God has been teaching me much about waiting, giving me encouragement as I go through my own time of waiting, helping me to trust Him while I wait, and changing how I view waiting.
In part 1, we were reminded that God is good, and His plans are for good, and He is working good right now, so times of waiting can actually be good when we wait on God. (Romans 8:28; Jeremiah 29:11, Lamentations 3:26)
In part 2, we looked at some lies the enemy tells us about waiting. Lies like the the time of waiting is wasted, and your life will only begin when the wait is over. The enemy wants us to live discouraged, discontent, and defeated.
But God wants us to live with hope and joy and victory. God desires for us to wait with patience and trust in Him, but He also wants us to wait with purpose and serve Him.
So how can we do that? How can we wait well, using this time for God’s glory? How can we wait with hope and joy, rather than giving in to the discouragement, discontent, and defeat?
Surrender to God’s timing and plan
As humans, surrendering is hard, because we like to be in control. We like to control how and when things will happen, because not being in control makes us feel uncomfortable and unsafe.
But really the safest, most secure place we can be is in God’s will. His timing and plan are perfect. His will is good and pleasing. He loves us and promises to do what is best for us, so we can surrender to Him.
Surrendering to Him is a daily choice; a choice to trust God rather than worry; a choice to seek His will rather than my own; a choice to obey Him rather than holding onto my control.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.” Proverbs 3:5-6
“The Lord is good to those who depend on Him, to those who search for Him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord.” Lamentations 3:25-26
Continue to pray for your desires and pursue your dreams
When our times of waiting become long, it can be easy to lose hope and want to give up. But waiting on God means holding onto hope and not giving up.
We can do this by continuing to pray for our desires and pursue our dreams. Prayer is a way of surrendering our desires to God, for it allows God to shape our desires. Prayer is also a declaration that we desire God’s will for us above all else.
As we seek God’s will, we can pursue the dreams He’s given us, stepping out in faith and obedience where He leads, while also trusting His timing.
“Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and He will help you. Be still in the Presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for Him to act.” Psalm 37:4-5, 7
“Then Jesus told His disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” Luke 18:1
“Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.” Romans 12:12
Get after grateful
While you wait for something you don’t have, choose to be grateful for all you do have. Offering up thanks gives us a humble and surrendered (rather than controlling) heart, and focuses our thoughts on the goodness of God. This makes room for God to bring joy, hope, and peace to our hearts and minds.
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Don’t wait alone
Times of waiting can feel lonely, especially as it seems everyone else but us has gotten the thing we’re waiting for. It can seem like all social media is conspiring against as we see photo after photo, status after status, announcing everyone’s dreams coming true and prayers being answered but our own.
And when we’re feeling discouraged or discontent, we often want to withdraw and isolate ourselves, falsely believing that someone else’s good news means our own lives are less-than.
But we weren’t made to be alone. We weren’t made to wait alone. Everyone is waiting for something, and we need to be there for each other.
Surround yourself with those who will pray with you, who will encourage you, who will comfort you, who will give godly wisdom, who will spur you on to live for Jesus, who will speak truth to refute those lies the enemy whispers, and who you can do the same for.
“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 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 10:24-25
“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Don’t wait to live
We may be living in the wait, but we don’t have to wait to live. Even if you’re waiting for direction, even if you’re waiting for some things to fall into place so you can move forward, God has purpose and life for you right now.
Try new things, do the things you enjoy doing, learn something you’ve always wanted to learn, use and develop your gifts and talents, all to glorify God, serving Him and sharing His love with others.
“And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” Colossians 3:17