for me.
Here are some things I’ve learned about waiting well along the way.
Waiting well is a choice
If we want to wait well on God’s timing we must choose to surrender ours. It says in Micah 7:7, “As for me, I look to the Lord for help. I wait confidently for God to save me, and my God will certainly hear me.” (The Passion Translation, emphasis added) It’s up to us to fix our eyes on God with confidence – with the certain knowledge that He does hear our prayers and He will save us from wrestling with the waiting.
Waiting well takes hard work
“Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.” Psalm 27:14 (TPT)
The Psalms are full of verses about waiting even when it is hard. We are told to be brave and courageous as we wait which means at times it will be an uphill fight to keep waiting and keep trusting God as He prompts us to examine our character and do the hard work of facing up to and beginning to deal with the issues in our lives that God highlights. Why not use this time to work on the areas of your life that aren’t fruitful? David says, “I am worn out waiting for your rescue, but I have put my hope in your word.” (Psalm 119:81, TPT). When things are really tough look to God’s word for His promises, encouragement and hope. His truth will keep you going. God doesn’t rush us in our pain and struggling, but leads us gently to healing.
Waiting well means believing for the best to come
Often we have a plan of some sort for each day, month or year. We think we know what will make us happy and fulfilled and spend our time doing those things. There’s nothing wrong with doing this until the moment our plans become more important than His plans, until the moment we settle for a mediocre life instead of waiting for His best. Have we got so used to writing the plans for our lives that we’ve forgotten who has a plan written out for us since before we were born? “You saw who you created me to be before I became me! Before I’d ever seen the light of day, the number of days you planned for me were already recorded in your book.” (Psalm 139:16, TPT)
In this time of pandemic, our plans have been cancelled and many of our choices have been taken away. At this time, as our days look different from what they did, why don’t we re-evaluate the things that are worth keeping in our diaries from now on? Let’s let go of the things that were unhelpful or unfruitful and say “Yes!” to what God has for us…even if that means waiting for it.
Here is a poem to sum up these thoughts on waiting. Are you willing to surrender?
In the Waiting
Waiting is hard.
There I said it. I’m impatient.
Waiting takes perseverance, resilience.
It’s a breeding ground for anxiety and fear.
Doubt creeps in. Can I really trust that which is unseen?
Waiting is monotonous. Samey. Familiar. Comfortable, yet somehow also uncomfortable. Do I really need to get up and do the same thing all over again?
Waiting is a time to weed out all that hinders. Tilling the soil of my heart in order to break new ground.
Wait a minute…Breaking new ground. Surely that’s worth waiting for
Breaking new ground means new growth. Fresh perspective. Good things!
What if in the waiting I am willing? Willing to be obedient. Willing to surrender. Willing to put my hope in the Author.
What if in the waiting I raised my hands as an act of worship? Made a choice to put my faith in my creator. The creator of what I’m waiting for.
Like a mother waiting in preparation to birth new life, what if in the waiting I prepared my heart for His sure promise? Yielding to His perfect will. Direct access to His divine wisdom and strength. Surrounded by His presence. Held by love until just the right moment.
Written by Ruth Atherton