Life seems to involve a lot of waiting.
Maybe you’re waiting for the phone to ring—with good news about a job offer or for that guy you’ve had your eye on to finally ask you out.
Or, you’re waiting to save up for that dream vacation…or for cookies to bake…or for springtime to come after a long winter.
My married friends have shared their heartaches about wanting to have kids or to adopt—and the waiting process—or to welcome the day when the kids are finally out of the house.
What are you waiting for?
If waiting is a given, then you must decide if you will learn to wait well, or force things to happen on your own. Either way, you will deal with the results.
Indeed, there are consequences of not waiting on God.
Centuries ago a woman named Sarah took matters into her own hands and the world is still living with the consequences of her decision. Most likely you know the familiar story.
Abraham (formerly known as Abram), Sarah’s husband, was told by God that his offspring would be like the stars in the heavens—uncountable. Yet the couple was childless well into their old age. Nevertheless, Abraham believed God.
Sarah had a much harder time with it.
She wanted things to happen faster and in her own way, so she told her husband to sleep with her maidservant, Hagar and build a family through her. Abram agreed, and months later Ishmael was born.
By now Abram is 99-years-old. Finally, the child of the promise was born. In Genesis 21, we learn that the LORD did as he had said. “Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him.
God has good reasons for delays. We may not always understand what He is doing or like it, but the One who loves us most asks us to obey his commands—not to withhold from us, but to protect us and guide us.
In learning obedience, we also learn wisdom.
Like the wisdom of keeping your hands off the cocoon of an emerging butterfly. While you may want to help the little creature, don’t pry open the cocoon for him. The emerging butterfly needs to build strength as he exits his temporary shelter or he will die.
Know when to keep your hands off and trust God’s timing for things to unfold in your life.
During seasons of waiting, here are five things to remember:
1. Waiting is active. Waiting is more than just passing time. It is not doing nothing. The work of waiting is believing God. It’s trusting and having faith that the One who delights us in giving will provide what is best.
2. We wait on God, not man. You don’t have to be afraid that God will forget. He knows your heart’s desires. You can be confident and stand strong when it’s Him upon whom you wait. "My soul, wait in silence for God only, for my hope is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be shaken." (Psalm 62:5-6)
3. Waiting draws us closer to God. Enduring delay builds intimacy and a closer relationship with Him. Jerome Daley in When God Waits says, “God’s greatest purpose in seasons of waiting is to draw you close to himself, to reveal the depth of his commitment to you, and to equip you for your destiny.”
4. Waiting is for a purpose. God uses the seemingly dead times in our lives to heal, replenish and prepare our hearts for the next season in our lives. Like the farmer who leaves his land crop-free for a season, your heart may feel dormant too. But it’s only for a time. Leaving the land empty replenishes the soil and replaces the nutrients so a better, healthier crop grows the next time. In the same way, your “in the meantime” time can be an opportunity to repair your own depleted heart and learn important life lessons.
5. God keeps perfect time. Things unfold “in the fullness of time,” when He is ready, when circumstances are ready, or when we are ready. You can’t tell a newborn baby to run a marathon and then be disappointed when he does not. It’s not time yet. He has to grow up first, and gain strength and muscle. When the time is right, things happen.
Whatever it is you are waiting on, trust God’s timing.
“He has made everything beautiful in its time.”