I do a lot of waiting in my life. I wait in lines, in traffic, for payday…you get the idea. The most prevalent type of waiting in my life though seems to be waiting on the Lord. It’s no secret that we will be called to wait on him. The scriptures are full of verses that talk about waiting, and if you read about many of the men and women that God used powerfully, there was always at least one very long period of waiting involved in their spiritual journey. God promised Abraham that he would have a son and yet it took many, many years for that promise to come true. Abraham waited and was changed in the process. David was anointed King over Israel at the age of 15 and yet after his anointing he went back out into the fields to continue being a shepherd for 5 more years before he fought against Goliath. It was many years after that victory before he actually became King. David waited and gained a depth of intimacy with the Lord.
Isaiah 30:18 says, “Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!”
I believe it’s during those times of waiting that God actually works out details and gives us time to become, time to grow. He could have given Abraham a son instantly, just as he could have placed David on the throne as a 15 year old boy. But it was during the period of waiting that God worked on Abraham’s heart. God refined David’s character all those years he was shepherding sheep in the fields alone. The waiting isn’t for God, the waiting is for us. We need it. During that time, we look to God more intensely perhaps, or with more intent or purpose. There is expectation, wondering what he will do or how he will work out all of the plans that he has in store for us. Jeremiah 29:11-13 says, “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” God already knows what the plans are, we are the ones who are struggling for the answers…struggling with waiting.
When I was in the midst of my divorce, I remember saying to a couple of my friends that I had reached a point where I didn’t know if I could keep living in limbo…..the unknown of my future was so difficult. The things that I did know seemed much more prevalent and real – I was unloved, lonely and my life felt completely out of control. That is what I knew. I laid in bed at night for months worrying about finding a job, a place to live, what my friends and family would think of me, and how I would handle life on my own. What I did not know was that in the midst of my time of waiting, God was working out details to every area of concern that I had and working on my heart and relationship with Him. I found a job – and not just any job, but one where I would be affirmed, and appreciated and gain self confidence. Some friends offered me a home to rent on the back corner of their 10 acres of property and it’s like living on a slice of heaven for me – a little bit of country in the suburbs. I’ve become more confident and comfortable living on my own than I thought possible. And my friends have been more supportive and wonderful to me than I could ever have imagined. All the nights I laid awake, tears I cried, longing for an end to waiting and God used all that time to work out each and every detail that I agonized over. That was the worst and best time of my life. I learned to trust God in that time of waiting. I learned that waiting is not passive, it’s a time to dig deep. I prayed more intensely and intimately and just more than I ever thought I would. As painful as waiting was for me, it was a necessary part of my journey. It changed me.
If you are in the middle of a time of waiting and you feel as though the end is nowhere in sight, just hang on. Dig deep. God is using this time to work out details that are part of the plan for you. You know, I still don’t know a lot about my life, there is uncertainty every single day. I trust in ways I didn’t before and I’m sure that was part of the plan all along, my part of waiting on the Lord.