God often uses our waiting on him as a crucible in which to refine our character in ways that nothing else can. He knows that waiting on him makes us stronger, not weaker. It’s a season of transformation—where he does a work on the inside of us. He changes us from the inside out for the better.
But who likes to wait right? I don’t like to wait. None of us like to wait—and the culture we live in makes waiting on God even more unbearable. We live in the day of fast and instant—and that conditions us to be intolerant of waiting. We find waiting to be a huge frustration.
For example, recently I was standing in line at Trader Joe’s, WAITING to pay for my groceries, and the person checking out the customers obviously was still in training. I wouldn’t say she was taking too terribly long, but by the way customers were treating her, you would have thought the people in front of me had been standing in line for hours. They were rolling their eyes, huffing and puffing, and constantly looking at their watches.
Why do we believe faster is always better? Why have we become a culture that believes getting what we want when we want it is normal? Or healthy? And that we have a right to be rude to others when we don’t get what we want as fast as we want?
Waiting is truly just a part of life—and something we should learn to do well. We wait to get married. We wait for the right career doors to open. We wait for relationships to be restored. So why not learn to wait on God?
I remember coaching a girl during her first year of college. She had been waiting on God to show her the next step she was to take. During one of our sessions, I realized she had grown increasingly discouraged. Halfway through our time together she looked up at me and said, “To be honest with you, I don’t really feel God is helping me. I don’t even think he’s listening.”
Because things didn’t happen when and how she thought they would, her assumption was that God was not listening or answering her prayer. Neither of those things was true. Because she wanted a certain thing at a certain time, and God didn’t come through in her timing, she came to the wrong conclusion about him.
Have you ever wondered if God even has a clue about what’s going on your life?
Have you ever doubted if God loved you?
Sure you have.
- God, will I ever get to that next level I would you have for my calling?
- God, will I ever meet that special person?
- God, will you ever open that door for me in my career?
- God, will my marriage ever turn around?
We all have situations in our lives where we are waiting on God in some way or another—and I realize waiting can be frustrating and confusing. But the truth is I don’t know anyone who has an authentically intimate relationship with God who doesn’t have a story of waiting on him.
There’s an undeniable relationship between waiting and being transformed—which is what’s happening on the inside of you while you’re waiting. During transformation you get stronger not weaker. It’s during that time that new things are being created in your life and within you.
In my own life, I’m learning more about not only believing in what God wants to do in my life, but also I’m learning about accepting his timing. And yes, it can be hard to do.
More than three years ago, God spoke strongly something to my heart about what he wanted to do in my life. It felt eminent. Like it would happen the next day. It didn’t happen the next day, the next year or two years after that. I’m still waiting. But what I found in this season of waiting is how I wait makes all the difference in my experience of life during this waiting period.
I discovered that I would have to get to a new level of trust if I was going to make it through this season. It’s so easy to think we can just stay in the same place spiritually that we were in our previous season, while we wait on God—but that never works.
In our season of waiting, God always wants to do something new inside of us. Right now, I can almost feel like you’re being squeezed and whatever’s in you the most is what’s coming out. That might be something good, and it might be something not so good, but you’re definitely going to grow. I liken it to what happens in a cocoon before the butterfly comes out. It can seem dark and confined. You can feel not completely sure what all is going on and it can feel disorienting. But something new is happening. A transformation is taking place. Before too long, outcomes the beautiful butterfly.
During those times we want what God has promised us, but we don’t necessarily want this cocoon to a butterfly process. We don’t like his process. It’s not comfortable, convenient or fast. But there’s always purpose to the process. Always.
I truly want to get to a place in my journey—and I believe I’m getting there—where I can enjoy not only the promises God has made to me, but also I can enjoy the process that God has me walking through. And during that time, I can learn to just be still. I can trust the process of God’s timing.
I’ve also learned to view it less as a time of passively sitting around until something happens, and more of a time as actively listening for God’s voice. More of a time of watching intently for evidence of his moving within me and in my life.
This verse in Isaiah paints a picture of what it looks like to actively wait on God.
“But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] Will gain new strength and renew their power; They will lift up their wings [and rise up close to God] like eagles [rising toward the sun]; They will run and not become weary, They will walk and not grow tired” (Isaiah 40:31, The Amplified Bible).
My prayer for you is that whatever you are waiting on God for, that you would know he affectionately cares about everything that you care about. He has heard your prayers and he has listened intently as you have talked with him. That you would also know, that he is working out the details of your life. He always knows what’s best for you and the perfect timing to bring it about. During this time, allow God to strengthen your heart, and draw you closer to him—where you can see what he sees and you can know what he knows.
Remember: There’s always a purpose in the process and your best life is still in front of you!