A few days ago, I had to mail some boxes of books from the post office. My grandson Charlie (9) came with me. He was a champ! He carried one of the heavy boxes, waited with me as I filled out customs forms (the boxes were headed out of the country), and stood by me as the postal clerks got the boxes completely ready to go. When we got back in the car, Charlie said, “Wow, Mimi, that took forever! I’m sure we were there for an hour!” I said, “I know dude! You deserve ice-cream. You were so patient.”
The chocolate ice cream was a well-deserved prize for Charlie’s patience. But you know what? Nine-year-olds aren’t the only ones who struggle with patience. Even as adults, most of us struggle with waiting! I mean, we live in a fast-paced, frantic, and frazzled world. If there are more than ten people in line at Starbucks, we leave; if we get stuck behind a slow car, we flash our lights; if we’re put on hold on the telephone, we hang up; if the express checkout at the grocery store is closed, we complain; if our flight is delayed, we hyperventilate!
Yet waiting is a core principle of our spiritual walks.
One of my favorite verses reads: “In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation” (Psalm 5:3). Waiting with expectation is different than waiting with agitation. Waiting with expectation is different than waiting with worry. So, what exactly does it look like to wait expectantly?
Waiting with a heart bowed in worship. When we’re waiting, we have a choice. We can become agitated and negative, or we can wait with positive anticipation for what God will do. The key is the posture of our hearts. When we worship and praise God–knowing that He is moving despite the fact that we cannot see Him moving–God is pleased, and our anxiety is calmed. So rather than shaking your fist at heaven, lift your hands in praise. It’s amazing how your attitude will shift.
Waiting with eyes turned toward heaven in hope. Author Eugene Peterson writes, “We wait for God to do what we cannot do for ourselves.” Waiting teaches us the discipline of trusting God for what only He can deliver. So often when we’re waiting the temptation is to take matters in our own hands. But if we do, we miss the greater blessing of seeing God step in and move on our behalf. God wants us to trust Him and to have faith that He has our best interests at heart. When we choose to praise Him while we wait, the Holy Spirit strengthens our faith.
Waiting with hand open, ready to receive instruction. Psalm 123:2 reads, “As the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a female slave look to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, till he shows us his mercy.” The Psalmist likely had servants who worked for Him. All he had to do was speak a word, and the servant would rush to obey. That’s the way we are to wait for God to move. We’re to keep our eyes focused on Him with our hands open, ready to receive whatever instructions He gives. While we wait for God to show us the next step, we must be sure that we are ready to obey whatever His instructions. Sometimes, people get in a tizzy over trying to discover what God’s will is. I think for most of us the bigger dilemma is setting our hearts on obedience. God will show us what’s next in His time and His way. The key question is: when He does, are you ready to obey?
Take a few moments this week and read through Psalm 37. Make a list of the keys for waiting well. I guarantee that at some point in your life, you’ll have to wait. But here’s the thing–God’s timing is always perfect!
I am home writing.
How you can pray:
Please pray as I write that God will fill me with wisdom and stories to meet my deadlines.