We humans are impatient creatures.
A brief look at the world around us will show a variety of ways in which having to wait can just plain annoy and frustrate us. From the honking of traffic to the person in the middle on the street craning to see the next city bus coming — we like to have things our way, WHEN we want them.
Modern culture is one of immediate gratification, and that often spills over into our relationship with God. If God has spoken to me, then why am I not seeing anything happen yet? If He has stirred my heart with a way to use my passions and gifts, then why do I still seem to be waiting… or better yet, having to wait?
Waiting is refining.
A time of waiting, after hearing God speak, will bring clarity and definition to what He has said. This could be as simple as a few minutes of pausing to respond to God’s prompting — “Who is he wanting me to minister to right now? What is He wanting to say through me?” It could also be a lengthy season of meditating on God’s promise to you — “I know that You have called me to plant a church, and I stand on that word and say ‘Yes’ to it!”. In either or any case, the waiting brings focus and refines our heart as we agree with what God has said.
I remember the season right after I graduated from Bible college, when I worked in valet-parking for two years and waited on God for what the next season would be. It was a time of God speaking to me, “Nate, will you serve me with your life and be the man I want you to be, no matter what your vocation is?”. Waiting shaped me and shifted my perspective in many ways.
Waiting is exercising our trust.
As a parent, I want my kids to take me at my word. Many times my son has quickly forgotten (or not heard) my promise that I will do “X” so he asks again or whines or gets frustrated — and I am soon reminded that I do likewise with God. When God speaks, we have a great opportunity to trust Him. It will not always make sense, and it will not always be easy, but nonetheless, He wants us to trust Him and hope solely in Him. Our trust is an expression of “God I need You and Your Spirit and Your power to do this thing!”, and it allows us to be an empty vessel, ready for His filling and empowering.
Waiting is longing for God’s heart for a person or situation.
God wants to give us HIS heart for people and situations. We do not and will not bring transformative change to this world without HIS power, HIS ways, HIS heart. There are many times that we find ourselves frustrated with people and unable to love them in the natural (in our own strength or desires), so we need to wait on God for HIS heart for people. Allowing God’s love for a person to download into our hearts will give us a love that is strong, unfading, and unending.
I have literally forced myself on many occasions to stop and think this way — “God, I need Your love for this person! Please help me to love them how YOU would”. How relieving to know that God will fill us when we need His love for someone! How empowering to know that God will give us His ways to deal with a situation!
May our character develop and our trust increase as we desire God to move in power!
And finally, a beautiful psalm about waiting & trusting in God:
1 Fret not yourself because of evildoers;
be not envious of wrongdoers!
2 For they will soon fade like the grass
and wither like the green herb.
3 Trust in the Lord, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.[b]
4 Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act.
6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday.
7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
over the man who carries out evil devices!
8 Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath!
Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
9 For the evildoers shall be cut off,
but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.
10 In just a little while, the wicked will be no more;
though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there.
11 But the meek shall inherit the land
and delight themselves in abundant peace.
12 The wicked plots against the righteous
and gnashes his teeth at him,
13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked,
for he sees that his day is coming.
14 The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows
to bring down the poor and needy,
to slay those whose way is upright;
15 their sword shall enter their own heart,
and their bows shall be broken.
16 Better is the little that the righteous has
than the abundance of many wicked.
17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken,
but the Lord upholds the righteous.
18 The Lord knows the days of the blameless,
and their heritage will remain forever;
19 they are not put to shame in evil times;
in the days of famine they have abundance.
20 But the wicked will perish;
the enemies of the Lord are like the glory of the pastures;
they vanish—like smoke they vanish away.
21 The wicked borrows but does not pay back,
but the righteous is generous and gives;
22 for those blessed by the Lord[c] shall inherit the land,
but those cursed by him shall be cut off.
23 The steps of a man are established by the Lord,
when he delights in his way;
24 though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong,
for the Lord upholds his hand.
25 I have been young, and now am old,
yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken
or his children begging for bread.
26 He is ever lending generously,
and his children become a blessing.
27 Turn away from evil and do good;
so shall you dwell forever.
28 For the Lord loves justice;
he will not forsake his saints.
They are preserved forever,
but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.
29 The righteous shall inherit the land
and dwell upon it forever.
30 The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom,
and his tongue speaks justice.
31 The law of his God is in his heart;
his steps do not slip.
32 The wicked watches for the righteous
and seeks to put him to death.
33 The Lord will not abandon him to his power
or let him be condemned when he is brought to trial.
34 Wait for the Lord and keep his way,
and he will exalt you to inherit the land;
you will look on when the wicked are cut off.
35 I have seen a wicked, ruthless man,
spreading himself like a green laurel tree.[d]
36 But he passed away,[e] and behold, he was no more;
though I sought him, he could not be found.
37 Mark the blameless and behold the upright,
for there is a future for the man of peace.
38 But transgressors shall be altogether destroyed;
the future of the wicked shall be cut off.
39 The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord;
he is their stronghold in the time of trouble.
40 The Lord helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
because they take refuge in him.