A Christian Approach to Waiting (Part 2)

This week’s blog builds on last week’s post about the benefits and challenges of waiting.

Patience is an attribute of God. When we are patient, we are like Him. Thus waiting is good because it makes us more like God.

When you wait, at times it seems that nothing is happening. When you feel like that, remind yourself that you are always going somewhere in God’s plan. God is constantly moving you according to His purpose for your life. Your job is to be patient and wait for Him to accomplish it His way and His time. Even when your life is standing still, as long as you cling to God you are moving forward on the path of God.

Obedience to God is key. If you continue to obey God and take the steps you know are right, you will end up in God’s perfect place for you. The process might take a long time, so it’s important to not get discouraged. You can encourage yourself through prayer and reminding yourself of the promises in God’s Word.

Prayer is also crucial. Pray that God will wash away all fear, anxiety, doubt, impatience, lack of trust and discouragement. Ask God to fill you with the Holy Spirit, with His love, joy, peace, strength, wisdom and hope.

Waiting also increases your wisdom and improves your knowledge of God. Waiting helps you grow in the understanding of God’s ways, if you will not give in to fear, impatience or discouragement because your timetable does not coincide with God’s.

Develop contentment during your times of waiting. God has shown you that He wants you to tread the path of patience and waiting, so be content with this season of your life and don’t yearn for things to move faster.

Cultivate hope. Though your waiting times might be in darkness, have hope that the sun will come up again and at the end of the waiting period, you will bask in His light. Psalm 30:5 tells us –

For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favour lasts a lifetime;
weeping may stay for the night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.

You can encourage yourself by coming to the realization that waiting is good for building and increasing faith. In Hebrews 11:6, it says, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” When you are in a season of waiting, you need to have the faith that God will reward your waiting with something good. You’ll have to believe that you’ll receive that good thing before it happens. You’ve heard the expression – “I’ll believe it when I see it”. For Christians, we have to believe before we can see it – that’s faith. We walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)

Waiting is also good because it helps build endurance. God is training us like spiritual athletes, pushing us into longer periods of waiting to build our stamina and increase our endurance. Endurance is something that can only be developed through the long passing of time, thus God at times calls us to a season of waiting.

Waiting helps us develop a trust, reliance and dependence on God. You have to wait for Him to work for you rather than relying on your own efforts and strength. Instead of you making things happen, you surrender the situation to God who does all the work.

Waiting can be tough because you have to give up control, something which many people struggle with. It’s especially difficult when there’s nothing you can do to change the situation. In this case, all you can do is relax, be still, be at rest, release and surrender things to God, trust and depend on Him. Do not get troubled, anxious or disturbed, but hide under His strong and comforting wings.

Waiting requires you to trust God’s timing. Our timing is often different from God’s timing. If we had our way, we would want everything to happen immediately. Especially in the 21st century, we are used to a fast-paced life, we expect everything to happen quickly, even instantly – so when God’s timing slows us down, we can get agitated and frustrated.

Trusting God’s timing is a test of obedience. Will you submit to His timetable or insist on your own timetable? A great deal of growing in your relationship with God is surrender and submission – and waiting is about surrendering your time to God, submitting the “when” to the Lord of Time and trusting that He knows the best time for you to receive your promise.

God promises us many great things – but usually there might be a time lag between when the promise is issued and when the promise is fulfilled. Abraham had to wait twenty years before He saw the promise of his son Isaac being born. Joseph was a teenager when God gave him his dream of greatness and it was also nearly another twenty years – and through hard times of being a slave and a prisoner – before Joseph saw his dreams fulfilled when He became promoted to the prime minister of Egypt. A lot of times God promises us great things – things far beyond what we can hope or imagine – but the price of receiving that dream is waiting – we have to continue to trust and not give up even when everything tells us that the promise we are waiting for won’t happen.

Waiting is a process of not giving up. Waiting is the promise of clinging to God’s promise fervently, zealously, not allowing negative circumstances make you discouraged or lose hope.

Thus waiting requires great strength. Accepted correctly, waiting doesn’t make you passive, it makes you active as you build the muscles of perseverance, patience, endurance, hope, faith – all these things will strengthen your character and make you a mighty believer of God.

When you have to wait and your circumstances start becoming negative, there is the temptation to panic and take things into your own hands. But this only leads to more problems. For example, Abraham had problems waiting for Sarah to conceive Isaac, so he had a child with Sarah’s maid Hagar and the child Ishmael only brought them grief. The tragedy happened all because Abraham lacked the patience to wait for God’s promise to be fulfilled.

So when you’re waiting, be patient and look forward to God’s deliverance instead of taking things into your own hands. You’ll find that your patience will be well rewarded when you wait on God.

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