When was the last time you found yourself in a waiting mode? Everyday life presents it’s ever so common challenges of waiting such as the grocery store line or the doctor’s office or rush hour traffic or even trying to get family members out the door. But there are bigger challenges to our patience as well – waiting for a house to sell, or to get pregnant or for a circumstance to change or for a person to get their act together. These can become opportunities for despair if we let them.
Hope is the flip side of despair and fear. When we are in Life’s Waiting Room, it is easy to begin to fear that God doesn’t care, that He isn’t listening, or that He isn’t able to help. Yet the God of the Bible knows the plans He has for us, and sometimes it may mean waiting instead of getting what we want. Why? What possible benefit could there be in waiting? Sometimes God uses waiting periods to strengthen our faith, to help us grow in character or to turn us in a new direction. Our viewpoint in life often changes through waiting. We become more compassionate of others, we lean on God and not our own understanding, and we begin to realize that God knows what is best for us.
So how do we wait graciously? Several practical points come to mind.
1. Pray for God’s strength and help in times of waiting. Give Him your cares and fears. Ask for His direction as to what you are supposed to do.
2. Meditate on the promise found in God’s Word. Read the stories in scripture which remind you of His great faithfulness even in the midst of waiting (Exodus 15-17,I Samuel 1 – 2, Isaiah 40, Jeremiah 29:4 – 14, The book of Habakkuk, John 11).
3. Turn your focus toward what is good and right in your life. Thank the Lord each day for the blessings you enjoy and the provisions He has given you. Choose joy and hope over grumbling and despair.
4. Open your eyes to how you can be a blessing to others in this period of waiting. Live in a continual state of love and forgiveness toward the people around you, especially those who are closest to you. Love never fails.
5. Follow God’s leading. Be open to new possibilities. Be flexible and allow God to change the way you see things. Consider if there is anything you need to do differently.
As we grow stronger through waiting, may we say along with Habakkuk (3:17 – 19):
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.