Have you noticed the medical test result or the hiring decision always seems to come next week?
Have you ever waited for something important to come in the mail, but it doesn’t come on Friday? You hope it’ll come on Saturday, but it doesn’t and…now you have to wait another 48-hours until Monday.
A few years ago, I’d gone out to dinner (Joe’s Crab Shack in Branson, MO!) with my wife and son. On our way back to where we were staying, we came to a traffic light that had turned red. We waited for it to turn green. And waited. And waited. And waited. It’s not like this was a busy intersection. In fact, it wasn’t busy at all. There were almost no cars on the road that had the green light.
The waiting made no sense at all.
And yet, we, along with the car in front of us and the car in front of that car…continued to wait. And wait. It was the longest red light I’ve ever seen. And it was all made worse by the fact that the waiting seemed so pointless.
Finally, the first car in line just went through the red light. So did the next car. I would have also except when I got to the front of the line, the light finally turned green.
Waiting is hard. It’s especially hard when we can’t understand why we’re waiting.
Are you waiting for something?
Results of a medical test?
Your spouse to finally understand your needs?
To be reconciled with a child?
An answer to a prayer?
A financial breakthrough?
There’s nothing easy about waiting. In the Christian life, it’s probably the hardest things we’ll ever do. Because if we’re waiting, it means we probably don’t have what we need or want. We have a desire that’s unfulfilled. Or we’re in emotional or physical pain. It means we have to do battle to believe God, not what we see or feel.
I’ll be honest, one of my greatest weaknesses has been waiting well. When a need or desire goes unmet long enough, if I don’t guard my heart and mind, I can become angry and disappointed. Not just at life, but at God. That’s been a dark road for me more than once.
I’m in a season of waiting right now. Maybe you are too. If you’re not, I’ll bet you just came out of one or will soon enter one. That’s just the way life is.
So if much of life involves waiting, let’s look at how to do it well. Here are four suggestions…
- Choose to believe God, not your circumstances or feelings. If we focus on our circumstances, then it’s easy to become fearful, worried and anxious. It’s also easy to begin thinking God isn’t very good or faithful. We have to settle it once and for all that we will choose to believe God is good, loving and faithful…no matter what. I’ve found that if I view God through the lens of my circumstances, He doesn’t look kind or loving at all. He seems distant, unconcerned and uncaring. I’m still on a journey of viewing my circumstances through the lens of God’s eyes.
- Delight yourself in the Lord. That means choosing to make Him your priority, to find your pleasure and enjoyment in Him. Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” This isn’t a magic formula, but it is a way to get our desires met. As we delight in God, He can change our desires to match His desires for us…and then fulfill them.
- Know that God likes to be trusted. Hebrews 11:6 says, “And without faith it is impossible to please God…” I found out what a big deal this is to God a number of years ago. You can read about it by clicking here.
- Use the power of your imagination to anticipate God’s blessings and favor. We can either focus on our current circumstances and/or on a worst possible outcome to our situation OR we can begin to anticipate the good God is bringing about for us. You don’t need to know how God is going to work on your behalf, only that He will. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to figure out how God will meet your need or fulfill your desire. You can’t possibly imagine all the ways God could bless you or answer your prayer or fulfill your desire. Let Him choose to surprise you if He wants to. Let Him be creative if He wants to be. Don’t project your limitations onto Him. He doesn’t have any.
My oldest daughter and her husband just celebrated their 9th wedding anniversary. They tried to get pregnant for about five years. Without success. After several years of trying, they began seeing various doctors and trying various procedures. Without success.
It was hard and disappointing for them. It was also hard and disappointing for this dad. I so badly wanted them to have a baby. My heart ached for them. And I had to fight hard to not let my negative thoughts run wild. It was a battle to not head down that dark road of anger and doubting God’s goodness.
We spent this past Christmas Eve at their house. When we arrived around dinner time, my daughter and son-in-law wasted no time in handing each of us an envelope. I have to say, I’m pretty perceptive. I usually have a good sense of what’s happening around me. I can read the vibes in a room. But not that night.
We all opened our envelopes at the same time. In it, was an ultra-sound image of our grandson. I was speechless. Maybe because of the lump in my throat.
Tyler was born on July 31st. This picture of me holding him was taken a few days ago.
I don’t know what you’re waiting for. God does though. And He knows when and how He’s going to answer your prayer, meet your need or fulfill your desire. In the meantime, choose to wait well…