We’ve all had to wait.
Wait in line for a package, for test results. Waiting isn’t fun.
We are impatient people.
We want instant turn-around. And those are just small things. It becomes even harder when you’re waiting for something of greater significance. Perhaps it’s waiting for future plans, a legal matter, or for a pandemic to end!
Right now our family is in a waiting period. We are a pastor’s family in between churches; something we never anticipated happening. We have no idea what is coming next for us. We are just living in the “in between”.
In the summer of 2002, right before he was supposed to start college, my husband felt the call on his life to preach the Word and shepherd a flock. In 2009, he was ordained into the pastoral ministry by the church we were attending. Since then he has been on staff (sometimes the only staff) at five different churches, and we have made four major moves.
At each church we’ve served, we have always said we were in it for the long haul—and we meant it. We don’t view pastoral ministry or churches as stepping stones to go on to the next bigger, better thing. When we go to a church, we are committed to be there for life. We never have any other plans. But the Lord does.
He continually shows us that where we go and how long we stay is not up to us.
So here we are: a new town, a new home, and a new, non-church related job for my husband. I survey my surroundings and wonder, “Why am I here, Lord?” Not out of anger or frustration or depression (although I have had those moments), but simply because I do not understand.
I don’t know why the Lord picked here. All I know is that the way to every other avenue we tried was shut. I don’t know how long we will be here. I’m hesitant to even unpack boxes or hang things on the walls because we could have to move again in a matter of months. Then again, it could be years. We just have no way of knowing. None of this makes any sense to us.
But it does to the Lord.
Perhaps you are in a similar period of waiting for God’s direction in your life. Maybe the plans you had made—well, aren’t going according to plan. Maybe you’re tired of waiting—or just plain exhausted.
I think of those waiting for a house to buy or sell so they can start the next chapter in their lives.
I think of those who are waiting for a job so they can provide for their family.
I think of the person remaining faithful in their singleness as they seek a godly spouse.
My heart goes out to those who have waited months or years for their adoption to be finalized.
I hurt for those who are waiting for a serious illness to be healed, or for the one waiting for the inevitable outcome of a loved one on hospice.
When a matter is out of our hands it can leave us feeling powerless. . . . helpless . . . hopeless. While we are ultimately not in control, we know the One who is, and there are some things we can do while we wait.
We can continue to:
- Trust that God sovereignly ordains everything that happens in our lives and that he knows best.
“Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” (Psalm 139:16)
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9)
2. Trust that God’s plans for us are for our good because he loves us.
“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.” (Genesis 50:20a)
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
“For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.” (Isaiah 54:10)
3. Work faithfully and joyfully at the things God has given us to do.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” (Colossians 3:23)
4. Rejoice and give thanks.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
“I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” (Psalm 34:1)
5. Seek the Lord.
“I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.” (Psalm 34:4-5)
“You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, LORD, do I seek.” (Psalm 27:8)
6. Be satisfied by God’s love.
“Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.” (Psalm 63:3)
7. Hope in God’s Word.
“I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope.” (Psalm 130:5)
In the thirty-first Psalm, David encourages those who are waiting with these words: “Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD!” (Psalm 31:24).
But how can he say this, especially after he has just said there are people plotting to take his life? David could say this because he knew the God he waited on was trustworthy and had “[his] times in [His] hand” (Psalm 31:14-15). This gave David confidence instead of fear.
And we can have that same hope. The Creator and Lord of time, who looks at a thousand years as if they were yesterday, is also the author of our lives; the one who lovingly and purposefully adds the dashes and semicolons to our narrative.
The Bible promises that God is good to those who wait for him and to the soul who seeks him (Lamentations 3:25).
The exhaustion that would normally come to those who have even the greatest stamina shall not be so for those who wait on the Lord; God will give us the same strength that he has:
For “have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.
“Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but 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” (Isaiah 40:28-31, emphasis added).
Therefore, our hearts can be glad and take courage as we patiently wait for God.