Therefore I will look to the Lord;
I will wait for the God of my salvation;
My God will hear me. Micah 7:7 (NKJV)
I have a confession: I’ve not been the best at waiting. I’ve driven down I-40 when I’m going to visit family, frustrated as all get out because the car in front of me, who also happens to be in the left lane, just isn’t going fast enough for me. I’ve stood in line at the grocery store after a day at work, impatient because it’s already 6:30 pm and I just want to get home. I’ve gotten overwhelmed when I see things happening for others around me and the sudden realization that I’ve been in what seems like the same spot for way too long starts to settle deep within my mind. I start thinking, “Hey! What about me?”
But recently, during those moments of thinking about me, I’ve been hearing God whisper, “wait on Me, daughter.” And let me tell you, that is humbling.
When we’re walking with God, seasons of waiting aren’t as easily overcome as the American way of going out and making things happen for yourself. You might think you’ve found the perfect job to apply for, but God says, “not this one” when they decide to go with someone else. You might think you’ve found the perfect house to put an offer in on, but God says, “not that one” when that offer is rejected. You might be struggling with finances, wondering when you are going to finally catch up on everything, and God tells you to keep holding on. You might think, “I’ll just do this my way so I can get where I’m going quicker,” and from personal experience, God is usually super quiet on this one. You might be feeling like you’ve been praying for the Lord to move in your life – for Him to, at the very least, show you that He’s working on your behalf; still, you see nothing. But hold on, can I remind us of “faith”?
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV)
Can I also remind us of Moses and Joshua? Moses wandered 40 years in the desert after God instructed him to lead His people out of Egypt. Joshua led a march around the walls that protected the City of Jericho for seven days following God’s instruction. For 40 years, Moses waited on the Lord, relying on Him to provide for His people – and He did. For seven days, Joshua followed the Lord’s commands to take the City of Jericho – and He did. Neither Moses nor Joshua actually saw the Lord working during those times of waiting – but He did.
If you think you’re alone in the waiting, you most certainly are not. Some of God’s beloved chosen people waited decades. Some of God’s beloved chosen people are still waiting. Make no mistake that He is, indeed, in the waiting.
I’ve been told many times that it’s not so much the destination that matters, but it’s how we get there. The journey we choose to walk with God is what matters. What He does in you and through you is of greater significance to Him. It doesn’t matter that you actually end up wherever you’re going. In the waiting, God is doing something inside you that you cannot always see. He is reshaping your heart to become a reflection of His own. He is training your spirit to stop relying on self and to start relying on Him. He is conditioning your whole being to run with Him.
…and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2 (NKJV)
- Where are you today – a desert, marching around and around, or are you already running the race set before you?
- What do you believe you have to do to become fully immersed in the waiting with God?
Father God, we acknowledge that You are in the waiting. We know You are working on our behalf and that You have great things for us. You take care of us, even when we don’t see it. Let our hearts continue to be reshaped by You. Train and condition us to run the race set before us with patience and trust in You and You alone, Father. In Your son, Jesus’ name – Amen.
PC3 writer Sarah Leitner wrote today’s devotional.
At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. Matthew 25: 1–10
Are you waiting for something that seems like it’s taking forever?
How are you handling the wait?
What are you doing in the wait?
And have you ever thought of what you will actually do if and when that thing actually happens? When that moment arrives? When that person enters your life? When that dream happens? When that job offer comes?
Are you prepared?
The “Parable of the Ten Virgins” reminds us of the importance of being ready when that thing we are dreaming about actually happens. And it convicts me of my behavior these past few months.
You see, I dream of writing books, and I’ve actually had some recent interest in my ideas. I’m also a freelance editor, and I’ve spent a number of years encouraging other writers to be patient and not give up during the journey toward publication—to keep on submitting, that numerous rejections are common, and to keep on building “platform” (blogging, pitching articles, Instagramming, etc.).
Yet here I am after the quiet of ONE agent submission to the book I feel God calling me to write, and I’ve folded. I’ve given into feelings of rejection and have just about stopped writing these past few months. I spend time scrolling through other writers’ Instagram feeds and feeling quite bad about myself.
I let my oil almost burn out.
But God. He uses His word—His stories—and whatever is available and happening in our lives to speak to us if we will listen.
He is speaking to me now through the “night” to keep making preparations—to keep my oil jar filled. In this case, it could mean returning to the Tuesday morning writers’ chats that fuel my creative fire, preparing a proposal to the other two agents and one editor who expressed interest, starting that Facebook page I’ve been thinking about for months—THE GROOM IS COMING. God birthed this book idea. The dream will be fulfilled. This just might not be the door-opener—the “groom” for my manuscript, per say. Or, maybe it is, and it just isn’t time yet. (I haven’t yet received an official rejection.) And will I be ready for it? How am I preparing not only in practical ways but also spiritual ways? Am I spending time in study with the Lord? Am I letting Him use this time to build character and strength and confidence?
While I realize I may be taking great liberties with this biblical passage, it spoke to me in a personal way, a way others may also relate to.
Is there an area of your life taking too long between the anointing and the appointing (as Danny Rogers so awesomely illustrated in his sermon this past Sunday)? David was anointed king as a youth, but it took YEARS for him to be appointed king. How can you wait with purpose? How can you prepare in the time between the anointing and the appointing?
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14
- Is there something in your life you are waiting for? Preparing for? Called to do? How can you wait “well” and not grow discouraged? What can you do to make sure you are ready when the “bridegroom” arrives?
- How can you keep the “oil jar filled” in those times of waiting?
Father God, help us to keep hope when the waiting is taking longer than we had expected. Help us to be patient and keep our lamps of hope, joy, and expectation burning steady as we wait for your promises for our life. Help us to prepare well in the wait. Show us step by step the practical and spiritual ways we can wait well—with purpose and intention and expectation—and help us hear your voice, Lord.
PC3 writer Andrea Barilla wrote today’s devotional.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion, therefore I will wait for him.” The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. Lamentations 3:24-26
I’m not one for sitting around. Being a mama, I’m always anticipating the needs of my children. Mama, I need a Band-Aid or Mama, I need some more milk or Mama, I need you to tie my shoe. Staying on the move has become the norm. Even in my waiting, I’m moving. While standing in line at the grocery store, I sway back and forth. While sitting at the doctor’s office, I tap my feet.
Are my movements speeding up the cosmic forces of the universe, causing my turn to come any sooner? Of course not, yet I find the actions comforting.
I realize now that my actions are a way for me to try and control the situation. I’ve done this not only in the practical areas of life but spiritual areas as well.
Waiting can be frustrating because we feel like we have no say or control of the process in which we advance. We want things to move forward, and when they don’t, we’re tempted to take matters into our own hands. But when we do this, we’re relying on our strength instead of God’s.
As we learned Sunday, God will sometimes put our lives on hold, so we can learn to hold on to Him. God doesn’t want us exhausting ourselves, trying to make things happen. He wants us to be still and know that He is God.
This doesn’t mean we check-out, but rather lean into the ways of the Lord. Oswald Chambers wrote, “Waiting is not sitting with folded hands doing nothing, but learning to do what we are told.” Seek God in the waiting. As we hunger for answers, we will be satisfied in His presence.
- Do you find yourself trying to speed up the waiting process? If so, how does that leave you feeling?
- Is the Lord your portion? In other words, are you delighting yourself in communion with God, or are you focused on feeling stuck?
Heavenly Father, when we try to hurry things along, remind us that we are working from our own strength, leaving us feeling exhausted. When we relinquish control, we are allowing You to work in the wait. May we seek you and find you, become our portion so we are satisfied by You alone. In Your name, Amen.
PC3 writer Mandy Hughes wrote today’s devotional.
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.”
This might shock you, but I’m a horrible dancer. God has gifted me in many different ways, but He’s humbled me by giving me two left feet. It is safe to say that my spiritual gift isn’t rhythm or the ability to keep a beat.
It’s a good thing YouTube and cell phone cameras weren’t created when I was a teenager. This saved me from the embarrassment of my renditions of the Chicken Dance at prom being captured on tape for all the world to see.
A misstep on the dance floor might result in a few shocked looks or, at worse, stepping on someone’s toes. Yet, in our quest for growth and experiencing a full life, our souls being out of sync causes us to lose sight of how God changes the human heart.
In turn, we speed up our steps and become the one responsible for the transformation. Prayers suddenly become demands and not humble requests. Human effort quickly replaces a reliance on the Holy Spirit.
When the change doesn’t come or we meet resistance, we eventually stop moving, and let the song come to an end. We fool ourselves into believing that “this is just the way I am.”
It is true that our natural inclination is to resist change, but this doesn’t mean growth is a lost cause. Having been made for God and by God, we are designed to reflect His love. Every day we are either growing into what we are made to be or shrinking from it.
So, how do we gain rhythm and keep in step with the Holy Spirit moving in our lives? The search for true change begins and ends with God.
Today we want you to begin praying for your heart and soul and aligning them with what the Bible says they need in order to be transformed.
Pray that your soul will be inclined and receptive towards drawing close to God through the reading of His Word.
Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever! Deuteronomy 5:29
In the midst of reading God’s Word, pray that your eyes will be opened and enlightened to the truths found within. Ask that your limited perspective will collide with God’s reality.
Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law. Psalm 119:18
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you. Ephesians 1:18
This encounter will cause disruption and expose areas of your heart and soul that remain in the darkness. Pray that you will have the courage to bring these places into the light so you can walk with an undivided heart.
Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. Psalm 86:11
Growth doesn’t happen over night. It is a life-long journey. Pray for the strength and endurance needed to stay engaged in the process of your heart beginning to reflect God’s.
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. Colossians 1:9-12
In the midst of the journey, we can be lured away and look to lesser things to find momentary fulfillment. We are quick to settle for cheap imitations. Pray that you will be satisfied with God and know that He is enough.
You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. Psalm 145:16
Your transformation has ramifications on others. Pray that your life will glorify God and point a lost and hurting world towards Him.
We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thessalonians 1:12
- Of the prayers mentioned above, which is the most difficult and challenging for you to pray and why?
God, teach me how to pray in a way that remembers You are the one who guides my step. Instead of relying on my own effort, may I be reminded that it is You who works in me. Open my eyes to see how You are working in my life. Transform my desires. Allow my soul to be satisfied in knowing I am covered by grace. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.