There has not been a single moment in my life where I have liked to hear the word “wait”. Wait for a vacation. Wait for a pay raise. Wait for the news from the doctor. Wait for the taco truck. Wait for the baby that you’ve been praying for these last nine years. Wait for the results. Wait for the pay back. Wait for the praise. What for the….wait…wait…wait….
Waiting instantly makes us more anxious, restless, and sometimes angry. I feel you. I see you.
But what if waiting, instead, had a purpose? What if waiting made us feel peace, rest, excitement, and understanding? The reality is that in the Bible, the word “wait” or “waited” is used over 140 times. Do you feel like people in the Bible did a whole lot of waiting? Hello, Israelites wandering in the desert for forty years ring a bell? Hello, Joseph, who was taken away from his family only because he would have to save them decades later?
In my life I feel like I’ve had to wait, a lot. But the one thing I’ve learned through every “wait” is that, after the wait, I completely understand why I had to wait. And when I understand, I know I’d never change a single thing about it.
I may only have to wait a few minutes, or at times I’ve had to wait years. For some things, I’m still waiting. But let me tell you exactly what I’ve discovered through it all.
Waiting Because of God’s Timing
One of the most obvious things is that, so many times, we have to wait because of God’s timing. God’s timing is perfect. Everything in life has to work intricately, right down to the millisecond, in order for it to work the way that it does.
For example, if I take a wrong step and find myself getting struck by a car in traffic, it all could’ve been prevented if I had just waited a split millisecond longer to think through my next step. Bad analogy (but is it?), though you get the point. I wonder how many times God has kept us safe without us even knowing? Or how often we’ve complained because we had to wait, even if just for a split second.
Sometimes God causes us to wait because it’s simply not in His timing or His plan in that moment in life. Sometimes, God causes us to wait because what might be our heart’s desire in that moment, might not be our hearts desire 10 years from that moment. He knows, but we may not.
I believe this happened with our second child’s birth. I believe God needed him to come at exactly the time and generation that he did for a purpose. A purpose I don’t know right now, but hopefully one day I will. Though I must be willing to understand that the purpose may not always look the way I hope it to.
I had to wait for my second baby to come nine years after my first. It was a long, awful, wait–—but it was worth it. And I believe it was worth it more than the human mind can fathom.
Likewise, sometimes God causes us to wait because the thing we say ten years from now, in the very moment we say it, could be the saving grace of someone else. And if we hadn’t waited, maybe it would’ve never been said in that split moment.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.Ecclesiastes 3:11 NJK
God most certainly knows how His own plan should work. And I think that we must understand that sometimes, His plan looks nothing like our plan. Sometimes our plan has to hurt so that God’s plan can move forward. Sometimes a family may lose a family member so that another person can be saved. Sometimes you go through a hard time because that hard time has to teach you something. And the list goes on and on.
Validation in Waiting
Often times I have found myself in situations of “waiting” because I felt God calling me to be still. And more often than not, it’s because that in the waiting, there is validation. Validation can mean a few different things—validation of concerns, feelings, or even just validation that you’ve been proven right. Validation that you are innocent. Validation that you’re making the right decision, and so on.
In other words, God is fighting for you during the wait. Stop trying to make things happen when what needs to happen is stillness. That will look different every single time, depending on the situation. But wouldn’t you rather wait and let God fight your battle?
People throughout the entire Bible had an issue with waiting. When they knew something should happen (normally because it had already been promised), they tried to make it happen on their own instead of waiting. We didn’t learn anything from the Bible, apparently, because we still do this. Spoiler alert: it never actually happens when people try to make it happen. Because, duh, it can only happen if God makes it happen if He’s the one who promised it. But I digress…
The opposite is true—maybe you’re waiting to make a decision because you’re not sure what the right decision is. I was recently in this situation. It was an awfully hard decision to make because it involved other people. So I waited because I felt God calling me to wait, even though I wanted to make the decision quickly and get it over with.
What I discovered during the wait is that, had I not waited to see how the matter played out, I wouldn’t have been validated in my concerns and truths. I was proven right by waiting, making the decision both easier, and extremely necessary, to make. In the end, with my decision having some solid validation and backup, it allowed my decision and integrity to never be questioned by anyone moving forward. It also gave me peace and comfort knowing that I 100% made the right decision. I no longer had a lingering “uncertain” feeling.
This is one of the main reasons I try to enjoy the “wait”. These situations, especially, cause us to not only grow closer to God as we try to navigate our concerns or feelings. But they also cause us to search God’s heart and commit to trusting His faithfulness through it all.
Validation during the wait is essential. Validation isn’t just for you, the waiter, but also those that are involved in the waiting process without even knowing it. When we look outside of our own bubble and see how many lives our “wait” could potentially touch, we begin to think differently. What milliseconds are you not taking into account as you wait? Maybe you’re waiting because validation is your saving grace.
Waiting for Protection
I cannot tell you how many times I have (or known others who have) been protected by being made to “wait” in life. Protection from decisions, actions on temporary feelings, physical actions, life changes, health issues, financial discussions, and more.
God causes us to wait because He’s protecting us. You see, we have a good good Father who holds the book in His hands. He see’s the thousands of things that will happen in your life tomorrow, a year from now, and twenty years from now. He is the ultimate author. And friend, it’s also not just about you.
Sometimes God causes us to wait for other people’s protection too. I know it’s hard to follow, but think outside of the box with me, if you will.
Let’s say you’re waiting on a phone call that could change your life. What happens after you get that phone call? Will your attitude change and hurt the next person that comes your way? Will your life change so much, in that moment, that you might ignore the people around you because you become greedy or arrogant?
Let’s say you’ve been waiting for a doctor’s appointment but it just keeps getting moved back further and further due to current events. What if you not being there saves the life of someone else?
Or the hardest one of them all is a story I watched unfold not long ago. A mother who, in a very freak incident found her infant boy not breathing. They tried for days to get him back, but it just wasn’t happening. His organs were donated to another child who needed a transplant right then and there in that moment. A child who’s parents were told it probably wouldn’t happen. But it did.
Do we trust the Author of our lives enough that in that moment we can say that maybe that was the plan all along? Could the plan have been that this child who needed a transplant was needed in the course of life that they would take to save thousands of others, whether physically or spiritually? While the other child was necessary for maybe even a greater, more heroic task of being one of the most loved children on earth before he gave life to another child?
We don’t get to pick our truths. Either the Bible is true, or it is fake. Not only half of it is true. Not only part of it is necessary. All of it is true and necessary. So if that be the case—could it be the in the hard moments like these, we can change our mindset to try and understand that maybe this waiting, or this bad thing, happened in order for something good to happen?
We could play out these scenarios over and over again. But until we understand that God knows more than we do, and that every situation in life is linked to thousands of other people…we won’t even being to “get it”.
What if the woman who died, a mom of six children, has one major purpose here on earth—destined while she was in her mother’s womb? What if the only purpose in God’s plan was for her to write that one blog post to change the life of another mom who would go on to preach the gospel to 500,000 other women online? Sure it stings, but what about His kingdom purpose?
What if the bus is late because if it were on time, you’d be in an accident and be taken prematurely in life?
What if the garden didn’t produce what you wanted it to produce because if you’d been out there watering it like you should that year, you’d get hurt in a freak incident?
What if that business deal didn’t go through because God had a better plan for your business than you could imagine?
Waiting Because of Consequence
Let’s not leave out one of the greatest parts of the “wait” in life. Consequences. You see, life isn’t just about this Almighty God who uses us like puppets (He doesn’t, by the way), however much you may think that to be true. Our beautiful Lord created us to have freedom and a free will. That means we get to make our own decisions, and many times those decisions have consequences.
This is one of the reasons the Bible talks about gaining wisdom and seeking the Holy Spirit. Doing these two things helps keep us from suffering from life’s consequences of our own decisions.
Sure, He knows what our decisions will be, which is why He knows how everything has to play out. God knows how the human heart and mind work. But we still suffer the consequences of our own decisions. And sometimes that consequence is to wait.
That might not seem beautiful, but I assure, it can be one of the most beautiful things you’ll ever experience.
If there is one thing that I have learned in life, it’s the beauty of owning up to your issues. Your bad character traits that could use some refining. Your bad habits (especially health habits) that need to change. Things that you do or say or feel that need to be covered in the blood of Jesus.
I’ve had to learn this hard over my lifetime. I used to be the person that never owned up to anything. Friend, that is not a good place to be in life. It causes people to find you untrustworthy, arrogant, and dishonest.
If you told me I was wrong, then I wasn’t wrong. I would argue with you even if I knew I was wrong. But with age comes wisdom. And as you strive to gain wisdom, you become closer to God. And as you become closer to God, the refining happens. You find out you need Jesus.
If you’re “waiting” due to a consequence of your own, it’s a great time and place to get to know Jesus more. I mean, what else are you going to do while you’re waiting? Or, maybe that’s the reason for the wait all along?
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.Romans 5:3-5 NKJV
There is nothing wrong in admitting that you’re wrong. This is a lesson we try to teach our children every single week. If you forgot to do something, admit it. If you don’t know how to do something, say it. If you made a mistake, own up to it. If you made an unwise decision, ask for forgiveness. If you’re doing bad things, stop doing bad things.
If you need help…ask for it.
If we are not growing, we are dying. If we are not constantly growing in Christ, then we are not in Christ. If we cannot take constructive criticism and growth from the God who created the heavens and the earth, then are we really serving the God who created the heavens and the earth?
I don’t know where you are in life right now while reading this blog post, but if I had to guess, you’re probably waiting on something. Maybe that something has already happened and now you’re waiting to figure it out. Maybe you’ve been waiting for something for over 20 years, and you think it’ll never happen (and maybe it won’t, see the protection section above?)
But I’ll leave you with this scripture passage…
22 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
23 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”
25 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him.
26 It is good that one should hope and wait quietly
For the salvation of the Lord.
[Lamentations 3:22-26 NKJV – bold emphasis added]
And if there is once piece of encouragement I can give you while you wait, it is this . . .
I have never gone through a testing or waiting period without having an ending where I glorify God.
If the wait has changed you into His image…
If the wait has validated you or Him…
If the wait has shown you that He had something better planned for you all along…
If the wait has given life to someone else that wouldn’t have received it otherwise…
If the wait has caused you to understand His guiding hand upon you each and every step of the way…
If the wait has pushed you to the dirt where you meet the feet of Jesus…
If the wait has made you into a person of prayer or gratitude…
If the wait has proven His goodness and mercy…
If the wait has led someone else to Jesus…
…then the wait did exactly what it was meant to do—kingdom work. And that wait is priceless.