Much of my adult life I would describe a season of waiting. Not still, but not quite. Really, much of my life has had an element waiting to it. Except for when I was very young, I don’t remember ever not waiting for something.
And I don’t think I know anyone who isn’t waiting for something. Whether it’s an answer to prayer, a dream to be fulfilled, a planned vacation, or the arrival of spring, there is always something to wait for.
So much of life is lived in the wait. An in-between season of not still, but not quite.
Waiting can be hard, especially when the wait is long and our hearts yearn and we hope against all hope. Especially when we see so many others receiving the dream, the marriage, the answer, the child, the breakthrough, the healing, that we’re still waiting for. Especially when purpose blurs and contentment fades and hope dwindles in the in-between.
Yes, waiting can be hard. So when we think of waiting, we tend to think of it in a negative light. We think of inconvenience and delay and missing out.
And yet, throughout Scripture, we are called to wait:
“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:14
“We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield.” Psalm 33:20
“Lord, I wait for You; You will answer, Lord my God.” Psalm 38:15
We are called to wait on the Lord. Waiting on the Lord means trusting God and His timing. It means trusting that God has a good plan for your life; He is working good in your life right now, and has good in store for your future. (Jeremiah 29:11; Romans 8:28)
We usually don’t think of waiting as good. We think that when the waiting is over - when the thing, the day, the person, the dream, that we’ve been waiting for has arrived - then life will be good. But Lamentations 3:26 says, “So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord.”
It is good to wait on the Lord.
In the beginning, when God created life, He wove waiting into the DNA of life. Genesis 1 tells us He took six days to create the universe. He could have created it all in one day, one hour, one second. One word spoken, and it all would have come into existence. But God took His time, and so created time. God wove waiting into the seasons and patterns of creation.
And even before creation was complete, God saw what He had made so far was good. Even in waiting for what was still to come, there was good.
Waiting is a part of life. It’s not a matter of if we will wait; there are going to be seasons of waiting. But we can choose how we will wait. And a big part of waiting well is gaining a new perspective on how we view seasons of waiting.
Because like I said earlier, we tend to think of waiting in a negative light. But waiting is good. Waiting is a gift from God. Yes, it can be hard, and even painful. We live in a fallen world, so in every season, we’re going to experience trouble in this world. (John 16:33)
But we can take heart when we go through hard waiting, because we see in God’s Word that God can use waiting to produce good things in our hearts:
Waiting makes space for renewal and preparation
In a fast-paced world, waiting forces us to slow down. And if we’re willing, seasons of waiting can be times in which God gives us rest, renews our strength, and prepares us for what’s next.
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount on wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31
Waiting awakens hope
Throughout Scriptures, waiting and hope are seen side by side, hand-in-hand. We cannot experience the wonder of hope if we don’t walk through times of waiting.
“For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” Romans 8:24-25
Waiting grows Christ-like character
Waiting grows in us Christ-like characteristics such as patience, perseverance, self-discipline, joy, and faith. While sometimes waiting can cause us to feel stuck, or even like we are going backward, growth can still take place in our hearts.
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.” Romans 5:3-5
Waiting is connected with dwelling and abiding in Jesus
Dwelling in God’s presence, abiding in Jesus, has an element of waiting to it; of being still and being present; of listening and learning; waiting to hear His voice and discern His will rather than rushing to the next thing.
“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him.” Psalm 37:7
Waiting gives eternal perspective
As we wait, trusting God’s timing and plan, we gain an eternal perspective, rather than a temporary one. Because as followers of Jesus, we are all waiting for the day when we will see Him face to face in all His glory. And our purpose on earth now is to reflect His glory. The seasons we are in will pass, but our relationship with Jesus is forever, and that is what we are living for.
“We wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” Titus 2:13
I am in no way perfect when it comes to waiting. I've gone through (am going through) times of waiting that can be discouraging and stir up discontentment. But waiting on God allows God to work in my heart and in my life. It isn't simply waiting for the good, it is dwelling in the goodness of God right here, right now.
I'm sure there's something you're waiting for, and I know that can be hard. So I encourage you to look to Jesus. Allow Him to comfort your waiting heart, and reveal His goodness to you, and the goodness He is working in your heart and life, even in the waiting.
Part 2, God's promises for those who wait, will be posted next week!