Secular artist Tom Petty once sang, “The waiting is the hardest part.” Boy! Isn’t that the truth? It’s hard to wait for future solutions to immediate problems. But the Bible says we are to wait on the Lord even when it’s hard, and even when we don’t understand. His timing is not our own. The past couple of weeks, I have been experiencing some waiting. During that time, I learned the hard way that HOW we wait is just as important as the waiting itself. See, waiting on God is tied to our faith and trust (or lack) in Him. And, there IS a secret to waiting without regret.
My Waiting Story Begins
I publish my blogs every Sunday after church, and each week I pray and ask God what He would have me write. Sometimes the blogs are big projects with lots of research, so I will get those ideas the weekend before or by Monday or Tuesday. Sometimes, the message comes in parts, with a relevant verse or a title or a topic here or there that, like a puzzle, gets put together a piece at a time throughout the week until I have a workable outline. I just keep praying and praying until I understand (and then I pray the whole time I’m writing to be sure He is pleased with what comes out).
I have learned from experience that I just have to keep listening. It does no good for me to try to “figure it out.” In fact, one week, I was kind of straining to hear, really just trying to talk it out. That Wednesday at church, my pastor said, “You can’t hear God speaking until He actually starts to speak” or something similar. I knew it was for me, and I still laugh thinking about it. I can’t MAKE God talk to me. He does it in His time, and until then, I wait.
The “What-Ifs” Started to Get Me
Last week, by that Friday, I still didn’t even have an idea. So, I started to get worried. I prayed off and on all day for my blog topic, even enlisting two of my best sister-friends in Christ to pray for me to hear. But, by Friday night when I still hadn’t heard anything, I was actually getting agitated. I knew that God had always come through for me before, but my Saturday was filled with other plans. If He didn’t hurry up, there was no way I would have time to write it and get it uploaded on schedule. Then the “what-ifs” started. “What if I did something to make Him angry?” “What if He doesn’t want me to blog anymore?” “Or What if I get the topic and I don’t have time to get it all done?”
God Came Through in His Time
Long story short, the topic popped right into my mind within just a few short paragraphs of opening my Bible for that night’s devotion. And that same night, two and a half hours after I started, I had a rough draft. All that worrying, first about not getting a topic at all and then about not having time to write was just ridiculous. God had the situation well under control. He is not in the business of hanging His people out to dry, and he wasn’t about to start with me. He also knew exactly what my schedule was like and how long it would take me to complete the project. There wasn’t a moment that was out of His control. Of course, after the fact, I felt terrible and repented for my lack of trust in Him.
Fast forward to this week. Again, I was at the end of the week with no topic. I had just learned the hard way not to question God and His timing, so I patiently waited. Friday night came and went…nothing. I refused to worry. I refused to be upset. Even when I was awake in the night, I prayed in faith that God would give me my topic in His time…and He did on Saturday morning.
We Wait Because He is Worth Waiting For
“And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, ‘He has done all things well…’”Mark 7:37a
The whole time I was waiting, there was never a moment when I thought to myself, “Well, I will just write something on my own.” God has given me enough wisdom to recognize that there is nothing special about me apart from Him. I don’t WANT my own way of doing things. I want only the best — and that’s Him. That goes for other areas of my life too. I pray desperately for His guidance in everything simply because He knows what’s best for me. Even when I think I know, chances are that I don’t. But He always does. How ever long it takes for Him to answer or move on my behalf, it is worth it, because if it’s from Him, it’s perfect.
Waiting is Active, Not Passive
“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I do hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning— yes, more than those who watch for the morning.”Psalm 130:5-6
Waiting on God isn’t passive, like waiting for a bus. You can’t just scroll on your phone. Instead, it involves praying and watching in faith, expecting Him to act. We know that He keeps His promises. We know that He is with us. It’s just a matter of time before we see His hand move for us. So, we can’t get frustrated or weary in well doing. We must remain confident that He has everything under control and will take care of us in the way that is best for our good and His glory.
Psalm 27:13-14 says, “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!” Our hearts are strengthened after we see the fruit of our waiting in hope: when God is with us and works things out for us.
The Secret to Waiting on God
“Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed…”Psalm 25:3a
In fact, that’s the secret to waiting well. We remind ourselves that God has never failed us yet. He is worthy of our faith and trust. We can look back at all the times when God took care of our needs, despite all of our worries. One practical way that I have found to do that is by keeping a journal. Every time I notice an interaction with God (an answered prayer, a supernatural blessing, a message of love), I write it down in my journal. Those few sentences here and there add up to a big blessing on days when I’m discouraged or sad. I just read through those journal entries, and I feel close to God again.
Worry, on the other hand, will never help any situation but is simply a symptom of lack of faith in God. We have to remind ourselves to behave in a way that, when we look back, we are pleased with ourselves and not ashamed. It helps to memorize and recite Isaiah 41:10. “Fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” God is with us. We don’t have to be distressed because He calls us His own. He has promised to help us and use His power to get us through.
Waiting on God is a Blessing
“…Blessed are all those who wait for Him.”Isaiah 30:18d
Someone once said in humor, “Dear God, please give me patience – right now!” It’s funny but painfully true. We need His help to have patience because it is a fruit of the Spirit. It’s something that we can only bear when we are abiding in Him. We do that by trusting in His character as a good and faithful God who keeps His promises even if we don’t fully understand the situation. We actively wait in hope, and when the trial is over and we move from the valley to the mountain, we can look back at our experience without regret.
Enjoy articles about lessons I have learned? Check out When Obedience Is the Sacrifice in which God shows me that it is better to obey than to regret. Or, try God Answered the Prayer I Didn’t Pray. In that one, I learn the importance of leaning on God for strength. Please sign up to receive my blog in your email inbox. at the upper right of your screen (or at the bottom on a phone). Also, check out my YouTube Channel where I read the blogs out loud.