Love is patient. (1 Corinthians 13:4)
If you love with God’s love, you will live with patience.
Waiting isn’t my favorite pastime, but I’m learning to appreciate it. I could blame the culture in which I was raised and now live. After all, we’re all told we shouldn’t have to wait. We live in the “now” times. But no matter what my experiences and education, I don’t have an excuse. I know better. God tells me I’m going to have to wait. In fact, waiting is rewarded.
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)
I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord. (Psalm 27:13-14)
I’m learning to ask a few questions when I’m waiting.
- Why am I frustrated with the wait?
- How does God prefer I respond in the wait?
- What can I learn from and about God while waiting?
Waits can be frustrating regardless of the length of wait. Whether I’m waiting for God to provide some clear direction or relief from a struggle, or I’m waiting for an exorbitantly long line at the store or wait time for a customer service call, I can tap my toe, sigh, and get irritable. I can even justify my irritable response and demand I have a right to improved response time. But when I pause to ask myself the above questions, my perspective changes.
Why am I frustrated? Because of my own expectations. I think I deserve prompt attention or response. Or sometimes I’m frustrated because of simple impatience. I feel pressured to be somewhere else or to do something else, and I’m being held back from those things. In reality, I’ve created the pressure by over-scheduling, not allowing enough time, or infusing expectations on myself or others that just aren’t accurate or fair.
How does God prefer I respond in the wait? This is a fun one. The simple answer is usually “with patience,” but what’s fun is that He provides some amazing opportunities in the wait. Sometimes it’s simply looking around and noticing what’s going on around me. I might learn something about myself because of what I see in someone else or remember something I had forgotten. Sometimes God places a need right in front of me, and I have the opportunity to serve during the wait. Service comes in all sizes and time frames, and I love to be a part of the weaving of each other’s lives even in the least expected places.
What can I learn from and about God while waiting? He’s dependable. He’s present. He knows. He cares. I can learn from and about God in every single situation in my life; it just depends on if I’m actually watching and listening. When I’m in a hurry, when I’m impatient, I’m less likely to be watching and listening. When I’m waiting, I can choose to be frustrated or I can choose to be patient. It is in those patient times that I often learn the most. God confirms what He says about Himself in His Word. He repeatedly reveals the truth of who He is. I just have to be willing to receive it.
Whether it’s a season or a moment of waiting, you will not go long without waiting. How will you respond?
Dear God, despite my struggles with waiting and patience, I know both are in Your will. I don’t want to lazily or passively wait. I want to actively pursue You through the waiting process. I know that You don’t want me to check out. You intend for me to remain engaged, and I am committed to You. I commit to leaning into You and becoming closer to You no matter what season I’m in. I praise You for Your provision and guidance, every step of the way.