When God Says “Wait,” Hear “Expect”

Don't imaginefor evenone minutethat God hasforgottenyou.

This post is an excerpt from my eBook: 7 Words Your Soul Needs In a Waiting Season. The end of the post tells how you can get your FREE copy.

We hate to wait. We squirm when God answers our prayers with that dreaded word. But what if when God says, “Wait,” we hear one of its synonyms? What if wait were pronounced expect?

expect [ik-spekt: to look forward to; regard as likely to happen; anticipate the occurrence or the coming of

When I was a kid, our family had only one car because my mother didn’t drive. If I had to stay after school for extra-curricular activities, I often had to wait for my father to pick me up on his way home from work. Sometimes the wait seemed very long, but I always knew that he would come. I never doubted that Dad’s car would pull into the school parking lot. I waited with expectation.

When God Says,-Wait,-Hear,-Expect-

King David also waited with expectation. He wrote:

Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly. (Psalm 5:3).

The Hebrew word for wait in David’s psalm—qavah—can mean “to wait or look eagerly for.” I am certainly not eager to wait. But I can look eagerly for God’s answer to my problems. Just like I was always sure my dad’s blue sedan would eventually stop in front of the school door, I can be positive that my heavenly Father has a solution to my waiting dilemma.

At times, it may feel like that answer will never appear. We wait on and on. Hours, days, months, years pass by.

And it’s true, God’s solution may not look exactly like we envisioned. But we can still bring our requests to Him, place them in His hands, and then sit back and watch what He will do. We can wait with the sure hope that the Father has our best interests at heart. We can expect His love and peace in the middle of the delay. We can count on His presence to guide us. We can anticipate blessings that we can’t even imagine yet.

When God says, “Wait,” hear:

Expect

Don’t imagine for even one minute that God has forgotten you.

Don’t doubt that He is working out the best plan for your life.

Don’t fear that He has abandoned you.

 

Expect

Lay your requests in God’s hands and watch what He will do.

Anticipate a better outcome than you can imagine right now.

Rely on the Father’s immeasurable love for you.

Next step: Pray: 

Father, sometimes when I’m waiting, it seems like You will never show up. I keep watching. I keep looking for a sign that You have heard my prayer. But through the promises in Your Word, I know that You always listen for my voice. You always have a wonderful plan for my life. So I bring you this yearning in my heart. I place it in Your hands. I am waiting expectantly. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Cover of 7 WordsThis post was an excerpt from my new eBook: 7 Words Your Soul Needs in a Waiting Season. 

In it, you will discover seven words that can mean wait. Seven words that can give hope and purpose in the middle of delay. Seven words your soul needs in a waiting season.

It’s FREE! Just sign up for my encouraging monthly newsletter and you will receive this devotional eBook with seven lessons on waiting, plus beautiful graphics of my favorite waiting Scriptures that you can print and frame.

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Free eBook: 7 Words Your Soul Needs In A Waiting Season

 

7WordsWaiting

That word is not one I want to hear.

The barista says, “Wait at that counter.” But I want my latte now.

The customer service person says, “Wait right here.” But I want my problem solved now.

God says, “Wait a while.” But I want my prayer answered now.

You too?

Even though wait is a word we usually detest, it seems it is one God often uses.

Think about it. How many times did God ask His people to wait in Scripture? Jonah waited three days in the belly of a fish. Esther waited a year to meet the king. The Israelites waited four decades to enter the Promised Land.

Maybe wait is an important word.

 

Free eBook!

Although our hearts squirm at the sound of it and our souls try to wriggle away from its grasp, maybe it’s a word we need.

But, perhaps we need to reframe it. Look at it from a different angle. Hear it in a different context.

What if when God said, “Wait,” we heard one if its synonyms? What if it were pronounced “pause”?

Or “Expect“?

Or “Abide”?

Would it make a difference?

I think it does. Although the word wait almost always has negative connotations in our culture, I don’t think God necessarily intends waiting to be gloomy and punitive. Sometimes waiting is meant to be restorative. To give us a season of rest. To draw us closer to the Father. To help us abandon our own puny efforts and rely on the almighty power of God.

Isaiah 64:4 says:

Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.

This is so reassuring! As we wait, God acts!

Cover of 7 WordsIf you want to learn more about this concept, check out my new eBook. 

In it, you will discover seven words that can mean wait. Seven words that can give hope and purpose in the middle of delay. Seven words your soul needs in a waiting season.

It’s FREE! Just sign up for my encouraging monthly newsletter and you will receive this devotional eBook with seven lessons on waiting, plus beautiful graphics of my favorite waiting Scriptures that you can print and frame.

Sign up below!

Subscribe to My Newsletter!

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Why Suspense is a Necessary Element in Our Waiting Stories

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Have you noticed that your favorite novels have the necessary element of suspense? that you like the book a little less when you can guess how the story ends from the very first chapter?

God is writing an excellent story for your life, and suspense is a necessary element. Because it’s during our waiting periods that God develops our patience, molds our character, and teaches us our most crucial life lessons.

I love to read. And in my favorite stories, the hardships the heroine experiences make her stronger or smarter. The obstacles in her way guide her to deeper relationships. Overcoming problems leads to unexpected rewards.

At the end of the book, you discover each plot twist had a purpose. Every ordeal finally makes sense.

The novels I like the least are the ones where the ending feels . . .unfinished. The protagonist strives to rise above her problems. She works to surmount the barriers in her way. And she almost succeeds. But in the end, nothing is resolved. After chapters and chapters of searching for the love of her life, the heroine of the story never finds him. Or the lawyer works to overcome big bad corporations but loses his law practice, and the battle must continue without him. Nothing makes sense.

While some literature may favor the more “realistic” ending, those plot conclusions make me want to throw the book at the wall. Reading a dissatisfying story seems like one big waste of time.

And maybe that is one reason we hate it when God asks to wait for an answer to prayer. We’re afraid the prolonged time spent in a suspenseful chapter of our lives will culminate in one big disappointment.

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That’s when we need to remember that God is the author of our stories. Even though we can’t see how all the twists and turns in our plotline are going to work out, He can. Because God is at work in our lives, all of our hardships can strengthen our faith in Him. The obstacles in our lives can drive us to a deeper relationship with our loving Father. As the Spirit helps us overcome problems, we see the rewards of peace and contentment.

Waiting well means trusting that God is at work even in long chapters of uncertainty or heartache. The Lord can give purpose to our lives even in the middle of delay. God-given purpose comes in all shapes and sizes, and it is not granted solely to those with prominent positions or hefty bank accounts. We wait well when we are waiting for Christ, because it is only through the Messiah that any of us can have a happy ending to our story.

You might wish to write a predictable story for your life, but be confident that in every plot twist, God has a purpose. Every agonizing difficulty can be transformed in God’s hand. And while you’re still in this confusing middle-of-the-story time, remember: God is leaning in. He sees you as you wait. He hears your cries. He reassures you that He has the ending of your tale all worked out.

Every suspenseful plot element has purpose in your magnificent story.

Next step: Write a prayer thanking your Heavenly Father that He has a purpose for every plot twist in your life story. Ask Him for strength and peace as you wait.

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

What Are You Waiting For?

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Visiting our daughter in China involves waiting in a lot of lines. First, my husband and I queue up at the Chinese consulate in Chicago to obtain our visas. In fact, we usually do this several times for just one visa, because
inevitably the rules will have changed and we will be missing an important document.

Then, on the day of our flight, we stand in security lines at O’Hare airport. We wait to get on the plane. We endure a fifteen-hour flight to Beijing, get off, retrieve our luggage, and stand in more lines for Chinese customs and security. We wait at the gate for the flight to the city where our daughter’s family lives, and when we arrive, we wait one more time for our bags. Finally, after twenty or more hours of travel, we are able to wrap our arms around our loved ones.

During these journeys, standing in a line is a given. But I have learned through these adventures in waiting that I do have a choice. I can choose to wait in patience or agitation, stillness or anxiety.

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We have the same choice in life. Although life without delay is not an option, we can decide how we will wait.

Psalm 37:7 reminds us:

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!

We wait well when we follow the psalmist’s instructions to “Be still.” But how is this quiet possible? This stillness of spirit comes when we have poured out our souls and surrendered all our hopes and dreams to Him. Until then, we will keep striving and conniving and working on our projects. When we are finally still, God can work in our hearts.

What are you waiting for? What deep desire of your heart remains unmet? Perhaps you’ve been desperately praying for someone to share your life with. Maybe you are waiting for a child to hold. Or it could be you long to make a difference in the world but have no idea how. You pour out your heart day by day. But what you hear from heaven is deafening silence. All you can do is wait. The line for what you want seems to have no end. Frustration grows. Impatience joins you in the line.

My usual response is to stubbornly hold on to my desire. You could follow my example and refuse to be happy until you get your way.

Or you could relinquish your desire into the loving hands of God. The Father is there, waiting to listen to your heart’s cries. He knows what is best. He may satisfy your profound longings at the right time.

Or He may give you peace and joy in a new and better plan.

What if, in the waiting, we let go and allowed God to hold our dreams?

Next step: What are you waiting for? Grab a sheet of paper and write down your dream. Then offer it up to God with open hands. Let Him hold the dream and ask Him to give you peace while you wait.

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

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

Why God Loves the Word Wait

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We’ve all experienced the frustration of waiting. Waiting in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Waiting through airport security. Waiting for service in a restaurant.

Waiting to hear, “You’ve got the job!” Waiting for wedding bells. Waiting for test results. Waiting to be reconciled with a loved one.

And we despise it. In our modern culture of instant everything—same day shipping, streaming movies, online banking, microwaveable meals—we are accustomed to getting everything we want now. So when our lives are put
in a holding pattern, we complain and grumble and do anything we can to get things moving again.

But what if the waiting rooms of life are actually God’s best classrooms? What if the Holy Spirit changes us through the uncomfortable delays of life? What if, in the waiting, the Lord draws us near and imparts lessons we could miss when our lives are flying at the speed of a Boeing 777?

That’s the question I asked myself. Even though I think wait is a four-letter word that should never be used, God seems to love it. Throughout history, God has asked His people to wait. Sarah waited ninety years to become a mother. Joseph waited years in an Egyptian prison. The nation of Israel waited for centuries to freed from slavery.

To make sense of all this waiting, I decided to study the lives of a few of these God followers who waited. I chose eight biblical ladies-in-waiting, if you will. These were women who yearned for babies. Women who ached for healing. Women who waited for guidance. Women like you and me.

I wanted to find out how God wants us to handle seasons of delay. If we can’t have what we want when we want it, what are we to do while we’re waiting? As Christians, we know God’s promise of a happy ending through Christ. But what are we supposed to do in between heartache and heaven? Tap our toes? Watch the clock? Pace the carpet of hope until it’s worn thin?

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The stories of these ladies-in-waiting showed me that there is a better way to wait. A way to wait well.

Their lives taught me about trust and surrender when life feels suspended. They demonstrated how to handle the daily-ness of waiting and showed me actions I can take even when it seems there is nothing I can do. I found that a pause in our plotline doesn’t mean the end of my story and that all waiting has a purpose.

After I discovered these hopeful truths about waiting, I wanted to share them with you. So I wrote a book called Waiting: A Bible Study on Patience, Hope, and Trust. Throughout the book, I share some of my own waiting stories. I’m sure you have your own accounts of delay and disappointment too. Although our stories may differ, we will see that God is present in every tale. He gives us His Word to encourage us when it feels like He’s nowhere to be found. He promises His nearness when it seems our prayers are not heard. And by the power of God the Holy Spirit through our Baptism, we have faith to trust in His timing and provision.

Although we may detest waiting and struggle greatly with it, ultimately we find that it has the power to draw us to Jesus. One of the best places to meet God is in the in-between.

Next step: Are you waiting? Thank God that He is present with you as you wait. Ask Him to give you hope in the truth that the waiting rooms of life are often God’s best classrooms.

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

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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.

 

Pre-order the book today here and you will receive some awesome freebies from the publisher.

OR

Order the book tomorrow, June 21, on Amazon or CPH.org and receive my 12-week Easy Joy eCourse for free! After you order the book, click here to find a form where you will enter the order number (along with your name and email address) and you will receive the Easy Joy eCourse.

Why You Should Love to Wait

must be “as continuous and unbroken as the breathing that maintains natural life.”

I hate to wait. I complain when I have to stand in a long line. I gripe when the service at a restaurant is slow. I grumble the answer to my prayer is delayed.

I want life to move along at my pace.

But recently, I was reading a book titled Waiting on God by Andrew Murray that changed my perspective on waiting. Murray, a South African pastor at the turn of the twentieth century, wrote:

If salvation indeed comes from God, and is entirely His work, just as creation was, it follows, as a matter of course, that our first and highest duty is to wait on Him to do the work that pleases Him.

When I first read that statement, I had to read it twice to totally take it in.

Waiting is our first and highest duty?

Ah, Lord. Just a minute here. I don’t like waiting.

But after I thought about it, I realized Murray was right. We can’t come to Christ on our own. Psalm 62:1 says:

For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.

God gives salvation. We receive. God acts. We wait.

And thankfully, God does not make us wait long for His saving grace. We repent and admit our need for a Savior. Christ responds immediately.

Okay. We wait on God for salvation. However, my issue is with daily life. I balk at daily waiting. I often rush ahead, trying to accomplish tasks and solve problems on my own. How can I learn to love to wait?

why you should love to

Andrew Murray writes that daily waiting on God is indispensable. He insists that it must be “as continuous and unbroken as the breathing that maintains natural life.” Maybe if I realize this kind of waiting is an essential part of trust in a loving God, I can embrace it. Maybe if I remember continuous waiting is the key to a deep, perpetual fellowship with the Father, I can learn to love it.

Unbroken waiting. That’s the waiting I want to learn. Waiting day to day for joy in God’s presence. Waiting moment by moment for His guidance. Waiting second by second for reassurance of His love.

I know these are available because God promises these in His Word.

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16:11)

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. (James 1:5)

Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. (Psalm 90:14).

I only need to go to Jesus to receive them. I only have to stop long enough in my busy life to connect with the Savior. I only need to wait in expectation of His grace.

Next step: Take a moment to ask God for the ability to love to wait. Pray something like, “Lord, you know I balk at waiting. I want the answers to my prayers now. But I want to grow in trust and faith of Your goodness and wisdom. Help me to learn to love to wait on You.

My new book Waiting: A Bible Study on Patience, Hope, and Trust will be released on June 21! In this book you will find:

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  • Eight chapters of readings that can be read straight through without doing the study guide
  • Study guide that takes you deeper into the topic
  • Ability to choose the amount of time you invest in the study.
  • Questions that take you into Scripture
  • Guidelines to help you apply the content to your life
  • Hands-on projects to help you internalize the lessons
  • Maps, timelines, and historical backgrounds to help you visualize the time period of each woman

This book will be available on June 21! Right now you can preorder here and receive some awesome freebies!

OR

You can buy the book on launch day, June 21, and receive my brand-new eCourse, Easy Joy, for free! (Find out more about the eCourse here.) If you buy the book on launch day between 8 am and 8 pm CDT, click here and enter your order number from CPH or Amazon and then receive the 12-week eCourse (a $15 value).

Revealing the Cover of My New Book

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Face it. Waiting is hard.

Waiting is hard when we have to stand in line to get our favorite ice cream flavor. Waiting is harder when we have to wait for answers to prayer.

Waiting is excruciating when we’ve been praying for a heartfelt desire and all we hear from heaven is “Wait.”

I’ve struggled with my own waiting seasons. Believe me when I say that struggled is the operative word. I’d like to say that I have always accepted God’s timeline for my life with patience and trust, but that is not the case.

That’s why I wanted to dig deep into the subject of waiting. I wanted to find out answers to questions like: What does God say about it in His Word? What Scriptures can guide my waiting times? Are these examples in the Bible of people who waited well? What lessons can I learn from their lives?

What I discovered was: God often made His people wait. Some of them did not leave us good examples to follow. But some waited well.

I concentrated my study on the lives of eight women in the Bible who had a waiting period. Women like Sarah, Hannah, Esther, and Martha. These women taught me so much about waiting that I wanted to share it with all of you!

The result is my new book–Waiting: A Bible Study on Patience, Hope, and Trust. In these pages, you will discover encouragement for your waiting heart. Hope for your soul when God seems to have put your life on hold.

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The Waiting study will be released on June 21. But check out these awesome opportunities to save and receive fantastic free offers!

  • Right now you can click here to preorder and receive some awesome freebies.
  • Or you can wait to buy it on June 21 and receive my new Easy Joy course for free! (This is a $15 value! Find out more about this 12-week course here.) If you are looking for a new study for your small group, tell everyone about this offer and you can all receive the eCourse when you buy the book. (There will be a page on my website where you will enter your order number from Concordia Publishing House or Amazon and your email and then you will receive the course in your inbox!)

May God bless you as you wait on Him!

 

 

 

When You Are Waiting

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This December we are going to examine the characters of Christmas. We’ll look into the lives of the people who were part of the Christmas story.

Let’s start with Elizabeth and her tale of waiting. Elizabeth begins the story of Christmas with a miraculous birth of her own.

Luke describes Elizabeth and her husband Zechariah as “righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord” (Luke 1:6).  Both of them carefully obeyed God’s laws for worship and daily life. But they had a great sadness—Elizabeth was barren. Plus, Luke tells us that she and Zechariah were both advanced in years. Years ago when I was struggling to get pregnant, people tried to comfort me by saying, “Don’t worry. You’re young. You’ll get pregnant soon.” No one was saying those words to Elizabeth any more. Elizabeth waited and waited and waited and still was not blessed with a child. All hope of ever having a child had long faded. It had now become, humanly speaking, an impossibility.

Then one day, Zechariah is surprised by the visit of the angel Gabriel who tells him that God has heard his prayers and that they will soon have a son!

Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great before the Lord. (Luke 1:13-15)

And if that isn’t enough to knock over Zechariah with a feather, Gabriel goes on to tell the old priest that his son will be the one to prepare the people for the Savior!

This story is so encouraging to me! Elizabeth waited and waited for a baby.

We all wait. Wait for news about the new job. Wait for healing. Wait for the restoration of a relationship. And we hate it. Wait is a four-letter-word that we want to avoid.

But when I look at the stories in the Bible I see that God often made His people wait. It seems to me that often He didn’t work out the answer to the problem right away because the delay made the answer that much more miraculous. The birth of Isaac was that much more remarkable because he was born to ninety-year-old Sarah. Joseph’s rise to power in Egypt was even more amazing after spending years in prison. The Israelites possession of the Promised Land was more astounding after being enslaved in Egypt for 400 years, than if Jacob’s descendants had slowly taken over the region.

And now God drew attention to Zechariah and Elizabeth’s baby through a long delay.Because Elizabeth gave birth when she was “well advanced in years,” it seemed obvious that this child was going to be special.

Not only would the baby John be a significant addition to Zechariah and Elizabeth’s family, he would be important to the whole nation of Israel—because He would prepare the people for the coming of the Savior.

God was doing something bigger than answering a prayer for a baby. He was answering the prayer for a Savior. If John was going to prepare hearts for the arrival of the Savior it meant Messiah was coming soon!

So whatever you are waiting for look for God’s hand in it. He may be working out something even bigger than you can imagine!

Next step: What are you waiting for? Write it down on a piece of paper and then write out a prayer asking God to help you be patient as He works out His will. Ask Him to help you see the bigger thing He is working on through the delay.

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Three Things I Wish I’d Known When I Was Waiting

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Are you sitting in one of life’s waiting rooms?

Waiting for Mr. Right? For a child? For a new job?

I’ve been there too. And I have to admit, I didn’t wait well.

I complained. I griped. I made sure God knew that I didn’t like the way things were going.

But I’ve been learning a bit about waiting lately. And what I’ve discovered is that although we may hate waiting–God can use the pause in our plans for our good.

This past week I read Psalm 130. I love these verses:

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
    and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
    more than watchmen for the morning,
    more than watchmen for the morning. (verses 5-6)

To dig into this passage a little deeper, I looked up the word wait in the Hebrew dictionary. The word translated “wait” in the ESV is from the Hebrew word qavah. This Hebrew word has several meanings–and teaches three things about waiting that I wish I had known when I was in experiencing a serious delay in my plans.

Three Lessons About Waiting from the Hebrew Word Qavah

3ThingsWaitingTo wait is to look eagerly for. The first meaning for qavah emphasizes how we are to wait–with eagerness and certainty. In verse 6 of Psalm 130 the psalmist compares the waiting of his soul to the waiting of the night watchman. The gloom of the night may seem long to the watchman, but he is sure of one thing–morning will come. While he is watching, he is certain there is an end to the wait.

Though our lives may seem terribly black at times, we can also be sure that God is always there for us. He is always working things out for our good. We can eagerly look for His solution to our problems.

To wait is to linger. The second meaning stresses a positive side of waiting. Usually waiting has a negative connotation. We hate waiting at the checkout line. Or for our food at Olive Garden. Or for someone to answer the phone after we’ve been on hold for 20 minutes!

But to linger is a contented way to wait. We linger over the last few drops of coffee with a friend–waiting just a few more minutes before we have to part. We linger in the sunshine at the beach–waiting a moment longer before going back to the noise of the world.

God invites us to view a season of waiting as a time to linger in His presence. Time to hang out with Him a few more hours. Time to linger in His love and peace.

God invites us to view a season of waiting as a time to linger in His presence. Click To Tweet

To wait is to collect or bind together. The third definition of the Hebrew word is a meaning we don’t have for our English word wait. Qavah can mean “to bind together.”  Waiting is hard. But it can be a time to grow closer to God–a time to connect with Him like never before. Think about it. When do you feel closest to God? When all your plans are moving along smoothly? Or when you are desperately wanting God to answer your prayers?

I have to admit–I spend a lot more time on my knees when life throws me a crisis and God isn’t fixing it as quickly as I would like. As I wait, God often reveals Himself to me in a way I haven’t experienced before. He shows me deep truths in His Word. He demonstrates His unfailing love in unexpected ways.

Are you experiencing a serious pause in your plans? Grab onto these three lessons while you’re waiting.

Look eagerly for God in your situation–expect Him to come through.

Linger in His presence.

Use the time of delay to grow closer to God.

Next step: Write out Psalm 130:5-6 on a note card or sticky note. Add the definition of qavah that speaks to you today. Post the note where you will see it often this week.