I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. Psalm 40:1-2
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10
No one loves to wait. We all know what it’s like to be stuck, or to feel stuck, like everything is out of our control and we’re just sitting tight waiting on someone or something else to move so we can get on with life and advance to the next thing. Waiting for something we really want is hard. We’ll often take shortcuts because we’re trying to skip the waiting if at all possible. To quote the famous theologian, Tom Petty, “The waiting is the hardest part.”
Normally, when we’re waiting, we’re not waiting on God, we’re waiting on ourselves, or our circumstances to change. We look around wondering what is blocking or holding up our progress. If we’re not careful we will miss out on something really special if we’re always trying to “hurry things up.” The discipline of waiting is an important part of life. It’s where we learn to trust and display faith. It’s where we come to the end of ourselves. During these times, whether we realize it or not, God is posturing Himself to help when He hears our cry. Sometimes God says, “Hang on” so that we can learn how to “hold on.”
Instead of trying to speed things up and get unstuck, God is wanting to do something deep inside of our heart that shapes and forms our character and dependence upon Him. Even in the midst of waiting, God is doing something. He’s shaping our mind and heart so that we can be an expression of Him.
When God says wait, it’s not because He doesn’t care or because He doesn’t want us to be blessed. He isn’t withholding His goodness, joy, or peace. God utilizes times of waiting to shape and form us into complete dependence upon Him. God uses waiting to teach us how to trust His provision.
In order to see this, we must shift our perspective. We tend to view waiting as if it’s a delay, but the two are different. The word delay means to hinder, impeded or to hold up progress while waiting is the act of pausing for purpose and preparation. By being still we see God as God. We must shift our perspective from waiting to worship.
Our waiting is not just about us. It’s about the rest of the world also learning to see, hear, and trust God. It’s about pointing others to worship Him. Our focus should shift to God and what He is trying to do, instead of our own inconvenience and what’s happening to us. The way to begin doing this is by focusing on the people and circumstances around us. We’ve got to move from just focusing on ourselves to focusing outside of ourselves. Growth happens when we stop viewing waiting as if it’s not a part of the plan and begin to realize that it is, in fact, a very strategic part of God’s plan.
- Where is God trying to get your attention by causing you to wait? How would a perspective shift alter your response to these circumstances?
God, when I find myself in a holding pattern, I’m often impatient. My mind begins to race about what is impeding my progress. I want nothing more than to move and rid myself of the circumstances I encounter. Yet, it is in those moments, where You are urging me to be still and know that You are God. Let me pay attention to those times of waiting and be curious about what You are up to. May my waiting turn into worship. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.
This devotional was inspired by Danny Roger’s message “In The Waiting.”