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May 26, 2017

God Never Wastes Your Waiting

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Microwaves. Instant downloads. Express lanes. Remote-start cars.

We’re a culture that knows what we want—and we want it now.

Feasting on entitlement and instant gratification, we hate delays in traffic, food service, and the Internet. My coworker says we live in a drive-thru society and because of that we’ve developed aversions to any and every delay, glorifying everything instant.

This bleeds over into our walk with God. We want him to answer, provide, and show himself the second we ask, seek, or knock. But sometimes his answer comes in silence (which is not the same as abandonment) or a whispered, Wait.

That’s where God has me right now. It’s good and hard and holy and is daily exposing my heart, which is tainted by the desire to control everything. Impatience reveals we are not God and that, try as we might, we cannot make things operate on our timetable.

In this reality, I am called to wait. Maybe you are, too.

When the Answer Is Not-Yet

I know we’re obeying the Lord. I know it’s not only right but good that we’re waiting. I know he never wastes a wait. I know that in all things he is plotting for our joy and his highest glory, and that’s what I want.

But as a product of the fall and as a former disciple of the culture, I want instant gratification and satisfied longings. I ache for the fruition of these good dreams and desires. I want to see God’s activity in pulling back the curtain of “wait” and giving the green light to move ahead.

But the light is still red. The curtain remains closed. The answer is still “not yet.”

And God is good. Unwavering. Steady.

Abundant in compassion. Present. Aware.

He sees. He knows. He hears.

He holds our hearts. He holds the lantern for our steps. He guides. He directs.

His plans will not be shaken. And neither will we.

Whom You Are Waiting For

Praise God that sadness in waiting does not reflect the heart of the One asking us to wait. Because we know him, hope rises from the ashes of grief, and we’re given the necessary strength to endure. He whispers, Come to me. My yoke is easy and my burden is light. I’ve carried those sorrows already; I’ll carry them again. I’ll carry you.

And rest is found.

He is with us in the classroom of “wait,” teaching us to yearn for him above all else.

Wait for the Lord; be strong,

and let your heart take courage;

wait for the Lord! (Psalm 27:14)

Have you realized that many references to waiting in Scripture are about waiting on God? We are never told to wait on an event, person, or anything but God himself. And in this season of tabling good dreams, that realization has changed everything for me.

For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.…For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. (Psalm 62:1, 5)

For God alone our souls wait. Why? Because we are to seek him. As C. S. Lewis said in Mere Christianity, “Look for Christ and you will find him, and with him, everything else.” He is the real treasure, the One for whom all souls long.

So we wait for him and all he is.

What I’m Learning in the Wait-Lands

For the believer, waiting should be as familiar as an old blanket, shouldn’t it? The whole Christian life is one of waiting. From the point of salvation we are waiting for full redemption, for the eternal celebration, for the final consummation, and for Christ to make “all the sad things come untrue.” And in response to commanding us to wait for him, God says he’s waiting too. Waiting to be gracious to us (Isaiah 30:18). Amazing. 

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)

Here’s what I’m learning in the Wait-Lands (not wastelands because God isn’t wasting a thing):

Waiting is not an excuse for a lack of obedience here and now. 

Waiting is not code for “figure this out on your own.”

Waiting is not justification for ignoring what/where God is leading in hopes that he will change his mind and ask something easier of you.

Waiting is not passive.

Waiting is a verb that not only reminds us to wholly lean on Jesus’ name but to stay active and obedient in the next thing he’s called us to.

Maybe you don’t know with certainty what you’re waiting for, just that you are to wait. Regardless of the circumstances, you can have confidence in Whom you are waiting for.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him… (Psalm 37:7a)

Not only that, we can have confidence in Who waits with us.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

Wait with Hope

In this period of waiting, we must intentionally resist anxiety and fiercely stake our hope not in what we can figure out, but in the One who knows the end from the beginning, who soaks his love into our every breath. We can rest in God who is never idle but is righteous in his rule and flawless in his faithfulness.

That truth stands through the harshest nights and deepest pains. For proof, we look to the cross, where what appeared like God’s inactivity gave way to victory for sinners, and three days of waiting produced the most glorious display of love, hope, and power the world will ever know.

Anchored in that reality, my prayer for us is that, instead of worrying and fretting over what may or may not happen in the next season (or the next), God would find us active and faithful in our waiting.

Worry springs from not being convinced of a sovereign God’s absolute love for you. Worry disappears when you realize that God loves you unfailingly and will let nothing interrupt his plans for your good. (J.D. Greear)

Sophie McDonald

Sophie McDonald is a writer, Bible teacher, and nanny. She’s a fan of blue ink pens, theology, books, coffee, and journals. Her primary aim is the fulfillment of the Great Commission and a life drenched in holiness. You can read more of her writing on her blog and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
Sophie McDonald is a writer, Bible teacher, and nanny. She’s a fan of blue ink pens, theology, books, coffee, and journals. Her primary aim is the fulfillment of the Great Commission and a life drenched in holiness. You can read more of her writing on her blog and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.