The Christian approach to waiting

Recently, I’ve been dealing with the challenge of waiting.

I’ve been searching for a full time job for the past five months and waiting for God to open the door for a good job.

The challenges of waiting are many and the temptations that can afflict me are numerous. There is fear and anxiety – wondering what will happen if I won’t be able to get a job. There is a lack of trust that God will provide for me. There is discouragement as I send off application after application and go for interview after interview without any success. There is impatience as to why it is taking so long for me to land a job. There is the temptation to grumble and complain about negative circumstances.

However, what has been great for me and which I’m very grateful for is that God has given me His peace and patience so far, so I’ve been protected so far against negative thinking. That doesn’t mean I’m calm and happy all the time or that I never have any doubts, but in general, most of the time, God’s grace is with me, guarding my mind against negativity, guiding me with His wisdom and comforting me with His love. So as the temptations to be negative come to assault me, as I resist the negativity, it has been a time of growth as my faith, like a muscle, meets resistance, and this test of my faith helps increase my trust and reliance on God. I’m learning to rely on God to provide a good job for me instead of relying on my own skills and work experience, so this period of waiting has been and will be a good opportunity to learn the joy and humility of depending, relying and trusting in God.

The most effective way to combat negative thoughts I find is to saturate my mind with the Word of God. I’ve come up with a list of Bible verses that I soak my mind with whenever I feel the Enemy is attacking me with negative thoughts. I cling to God’s promises as I wait for His deliverance and salvation.

One Bible verse that encourages me is Psalm 37:7 – “Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for Him”.

When we are placed in a situation where God is calling us to wait, we should do it in a spirit of stillness. If your circumstances are comfortable, being still is something relatively easy to do, but if your circumstances are negative, then being still can be very difficult. This is what the disciples faced when their boat was caught in a storm and Jesus was sleeping in the boat. The disciples were terrified and disturbed by the storm and amazed that Jesus was just sleeping and not doing anything to rescue them. But Jesus was sleeping not because He didn’t care about them, but because He knew that His power was protecting them from the storm. In the storm, all the disciples had to do was to be still and rest in God’s peace. When the disciples couldn’t stand it anymore and woke Jesus up, our Lord miraculously calmed the storm. He then rebuked them for not having the faith to wait for the storm to pass. This incident in the gospel teaches us that in the storms of life, sometimes all we have to do is to rest and be still in God’s peace, knowing that His power protects us from all harm and He will rescue and deliver us to a safe place and green pastures.

Here are some of the verses that have encouraged me in my waiting period:

Isaiah 40:31

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Psalm 130:5-6

I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.

My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.

Lamentations 3:25-26

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.

Psalm 27:14

Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.

One good tip for coping with the difficulty of waiting is to see it not just as waiting, but as waiting on the Lord. It’s much easier to think about waiting on God than it is to be patient with your circumstances. When you’re waiting on the Lord, you’re not just waiting for time to pass, but it’s a peaceful, restful, joyful anticipation of how God will reward you when the waiting period is over.

One thing that has been encouraging during my waiting period for a good job is that I’ve realized that waiting is part of God’s will for me at the moment. God has a good plan for my life and during this phase of my life, it is His will for me to wait and this season of my life is the season of waiting. Knowing that it is God’s will for me to wait brings comfort and peace because I know that as I wait patiently, I’m obeying God and pleasing Him. I know that this time of waiting is the best thing for me at this stage of my life, so I entrust myself into the loving hands of God who guides me along the perfect path for me. By realizing that waiting is God’s will for me, I also have the confidence that at the end of the waiting period, I’ll receive my reward – salvation, deliverance, joy.

When you wait, it is a process where you do nothing, but God is doing everything. It is a process of utter dependence on God. The good news is God is not passive, but is working His mighty power to create a marvellous future for you. In my case, I believe that what God is doing for me now is plenty, including changing the economy so a suitable job might open up to me, moving the right people to the right places, inspiring the hiring manager to look on my application favourable, granting me favour with people in authority, providing the budget to hire me, creating the vacancy and need for my skills and experience. I believe that God is doing so many things that I cannot see – but just because it’s invisible to me doesn’t mean it’s not happening. God is teaching me to live by faith, not by sight. I just have to remember that though I might not be doing anything, God is doing something. And God is not just doing something, He is moving mightily on my behalf, working things out with his amazing power. God is the ruler of the universe, working on things behind the scenes, in His infinite wisdom and power.

God reveals His purpose about why sometimes He wants us to wait in James 1:2-4 (NIV) –

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

The King James Version translates the word “perseverance” as “patience”. Both interpretations are worth pondering. When we are called to wait by God, that helps us develop the quality of patience and perseverance. In fact, patience can only be developed during when you have to wait, thus waiting becomes an essential part of our spiritual growth. James tells us that patience will help us become mature and complete, not lacking anything. Thus we can rejoice during times of waiting, knowing that the time of waiting is creating in us patience, perseverance and endurance that is perfecting our character.

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