Waiting can be hard. When was the last time you had to wait for something? Maybe it was for food at a “fast food” place. Or maybe you had to wait in line at the store in order to check out.
Our culture is one that runs on speed. People want things and they want things now. It used to take an hour (or so) to make a baked potato. Today you can have one in 10 minutes in the microwave. Some people have called us a “microwave” society. This makes it even more challenging when we have to wait on God.
Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart be courageous. Wait for the Lord. –Psalm 27:14.
God doesn’t always move at the speed that we wish He would, but he moves at just the right speed.
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. –2 Peter 3:9.
Sometimes it doesn’t feel that way though. Sometimes when we are waiting on God if feels like we are all alone. It feels like God has checked out on us. It feels like we will never get a response. We wait and wait, but hear nothing.
Maybe you have been there. If you haven’t you will. So, what do you do when you are waiting on God? Here are some suggestions.
1. Keep praying.
It may feel like it isn’t working, like your prayers are just hitting the ceiling, but trust me, God hears our prayers.
I waited patiently for the Lord, and he turned to me and heard my cry for help. –Psalm 40:1.
God knows what we are going through. God knows what we need, even before we ask it (Matthew 6:8). God wants us to keep praying to Him.
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. –Luke 18:1
First Thessalonians 5:17 reiterates this idea by saying, “Pray continually.” Sometimes when we are waiting we feel like giving up on prayer. We think that it isn’t working or that God does not hear us. Prayer works, God hears, so don’t give up!
2. Keep believing.
When we are waiting for God to respond to our prayers or situation, some people lose hope. They start to think that God isn’t there, that he is not powerful enough to act, or that he doesn’t care. All of those are so wrong.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” –Joshua 1:9
No matter what you are going through, God is right there with you in the difficulties. He knows your pain and is working (even in the silence).
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. —1 Peter 5:7
Not only is God with you in your trial, He cares deeply about you. He doesn’t want you to give up. He wants you to lean into Him. He truly cares for you!
God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? –Numbers 23:19
Finally, God is not impotent. He the all-powerful creator of the universe. God can act and does to fulfill His promise and purpose in our lives. Sometimes it doesn’t look like what we think it would, but it is exactly according to His plan. We have to keep believing that His plan is the best. Which leads us to our next point.
3. Keep trusting.
I mentioned in a previous post that, a brilliant, young seventh-grade guy (who has now graduated high school) said, “If we believe that God is perfect, then His plan for our life perfect.”
There is a temptation for us to begin to think that God’s plan is wrong or maybe even that He isn’t working at all. We must keep trusting. We think our way is the best way, that our timing is the best timing, and that our wants are what is best. God has other thoughts.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. –Isiah 55:8.
God knows more than we know. We make decisions and have thoughts based on what we know. However, our knowledge is limited. God knows everything. This means that His ability to make a decision is not restricted to the information of which we are unaware. Thus, His decision to act, wait, or not act at all has to be what is best. We must continue to trust in that fact.
Our trust is not unfounded, we trust God because of the promises made in His word that have been fulfilled. When we immerse ourselves in God’s word while we wait, it helps us to wait–confident that what God is working in our situation is the best.
4. Keep reading.
One thing that happens when we start to lose hope while waiting is we neglect the Word of God. God will speak to us, guide us, and even (at times) give us the next steps through His Word. His word will speak to us and continue to feed us during our times of waiting.
I wait for the Lord; I wait and put my hope in his word. –Psalm 130:5.
5. Keep serving.
When we feel isolated from God it is easy for us to begin to slack off in our service to Him the writer of Hebrews warns us against this.
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. —Hebrews 10:23–25.
When we keep serving God, and are faithful to Him in times of waiting, it demonstrates our faithfulness to Him. Jesus, in Luke 12:42-48, encourages faithfulness during the time when servants are waiting for their master–describing punishment for the unfaithful.
We need to keep being faithful to the call of God in our lives while we wait for new instruction.
6. Keep waiting.
This is the truly difficult part–we must keep waiting. Often, we are tempted to “take matters into our own hands.” When we do this it destroys the belief and trust in God that we have already built. We are essentially saying to God, “You took to long, I know what is best so I’ll go ahead and start.”
The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the person who seeks him. It is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord. —Lamentations 3:25–26.
It goes against our natural inclinations to keep waiting, but that is exactly what we need to do. We must wait on the Lord.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. –Romans 8:28.
When we wait on the Lord, He gives us what He has called “good.” Don’t you want the good God has for you? It may not look like what you think is good, it may not be the most comfortable or easy thing, but it will be the good thing that you need. And, it will be part of God’s good plan!
Use the time that you are waiting on God to build your relationship with Him, it will be time well spent.