Several times in the last week I have heard someone — either online friends or pastors — talk about trusting God in the waiting seasons of our lives. Those seasons could either be when we are waiting for God to answer our prayers about an issue or when we are waiting for Him to tell us what step we should take next in our lives.
I have been in those times of waiting and I am there again. This time there are a few issues I am waiting on and my issues are not any more serious than anyone else’s. In fact, they are probably much less serious than some I know right now.
No matter how serious the issue or concerns, though, God is with us in the waiting. There is always a reason we are in a holding pattern in our lives. Maybe God wants to show us something or maybe he simply is asking us to draw closer to him in our time of uncertainty.
Pastor Larry Bray recently said in a sermon at Elevation Church that when there is a period of waiting in our lives, many of us fill that empty space with other things. We fill it with fear, with anger, with bitterness, with hurt toward God and some of us fill it with excuses. We also try to pray the space away instead of asking ourselves what we can learn in the waiting.
I know when I faced an extended time of loneliness, I prayed for God to take it away and “fix it.” I didn’t like the loneliness and quiet and feeling so alone. I still don’t. I’m still somewhat in that place and it’s very uncomfortable. Being alone and feeling like an outcast is in some ways normal to me but it’s also an uncomfortable place to me. (An aside: because I feel like I’m an outcast or alone doesn’t mean I am either of those things. We can feel something but that doesn’t make it a fact. As I’ve heard said before — a feeling is not fact and fact is not a feeling.)
When I was asking God to change my situation, I was rejecting anything he might want to teach me through it. I still don’t really understand this period of isolation I’ve been walking through, but I do see some positives. I have found myself in a time of more simplicity; a time where I can learn more about what God wants for my life. I wish I could say this time has pushed me to read my Bible more, have more quiet times with Christ, but I haven’t always filled my waiting time with what I should be. I’m not saying that I haven’t ever found myself with more time to do a devotional or read the Bible and not taken that opportunity, but I have not taken the opportunities as often as I should have.
Are you in a period of waiting?
Do you find yourself standing in the middle of where you were and where you want to be?
Maybe it is with a health concern or a career choice or even a relationship.
Is there a way you can “hunker down”, so to speak, in this time in your life and practice patience while you wait for God to show you what he wants in your situation?
I’m horrible at practicing patience.
When God handed out patience, he obviously sprinkled a tiny bit in me, hoping it would grow naturally. Sadly, I obviously have the talent of killing what God has placed in me to grow in the same way I have a talent for killing all plants.
But maybe those things I think I’ve killed are really not all the way dead. Maybe they are only, to borrow a term from The Princess Bride, mostly dead. They are still alive enough that with a little bit of watering and feeding from God’s word they can regain their strength and grow the way God intended them to.
I may never have perfect patience, but maybe I can have just enough to stop my striving and instead listen to what God wants me to learn in my waiting.
Once we’ve learned what we need to do during our time of waiting, then we can step forward into the future God has planned for us, leaving doubts and mistrust behind. Our time of waiting may be short, or it may be long, but no matter how long it is, God will be there with us.
The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. Lamentations 3:25