Are you currently waiting on the Lord? Maybe you’re waiting for a job, a spouse, or a wayward child to return home. Maybe you’re waiting for wisdom for next steps or how to handle a hard situation. Waiting is hard because there is so little we have to wait on these days. We can microwave a meal in three minutes. We can journey across the globe in one day. We can google the answer to any question in three seconds. We can send a text in one second without waiting for the mail to arrive.
And in our fast-paced, instant-access society, when we suddenly don’t have what we want most, and we have to wait, we feel helpless, weak and powerless. Sometimes we even question God like David did in Psalm 13:1, “How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?”
We wonder if God hears. We question in God cares. We doubt.
Have you ever doubted God? I have. Years ago I felt God’s call to to adoption. I waited and prayed for seven years (without nagging!) for God to put the same call on John’s heart too. Then I waited two years as we did paperwork. And I waited another year after the paperwork was finished for a child. And the call never came. Instead, I was confronted with doors closing on the international path we’d chosen.
After ten years of waiting my heart was broken. Why, God? Why?
And in my brokenness I turned to God. Even in tears I told Him that I trusted Him. Verses like these resonate in my heart:
I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning. Psalm 130:5-6
Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. Psalm 27:14
And in my waiting and seeking I realized I wasn’t alone. The Bible is filled with those who wait. One of my favorite waiting stories is about a man who waited his whole life for a glimpse of the promised Messiah.
Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Luke 2:25-26
As he took the child, Jesus, in his arms Simeon proclaimed it was worth the wait.
“Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised. I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!” Luke 2:29-32
In Simeon’s waiting He saw the Lord. And in our waiting we also discover Him too. Every minute that Simeon waited made the joy of receiving even more precious.
Why does God ask us to wait? Waiting prepares your heart. Even when your mind feels ready for a task, your heart might not be there yet. Waiting allows God time to feel the gap between your head and your heart.
What to do while you wait:
1. Be thankful for who God is and what He’s done.
The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love (Psalm 103:8). Thank Him, knowing the waiting comes from His compassion, grace and love. Treasure Him for all who He is. Know that if you never receive what you’re waiting for God is enough.
2. Walk in obedience in what God has already called you to.
Living a righteous life happens one day at a time. Instead of trying to hurry God up, walk faithfully where He has you now.
3. Be honest in your struggle.
As I waited for adoption doors to open I shared my struggle. I asked friends to pray for my family. I shared how I didn’t understand why we were having to wait for doors to open to adopt a child when it’s clearly God’s mandate in Scripture. The amazing thing is that a praying friend was the connection with our daughter’s birth mom. In my willingness to share my struggle (not with complaining but with humility) God opened the doors.
4. Seek God for strength.
Waiting is never easy, but when we are at the end of ourselves it’s then we turn to—and depend on—God’s strength. “Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary,” Isaiah 40:31 NASV
5. Realize that the waiting is part of God’s ultimate YES!
Romans 11:34-36 says, “Is there anyone around who can explain God? Anyone smart enough to tell him what to do? Anyone who has done him such a huge favor that God has to ask his advice? Everything comes from him; Everything happens through him; Everything ends up in him. Always glory! Always praise! Yes. Yes. Yes.” (MSG). Even though the waiting was hard the final yes was much more beautiful than I ever imagined.
For me, Jesus’ ultimate YES wasn’t one child adopted but SEVEN. Yes, seven. When God opened the doors He opened a floodgate, and we adopted seven children in five years.
Looking back I’m so thankful for the time of waiting. I’m thankful that I allowed God to prepare my heart and my life. God’s YES was bigger than I ever hoped or dreamed.
Here’s a prayer for you:
Oh Lord, I know You’re a good God, but the truth is that I’m tried of waiting. I know You have the perfect answer. I trust You have the perfect solution, but waiting for the moment you decreed is tough.
Please be with me as I wait. Let me see You as I never have before. Help me to trust You and see You in new ways. Prepare my heart, Lord, as I wait, and finally thank You for Your ultimate yes.
In Jesus’ name,
Friend, today I’m also praying for you. I’m praying that God’s current NO will allow time, space and preparation for His ultimate YES. To God be the glory!
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Andrea Cox says
Tricia, thank you. This article was exactly what I needed to hear this morning. It’s tough when you pour out your heart in buckets of tears, trying to read the Word of God through the blurriness, and yet hear only silence. Does that mean we’re on the right track? that God is waiting to see what we’ll choose to do? that He requires more patience? The questions are endless, and I have no answers so far, but the important thing is I’m seeking those answers from the only one who knows them. And He knows my heart. The purity, questions, eagerness, love, compassion, etc. that are held so close inside of that organ, He sees them all. Do I get frustrated sometimes and wish the plan would hurry up and play itself out? Sure. Who wouldn’t? But it’s in struggling through moments like those that I discover a joy I never would have known had it not been for that deep kind of pain.
God bless you and those seven kids. I know their adoptions have been a major blessing to all parties involved. May you all grow closer and closer to God through your life journey together.
Laura Bennet says
Thank you so much! I so needed to read this today. This is exactly where I’m at and it’s been an “I can’t do this anymore” feeling this past couple of weeks. And like Andrea’s comments above, it isn’t God I doubt, it’s me. Did I hear you right? Did I miss something? Is there a place of disobeying when I thought I was obeying? Why are my husband and I hearing different things from God?? Today when sharing with a friend, we realized that some of the challenge is simply learning to keep our hands open or off entirely and let God do his work in his way and timing. But it feels a little like river rafting in rapids…without a paddle, or even a boat. Bruised, battered and drowning. Or so it seems. Relaxing and looking up, going with the flow will be far less painful than fighting the current and scrambling for a handhold. (Never been in rapids before so I’m guessing here.) God will send the right help at the right time if I am ready, but not freaked out.
All that to say, thanks for reminding me that God’s got this. His strength will carry me and the plan is good and out there even if I don’t see it right now. Your adoption story, especially praying while waiting for your husband to feel the call too, is so encouraging. May God continue to bless your family, your ministry of writing and all you do!
Andrea Cox says
Laura, I’m so encouraged by your testimony too! Such deep questions you’re asking God. He’s got to be smiling when He sees you so willing to alter your way of thinking to match up with His own. Keep seeking Him, and I know He will guide you.