Waiting! Something most of us are not very good at. We are easily annoyed when forced to wait for almost anything. We get irritated waiting at traffic lights usually over-exaggerating the time we actually wait for the light to turn green. We complain about the amount of time we “wait” at the doctor’s office reminding ourselves and everyone who will listen that doctors are in a different time zone than us and do not respect our time. We get easily agitated if we need to wait at a “fast food” restaurant if it is not quick enough service for us.
Credit cards have been a quick fix to our lack of restraint and unwillingness to “wait” for the things we want in life. We do not need to wait for that new outfit, new piece of furniture, new car, or new toy as long as we have a credit card or good line of credit to get a loan. We talk about delayed gratification only as it fits into our own timetable. Thus we have a rather warped view of what it really means to wait for anything.
But there are also those times we are willing to wait. Waiting in line to get on rides at amusement parks can consume most of a day. Waiting in line for long periods of time at ballgames, concerts, restaurants or for stores to open on Black Friday is something people do willingly. We cheerfully wait long periods of time when it is our choice but get irritated about waiting if we feel it is an imposition. This makes us a very self-centered society.
Because we fail to understand the benefit of waiting, we usually miss what is happening around us as we wait. When we begin to recognize what we are to do while waiting we will receive its rewards. When we stop complaining about waiting we will waste less time and begin to be productive while waiting. When we properly train ourselves in short-term waiting, long-term waiting will not be exasperating. Perhaps our issue with waiting on worldly things would not be such a huge problem except it flows naturally into our relationship with God and our expectations of Him as well. Waiting in life includes waiting on God. We will become strong, healthy and fruitful in waiting when we begin to exercise the art of “waiting”. Practicing some simple waiting principles will create a masterpiece in our life.
*Begin to view waiting is an integral part of life, not a nuisance to be endured. Waiting is an essential part of God’s plan in our lives in which He can do some amazing things in and through us if we will embrace it rather than simply tolerate it. When we view waiting as part of our daily life rather than something that takes away from our daily life, we will use the time we spend waiting as effective ambassadors for His Kingdom.
*Identify what we are waiting for – When we know what we are waiting for and calculate its value, the irritation diminishes. When we are waiting at a stoplight, we are doing it because we “want” to go somewhere; we have a purpose in mind. Identify and focus on the purpose. If we are waiting at a fast-food restaurant it is because we are either hungry or just need to grab something quick. Why do we need to grab something quickly? Identifying why we are in a hurry helps us determine if we should be at the restaurant or not. If we are waiting at a doctor’s office what is the purpose? Are we really sick and in need of a doctor? If so, we know it is worth the wait. If not, we can change this in the future.
When we practice identifying what we wait for on a daily basis, we can also begin to identify what we are waiting for with God. Is there a dream, goal, or purpose we are not yet walking in with the Lord because we are waiting? If not, we need to talk with Him and discover what His plans are for us. Then we wait with purpose, agree with God, and use the waiting period as preparation!
* Actively wait! Now that we have identified the thing(s) we are waiting for, small and big, we can actively ponder, meditate, and focus on those things. We can live and wait actively and passionately for them. Rather than seeing the “waiting period” as a “waste of time”, “passing the time” or “killing time”, we must see it as part of our life plan in seeking God, worshipping, serving, and obeying Him in all things. We should consider waiting as part of our life plan not a separate issue.
We can compare waiting in life to time-outs taken at strategic times for particular purposes in basketball, volleyball, or football games. Perhaps they are taken to stop momentum of the other team, or to freeze a player shooting a free throw, serving a match point, or kicking a winning field goal. Sometimes timeouts are taken to correct mistakes, to give a short rest, or to communicate a set play. Basically, time-outs allow everyone to take a break and wait to resume the contest. But during the time-out, (wait), they are planning the next strategy for when play resumes. Time outs are not viewed by the team or coaches as a nuisance or a bother but as integral parts of the overall game plan. In fact, time-outs are so valuable coaches protect them, use them wisely, and save them if possible for crucial times in the games.
If we would view our times of waiting the same as time-outs in competition perhaps we would value the time waiting in line at the grocery store, in the waiting room at the doctor or dentist, or in the car during traffic. Perhaps we would plan our next strategy while waiting in order to resume something God has for us in life. Perhaps we would use the waiting period wisely, protect it, and understand this is a crucial time in life if we find ourselves in waiting. Perhaps we would stop complaining about waiting and see it as an integral part of our life and in God’s overall plan for us. When we are not walking in the fullness of our dream or passion, are we complaining and moping around, feeling useless and fruitless? Or are we cooperating with God in our time-out, in our waiting, and serving Him with our whole heart in whatever capacity we are currently in?
*Be faithful in waiting in the small things! When we learn how to properly apply knowledge, in other words when we are wise in the ability to wait in the mundane things of life, we will discover we are much more skilled and motivated to wait actively for God. The Word speaks of our “souls” waiting on God. Psalm 33:20 “Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield.” Psalm 62:1 “… Truly my soul silently waits for God; From Him comes my salvation.” Psalm 130:5-6 “I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, And in His Word I do hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning-Yes, more than those who watch for the morning.” Our souls consist of our emotions, desires, passions, and thoughts. We wait on the Lord by lining our entire beings up with His will, waiting on Him expectantly to show up. If we do not practice our waiting skills in the small things, we may miss the big things because we are unwilling to wait for them.
* Wait expectantly! Live in the excitement of the moment whether waiting at a stoplight, restaurant, doctors office, or waiting on God. Expect the unexpected! Knowing and believing God is going to work in the waiting process carries unlimited potential in each moment of the day! Waiting is no longer a separate part of our day, it IS our day!
* Wait on God not on things! This is the most vital and necessary decision we can make when speaking of waiting! We should not spend our time waiting for some “thing” but on some “One”. It changes our entire outlook on waiting. No matter what we go through in life, we should look for God and wait on Him to show up and surprise us with His presence. When we wait on Him, life gets exciting and fascinating. God has extraordinary things awaiting those who will “wait” on Him.
Proverbs 8:34 “Blessed is the man who listens to me, Watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.” Isaiah 64:4 “For since the beginning of the world men have not heard nor perceived by the ear, nor has the eye seen any God besides You, who acts for the one who waits for Him.” Psalm 40:1 “…I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry.” Isaiah 25:9 “And it will be said in that day: “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for Him; we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.”
When we wait on the Lord, we are blessed. We experience His help and salvation. We discover the Lord acts on behalf of the one who waits for Him. He hears us and inclines toward us. He is worth the wait!
The song “While I’m Waiting” written and sung by John Waller is a wonderful story about waiting for God’s plans to unfold in our lives. He wrote this song because when he was eighteen years old the Lord spoke to him and birthed a dream of singing Christian music. He believed God had called him to sing and presumed it would happen quickly but instead it took seventeen years from the time the Lord first spoke to him about this dream to the time he was finally doing what God had called him to do. The waiting was difficult at times but he purposed to “actively” wait rather than sit back and let God make it happen.
I believe this song portrays waiting as God intended it; intertwined with our daily experience rather than as a separate entity. I pray we all approach “waiting” in a new fresh way today, whether we are waiting in our cars or at an appointment, waiting on a relationship, waiting for a breakthrough, or waiting for the fulfillment of a dream. Let us be people who will serve and worship Him while we wait. Let us be bold, confident, and obedient as we move ahead in our waiting. And let us be patient as we allow God to work in us while we wait!