Sometimes, it seems that life is dominated by the “wait.” It seems like we’re always waiting for something. Waiting to get married. Waiting to finish school. Waiting to head into ministry. Waiting for the building project to begin. Waiting for something. Life has a lot of waiting. And sometimes, waiting is hard.
Five Encouragements While You Wait
When NOT to wait
When shouldn’t we wait? Often “waiting” becomes an excuse for inactivity. This should not be. Don’t wait for those things that God wants you to accomplish right now. Do you want to start a non-profit, go to school, launch that church ministry, or begin that relationship? Go ahead and do it! We should only wait when it is clear—because of ethical, moral, or circumstantial impossibility—that we should not move on. If it is actually, indeed impossible to move forward, then you are left with waiting. Now what?
How to Wait
- Wait on the Lord. A quick search of Bible references about “waiting” brings up a ton of references. Look through them sometime. The majority of these references have to do with waiting on the Lord. What does it mean to wait on the Lord? It means, quite simply, to realize that He’s in control, and He will accomplish His will perfectly and lovingly. We must align our waiting with a confidence in God. Consider Isaiah 40:31: “They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” That’s encouraging—the realization that we’ll renew strength, fly like eagles, and not be weary—when we put it into the perspective of our waiting.
- Wait for the joy. Waiting is not usually considered a joyful activity. In fact, it’s pretty much the opposite. But what about when the waiting is over? That’s when the joy comes. The Scripture recognizes this. “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Psalm 30:5). Night is always followed by the morning. Always. God uses this indisputable fact of nature to show us a fact of life: joy will follow sorrow. Wait for it.
- Wait for the growth. Waiting times are growing times. In Hebrews, we read about the discipline of the moment. It’s painful. “But later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11). It’s encouraging that while we wait, we’re not just decaying, rotting, and wasting away. Waiting is not a waste. We’re growing. Growth comes through patient waiting. You will emerge from this period of waiting with true growth in righteousness.
- Wait for strength. Another encouragement during waiting is that it will bring courage and strength. David, an ancient king and able warrior, faced many difficult circumstances both as a national leader and as a military commander. He had to wait through some harrowing circumstances before he took the throne. He knew about painful waiting times. Yet he wrote, “Wait for the Lord; be strong; and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord” (Psalm 27:14). Waiting on the Lord brings strength and courage (31:24).
- Wait in hope. As you wait, it’s easy to become discouraged. You may lose your motivation to work. You may lose your motivation for joy. You may become discouraged. You may even lose sight of what you’re waiting for. It’s confusing. It’s agonizing. You want it to be over. You’re not the only one who has felt this way. What can you do? Hope. You need hope. “And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.” This is not some wispy pep talk kind of hope. This is rock-solid, genuine, 100%, not-from-concentrate kind of hope. This is God hope. Hope in God. This makes the wait endurable.
So, you’re still waiting. And you can probably expect to be waiting for a while. That’s okay. Waiting time is growing time. There is strength in waiting. There is joy on the other side. And there is hope through it all. Wait on the Lord.