3 Secrets to Waiting Well

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Waiting is never our favorite activity. We squirm when God seems to press the pause button on our lives. How can we learn to wait well? We can turn to the examples of women in Scripture.

Sarah is famous for her long wait. She and her husband Abraham waited decades for the child that God had promised.

But Sarah is also infamous for her rash actions when she grew tired of waiting. She abandoned her trust in God and put her confidence in her own ingenuity.

Been there. Done that. I could have a hundred T-shirts commemorating my tendency to step ahead of God and try to fix things on my own. I’ve attempted to repair a relationship with my own comments instead of turning to God for the right words to say. I’ve said yes to a new volunteer opportunity before first asking the Father if those plans fit into His. And regrettably, I often follow my own DIY project until it falls apart in my hands. Usually, I don’t tap into God’s grace until my self-sufficiency has proven useless.

You too? We probably all relate to Sarah. Our long waiting periods often drive us to try something—anything—that will heal our pain or fix our problems. Discouragement multiplies. Frustration escalates. Anger intensifies. We fall into First Commandment sins: doubting our loving God and questioning His timing. Trust runs dry and we think, If God won’t, then I will.

But we can learn from Sarah too. We can learn that nothing is too hard for the Lord. We can realize He specializes in coming through when everything appears hopeless to us.

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When I read Sarah’s story, I wonder if God included it to demonstrate that when life seems to be nothing but a dreadfully long wait, we need to change our perspective. Instead of viewing a pause in our plans as an inconvenience or as a disappointment or as an excuse to step out of God’s will, He wants us to interpret it as an opportunity to grow in trust. A time to relax and watch the Almighty work. A chance to grab on to the Lord’s rhetorical question “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” and respond with a resounding “No!”

Isaiah 26:8 says:
In the path of Your judgments, O Lord, we wait for You; Your name and remembrance are the desire of our soul.

This verse gives us 3 secrets to waiting well–teaching us the what and how and why of waiting.

What are we to do while waiting? We are to follow “the path of [God’s] judgments.” We are to observe God’s laws. Obey His Word. Trust in His provision. Don’t try any DIY projects that are contradictory to Scripture. Do what God has already instructed us to do—and no more.

How do we wait? The New American Standard Bible translates Isaiah 26:8 as “We have waited for You eagerly.” I don’t know about you, but I am not eager to wait. I’m not wild about waiting for a loved one to return to the fellowship of a Christian church. I don’t choose extended periods of uncertainty when I’m searching for purpose. I don’t jump at the chance to languish in pain if my health suffers. But when I looked up the Hebrew for this verse, I was relieved that the word eagerly doesn’t mean to be excited about waiting. Instead it means “to look eagerly for.” We are not to wait with feelings of hopelessness or impatience. We aren’t meant to dwell in a pessimistic attitude, thinking, God will never come through for me. Waiting well means enthusiastically anticipating what God is going to do—even if He chooses a different plan from our own. It means praying, “Thy will be done.”

Why do we wait? We wait because what we want more than anything is for God’s name to be glorified. His “name and remembrance are the desire of our soul” (Isaiah 26:8). When we attempt do-it-yourself projects, we are flaunting what we can do. But when we wait for God to act, we are giving God a chance to show us what He can do. Waiting until the age of ninety to have a child wasn’t easy for Sarah. But certainly God received all the credit. God
allows “in-between times” to give us opportunities to trust. To demonstrate there is nothing too hard for Him. He wants nothing more than for us to let go of our projects, our schemes, and our self-sufficiency and allow Him to
work.

What DIY project have you been attempting in your life? Demanding your way in your marriage? (Ahem. I resemble that remark.) Ignoring God’s leading and insisting on your own life plan? (Yep, I’ve done that too.) Relying on your own energy as you pursue your career? (Sorry, Lord.) God is asking us to let it all go.

Nothing is too hard for the Lord. He longs to demonstrate that in our lives. Click To Tweet

Nothing is too hard for the Lord. He longs to demonstrate that in our lives.

Next step: What DIY project have you been attempting in your life? Remember God’s words to Sarah in Genesis 18:14: “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” Give your desire to the Lord. Trust Him to come through with the best plan for your life.

This post is an excerpt from my new book Waiting: A Bible Study on Patience, Hope, and Trust.

Waiting Cover002 - Copy (2)Check it out! The book studies the lives of:

  • Sarah
  • Hannah
  • The Widow of Zarapheth
  • Esther
  • Anna
  • The Woman with a 12-year Hemorrhage
  • Martha
  • Ten Virgins

Through their examples, we find hope for the delays in our lives. We learn how to wait well.

Find the book on Amazon or CPH.org

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