How do you feel about waiting? Do you get antsy when there’s a long line to get fuel? Does it stress you when it takes some time to get a return call to answer a question or book an appointment? Do you have any issues about paperwork processing taking a long time or taking a number at the DMV?
Some people are better at waiting more than others. And sometimes, it depends on what we’re waiting for – small things might be easier than waiting for big things, like a college entrance, results of a biopsy, a job application, promotion, etc. I’ve heard people say that waiting is an exercise in patience and life has plenty of opportunities for this exercise!
The Bible also gives us lots of examples of people who waited and had extended exercise with patience. Some examples include:
- David who was in a continual holding pattern during his years of running away from Saul. David had been anointed to be king and experienced some really amazing popularity and success, killing Goliath and becoming best friends with Jonathon, Saul’s son. I suspect that David’s waiting season was scary, discouraging, confusing, unsettling and maybe seemed hopeless at times.
- The sick man in John 5:1-9 at the Pool of Bethesda who was waiting for an opportunity to get healed. He was sick for 38 years before Jesus showed up on the scene. Jesus asked him, “Do you want to be well?” And he replied, “I have no one to help me . . . “. Jesus’ conversation with this sick man was a turning point after waiting for a very long time. In talking with Jesus, the man did what He said and was healed.
- Hannah, Samuel’s mom, waited for a very long time to get pregnant and was very despondent as she poured out her heart to God in 1 Samuel 1:1-16. In these verses, we see that the High Priest Eli, chatted with Hannah about her very deep desire and encouraged her that God would answer her prayers. Over the course of the next year, Hannah miraculously became pregnant after many years of waiting.
- Other folk who had difficult waiting seasons include Jacob, Joseph, Elizabeth and Saul / Paul to name a few.
When I look at these people in the Bible, there are a few “do’s and don’ts” that could be helpful.
- Stay focused or obsessed with the immediate circumstances.
- Think a person will “fix” the waiting season.
- Deny or ignore reality.
- Let your faith in God shrink while you wait.
- Keep your faith and focus on God.
- Encourage yourself in the Lord by feeding on God’s faithfulness in your life.
- Possess your soul in patience as it says in Luke 21:19.
- Let patience have her complete work in you so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing based on James 1:4.
- Allow the waiting season to deepen your intimacy and connection with God (being steady with Bible time, prayer and community).
Waiting is a unique season in our lives, and it can have some wonderful rewards! Let’s remember to keep Jesus at the center, especially during an extended waiting season.