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Rewards of Waiting

Life Lesson 20: Waiting on the Lord takes courage. It takes faith to trust and believe that the God of the universe will meet all my needs. Yet, I am learning that waiting on God is the greatest use of my time.

 “Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous.
Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.”

Psalm 27:14 NLT

As the U.S. was just beginning to grasp the impact of the Coronavirus, and panic among some were starting to set in, many stores faced the daunting task of keeping up with overwhelming demands of basic necessities like toilet paper and hand sanitizer.

Meanwhile, as reports of a possible shutdown began looming over our State, I took to the grocery store. On this day, I decided to go to Costco, not expecting to be greeted by a long line of shoppers wrapped around the massive complex. Although I was tempted not to waste my  time waiting in line, I ultimately decided to exercise patience, bite the bullet, and join other shoppers. After waiting for what felt like a lifetime in line, I finally had the chance to enter the crowded store. Relieved to be inside, I quickly got a cart and hustled my way through the isles searching for the essentials, you guessed it, toilet paper and hand sanitizer. To no surprise, Costco was also out of them. Still, I grabbed some non-perishable foods and hurried to the first checkout line I could find. I could hardly believe my eyes. Yet again, I was challenged to wait in a very long line. As you can imagine, by this time, I was in no mood. I was frustrated and felt very irritable. I must have been in line five minutes fuming before a store employee approached and graciously offered to take me to another checkout line that had opened only moments earlier. Within minutes, I was on my way out the door, and to my car.

That experience taught me a very valuable lesson about waiting. It reminded me of the proverbial phrase: “All good things come to those who wait.” Considering what difficult and uncertain times we are living in right now, I began to reflect on the good, which came out of that experience and what it means to wait on God. Throughout Scripture we are taught to exercise patience by waiting on the Lord. Waiting on God doesn’t mean sitting around doing nothing. It means having the discipline to be patient and to trust Him in our situation. Those who believe and trust in the Word of God, have the awesome privilege of experiencing the Lord’s wonderful blessings. In Isaiah 40:31 (NASB) we read:

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.

While we are waiting, trusting, and hoping in the Lord, He empowers us with divine strength to not give up, and to not give in to impatience.

No one enjoys waiting. Quite candidly, waiting can be annoying and tedious for many reasons. We are a people programmed for the “now.” We live in a “right now” society where express service is always on demand. We just don’t want to take the time to wait, yet life sometimes dictate that we do need to wait. But wait for what, for whom, and for how long? Well, that depends on your situation, but more importantly, for whom do you wait? We are told in Lamentations 3:25 (NLT) that, “The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him.” While we are waiting, we need to be actively seeking God. We must seek the Lord through His Word and we must seek Him through prayer.

When I find myself having to wait, whether in line, in traffic, in a restaurant, at the store, the doctor’s office, on a person or a job, I take comfort in God’s Word and I trust Him to sovereignly work my situation out in His perfect timing. In Isaiah 55:9 (NASB), we are told:

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.

Since the Lord is in control of all things and has a heavenly perspective on every situation we face, we must learn to trust Him even in the gaps because only He has complete view of our lives. Sometimes the Lord will allow us to go through a season of waiting for reasons beyond what we can see or even begin to understand. I am learning that it is a great opportunity for me to draw closer to God during times of waiting.

Never doubt God’s timing while you wait. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT) are well known verses that many believers in Christ lean on in times of uncertainty or in periods of waiting. In this passage of Scripture a believer is  encouraged to:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

When we place our complete trust in God’s Word, there is a sense of divine freedom that fill our lives so that even while we are waiting, we have the blessed assurance that God is in our situation and will work everything out according to His perfect will, and at the right time.

Yes, no one will dispute that waiting is hard and it takes courage to wait on the Lord. Perhaps you have been waiting on God for some time to intervene in your situation. You may have even be waiting on a dream to materialize, and despite your best efforts, nothing seems to be happening. Right now you may feel forsaken by God, and you may even be feeling discouraged and tempted to give up. You are not alone. Many of us often struggle with those same feelings. Like some of the Lord’s saints in the Bible, I sometimes find myself questioning where is God, and why do I need to wait so long? In Psalm 13:1-2 (NLT), we see where King David also wrestled with doubt and feelings of abandonment when he asks:

O Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever? How long will you look the other way? How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day? How long will my enemy have the upper hand?

The realization of God’s omnipotence (all powerful) and omniscience (all knowing), should encourage us to rest in Him during times of waiting. I am finding that there are times in my life when the Lord’s answer is either a definite “yes,” an unmistakable “no” or a gentle “not now.” Because I depend on the Lord’s guidance, I trust and accept whatever answer He gives. Besides, He has a greater vantage point than I do, and can see the bigger picture of my life. I am learning that a delay doesn’t necessarily mean a denial, nor does it mean that my God-given dreams and desires are never going to happen. All it means, is that, for reasons I may never know or even fully comprehend, God has chosen to delay them. Since we serve a holy, righteous, and generous God, we don’t have to ever worry about the “whys” but focus instead on the “who.” Who is your hope in times of waiting?

In Habakkuk 2:3 (ESV), we are told, “For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.” What may seem to us as a delay or a setback, is really God’s way of saying, “Now is not the right time” or “I have a better plan for your life.” At times, the Lord will delay revealing His answer to our prayers, not because He’s punishing us, but because He has a greater plan for our lives than we could ever orchestrate ourselves. After all, in 1 Corinthians 2:9 (NLT) it is written:

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”

Because God, in His infinite wisdom knows what’s best for us, let us wait patiently for Him. Even when waiting seems foolish to others, let us wait for the Lord anyway. As a follower of Jesus Christ, when I am tempted to quit waiting, I am reminded to declare like the psalmist who said, “I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry.” I am also encouraged by Psalm 25:4-5 (NASB) that said: Make me know Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; for You I wait all the day.”

Remember, our seeking and waiting  on God are never in vain. Scripture reminds us that God, in all His majesty, takes time to answer our prayers. Psalm 138:3 (NLT) gives the great assurance that God not only answers our prayers, but He also gives us the faith to believe that, “As soon as I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me strength.”

When you find yourself in the waiting room of life, take courage and trust the Lord to work on your behalf. I don’t know about you, but I want God’s best for my life, and therefore I am willing to wait—wait even when life doesn’t make sense and situations are difficult because I know that the God who is the Creator and Judge of the universe, has my very best interest at heart.

“If the Lord Jehovah makes us wait, let us do so with our whole hearts; for blessed are all they that wait for Him. He is worth waiting for. The waiting itself is beneficial to us: it tries faith, exercises patience, trains submission, and endears the blessing when it comes. The Lord’s people have always been a waiting people.”

–Charles Spurgeon

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