Waiting is definitely a test. It tests our patience and our loyalty. It tests our love and our mercy. Waiting is not for the weak. (Lee Young)
I consider myself a patient person but waiting on God changed me forever. Waiting chiseled at my rough edges. It revealed to me my true character. It accentuated the distance between God and me.
I find it hard to deal with God’s silences. I want quick solutions to difficult problems and God’s timeline hardly ever aligns with mine.
Wait. Be patient. Why is it so easy to say, but so hard to do?
When I look back on the seasons of my life, I must admit that I act differently during the times of testing. My conversations with God often fill up with frustration and anger and it is difficult to keep impatience from spilling into my spiritual life. These are the times when I scrutinize my faith and my belief systems.
God often reveals my dodgy intentions to me when I am not in control of my life. It is difficult to acknowledge that God may not always work things out in a way that I can understand. I realised in these times that my identity is often related to my personal abilities, and when these abilities are challenged, I feel inadequate and struggle to deal with the raw emotions that crawl to the surface.
Spiritual transformation doesn’t take place when we get what we want. It takes place while we’re waiting. It is forged in us while we’re waiting, hoping, and trusting, even though we have yet to receive what we long for. Spiritual transformation happens in the waiting room. (Pete Wilson)
I find life’s waiting rooms daunting and difficult despite my faith and trust in God. I know the Bible is filled with stories of people that had to be patient and wait on God. Moses waited forty years and spent most of his life in the desert; Joseph endured many hardships and challenges before his destiny was fulfilled.
Circumstances can be difficult sometimes. Mary and Martha saw their brother Lazarus die while they waited on Jesus (John 11:21, 32). They had no clue that Jesus would raise him from the dead. For Paul the solution never presented itself… he shows his vulnerability in asking God to remove the ‘thorn in his flesh’ (2 Corinthians 12:7), God answers him with ‘My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ (2 Corinthians 12:9).
I deduct from these examples that things might not always work out the way we expect them to while we are waiting. I once read that Christ had a ministry of doing things for people – healing, teaching, confronting and comforting – but even Christ was forced to wait after his arrest. Henri Nouwen (A Spirituality of Waiting) writes, “God did not spare Jesus, but handed Him over to benefit us all.” (Romans 8:32). Immediately after Jesus was handed over, He became the one to whom things were being done. He was arrested. He was led to the high priest. He was taken before Pilate. He was crowned with thorns. He was nailed to a cross. Things were being done to Him over which He had no control.
In a way, His agony was not simply the agony of approaching death, but it was also the agony of having to wait.
Is it not true that we can go to the depths of despair while things are being done to us when we have no control?
Waiting serves a purpose.
It might seem like nothing is happening on the outside, but God is busy transforming us on the inside. He is changing our hearts.
I’ve realised that life is not about success, power or possessions. Life is about a changed perspective.
Once I realised that life is full of challenges and that I needed to adjust my expectations, I was able to relate to life in a new way. I had to choose an unplanned life!
We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us. (Joseph Campbell)
Take action while you are waiting.
One of the biggest lessons I had to learn was that I had a part to play during my waiting room experiences. I learned to seek contentment despite my circumstances. I learned to pray to God for guidance but also to trust Him implicitly. I had to study the scriptures to enable the Holy Spirit to give me insight and understanding, and the most difficult of all, I had to be introspective and bring correction to the areas in my life where my behaviour was not aligned with God’s will.
The minute I started embracing the situations that I found myself in, I could develop godly patience and humility to completely trust God with my life.
These waiting periods also strengthen us to wait for the return of Jesus Christ.
I want to know Christ – yes to know the power of His resurrection and participations in His sufferings, become like Him in His death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:10-11)
God doesn’t always give me clear direction, but He brings peace to any situation. He is not bound by any limitations; He is able to reshape my life in such a way that I don’t need to harbor the sorrows of yesterday.
They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)
I found solace in realising that I am not the only person in the universe. I might be ready to take the next step in my life, but God might still be working on someone else who is pivotal to me realising my ultimate purpose.
My waiting might also benefit someone else.
John was banished to the island of Patmos where he received the vision that is found in the book of Revelation. When our personal dreams are delayed, we should not automatically assume that they are denied.
The waiting periods in my life restored my intimacy with God and that in turn led me to make better decisions. I have had the privilege of witnessing the rebirth of all my hopes and dreams. Accept the natural rhythm of the life that God has given you. Waiting is what defines that rhythm.
Let God have your life; He can do more with it than you can. (Dwight L. Moody)