Waiting . . . Waiting . . . Waiting
Waiting on God can be difficult in this era of microwaves and instant messaging. Sometimes it seems like I am in one long line, awaiting my turn for God’s attention. I realize this is not how God works, but it is the way I often feel. I watch others get what they ask for; I see God do great things in their lives; but I continue to wait for his hand to move in numerous situations. When God’s silence lingers, I want to say, “Are you even listening to me?”
Such thoughts reveal my lack of faith. I am much like the nation of Israel as it marched through the desert toward the land that God had promised them. When they faced hunger and thirst, they forgot all the miraculous acts he had already performed. Instead of turning to God to meet their needs, they murmured and complained–over and over and over!
Rather than accuse God of turning a deaf ear to my pleas, I should trust his love and care. When faced with his silences, I need to remember the untold numbers of times that he has proven his faithfulness to me. I must believe that he is working in my circumstances, even when I cannot see what he is doing. “Faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we cannot see” (Heb. 11:1). I know these things intellectually, but I don’t always feel them emotionally. As a result, I get restless and weary and fail to enjoy the peace that passes all understanding, which comes from God alone.
Recently God has been silent about many of my concerns, forcing me to learn to wait. Only by spending much time with him in my own silence do I enjoy peace and contentment. The place of solitude is where he imparts faith and wisdom for the journey, reminding me of his power and faithfulness. In the absence of busyness and noise I am able to experience his presence and trust that his unseen hand is moving in my situations. I still deal with impatience, but now I know a better way to handle it—sitting still and quiet in the arms of our almighty and loving God.
What have you learned in the midst of God’s silences?
Thank you for this
Thank you for this encouragement. We are also waiting and trusting God that His plan will prove bigger and better than anything we could imagine. I "know" that he has provided for us in big ways but I also need to remind my heart as I try, daily, to rest in Him.
It is a daily exercise in trust. Thanks for your words.
Thank you for the reminder to spend my time more wisely – while I'm waiting for God to 'do His thing'.
.I can relate well to your post. My challenge is that I also KNOW that God is all that we say He is. I grew up going to church everytime it was open..and often more than that, so knowledge isn't the problem.
For me, the most difficult thing is for me to truly believe…rather than just know. The trip from our minds – to our hearts is often a long one it seems. God tells us to 'be still and know that I am God'. If we didn't need to wait, and pray, and build our relationship with Christ, we may run the risk of never really KNOWING God.
Along with working on our own patience, and perhaps even more so, connecting at a deeper level with God while we wait, this is a perfect time to connect with our sisters. They can encourage us while we wait but also we can use this opportunity to encourage them in what they are going through.
I think just maybe the time spent waiting may take on an entirely new meaning if we can see the positive side of it!
Wisdom of community
Thanks for sharing your own challenges while waiting on God. I am particularly grateful for your wise words about the value of Christian community supporting us, and giving us opportunities to minister to others during such times!
But are we called to wait?
I agree with many things and have enjoyed reading what you have written and the comments to fallow. Though, I do have some food for thought.
For many years in my relationship with Christ I struggled greatly on this issue. Not as much on actually waiting but on believing that I needed to wait.
I was extremely concerned through many times of decision making that I was going to somehow make the wrong decision and somehow mess of God's will in my live. I would become extremely stressed because I didn’t want to stray from where God wanted me to go or what He wanted me to do but now I feel that this was foolish. There is no way that I could mess up the Will of the Almighty God.
I had fallen into the view held in modern Christianity that God would give me some sign or feeling in my heart about the decisions that I should make but I have found that this is not the way in which we are called to make decisions.
It is clear in scripture that God's plan or "will" will be done. We don't know how He does it but He uses all things for the benefit of those who believe. This does not mean that we should not seek God's will in our lives or take decisions lightly. God has made His will for our lives very clear and it is laid out for us to look at any time in scripture.
The way in which many Christians and I myself have looked at God's will to be is as if He is some form of cosmic "Easter rabbit" who hides His wisdom or desire for our lives in Easter eggs and we must hunt around to find out what he wants us to do but luckily this is not the case.
God's will, desire, and direction plans for how God desires us to live our lives is in scripture, unhidden. I feel that in scripture we see great examples of this. Paul knows that He is doing live as a disciple to the gentiles and He does not wait for God to say, "Ok Paul, you’re done here with the Thessalonians, now it’s time to head toward Corinth." No Paul knows that God's will -is that he preach the Gospel to the Gentiles and so when He enters a city he does the best he can and when he has done what he came to do he heads to the next city in order to continue his obedience to Christ. When Paul maybe making the wrong decision God has the power to intervene. Paul expresses in Romans 1:10 that He has tried to visit the Church of Rome but that He has been unsuccessful but that He prays that by the will of God He will become successful. This shows us that Paul has tried to visit Rome in the past but has been stopped. If it was God's "will" as we view it, then why would he have not been successful. This shows that Paul did not wait for God to tell him in some weird way that He should go to Rome but that Paul knew that the will of God is that Paul builds His church. So Paul was not acting outside of the will of God's plan, Paul was obedient and tried to do what is commanded of him in the Word. Yes, God stopped Him because He wanted to use Paul for something else at the time, this is my point.
Paul did not wait to actively perform God's Will as it is laid out in scripture, He used the knowledge and command's God has given us in the Word to find out what God wanted Him to do.
God has given us the ability to think and make decisions and He is an amazing Father, He teaches how we are to live so that we can make the decisions that line up with what He wants us to do. No good Father makes decisions for his child their entire life. Instead a good father equips his children.
Scripturally God lays out for us how we are to make decisions. We are to ask that God will give us his wisdom in decision making, (different than him making our decisions for us), we are to seek wise council, and obviously the council of God's word in the scriptures themselves- and then we are to make a decision and act! It is not said God is going to tell you what to do in any exact situation.
It has given my so much peace knowing that when a big decision needs to be made that I should pray for God's wisdom, seek the council of other Christians, and make the decision based on God's will in scripture as best I can.
And then when we refer to God's Will or plan for everything we know that His Almighty Will cannot be messed up, so we can take security in that when we do the best we can, even though we will mess up sometimes, God is bigger that our mistakes.
I’m sorry that this has been so long winded and I’m sure I missed some spelling and grammar mistakes. If your post was regarding a situation that you are stuck in or are not in any control of then I’m sorry if my response does not apply but I hope that it can give you some peace when it comes to making decisions.
What do you all think?
You are right–God Isn’t Playing Games
Cameron, thank you for your thoughtful response to the issue of God's sovereignty and our decisions. I love thought-provoking comments!
You are so right about God. He isn't playing some kind of hiding game with us about his will. Most often we know his will based on his word and his character. His greatest will is that we walk with him and look like Jesus as we proclaim him to others. We are to be bold followers of Christ, as Paul was, taking initiative to fulfill the mission he has for us and not worrying constantly about making a mistake. When we do all we can to pray and seek his will, we are to move forward, not waiting on some sign. Jesus called us to walk by faith and not seek signs, even with the best motives.
Your emphasis on balance as we make decisions is absolutely correct. We seek God's wisdom in his word and from his people and trust that God will make it clear if we move in the wrong direction. We don't sit still waiting for absolute clarity.
However, there are times when God has us wait because it's not a matter of failing to make a decision, but it's an issue of not being in control. Those are the kinds of situations to which I refer in this blog. God has me in the midst of a time of waiting on him to move, but where I can act, I do. One example comes from the book I am writing. I continue writing although I have no publisher. But I don't wait for a miraculous publisher to come along without my doing anything; I am doing what I can to actively seek a publisher. But I still must wait for God to work.
The same situation occurs with diagnoses of illnesses, where we act in accordance with the best advice of our doctors and yet wait to see if God will graciously heal. It is a time of both waiting and acting.
I am glad that you brought up the issue of decision-making because it is related to waiting. Thank you for taking the time to comment.
And I join you in asking for further comments.
In His Timing –
Kay – Thank you for referring us to this exchange from your personal blog- it is great reading your thought-provoking chains in both places!
I really appreciate your point about our waiting on the Lord not being decision-based, but a matter of who is in control. What I'd like to re-iterate is the timing issue of waiting. Although we may have come to a decision & know to where/what the Lord is leading us, His timing is not our timing, so waiting is necessary. Scriptural examples abound, especially where individuals failed to wait on the Lord and took matters in their own hands (this week my Bible Study group is in Gen 16 – Sarah & Hagar). Some other examples where individuals knew their calling yet had to wait on the Lord's timing include Moses (Ro 7:25), Joseph (his dreams in Gen 37:5-10), Simeon (Luke 2), and of course, Abraham (25 years(!) for Isaac). [Praying that the Lord does not keep you waiting 25 years on the book you are writing!]
Thank you for the reminder & challenge that faith is intimately related to waiting.
Thank you, Evelyn, for your encouragement and also for the great verses on waiting for God's will.
I added more thoughts about decision-making on my personal blog on 3-19, in case this caught your interest. I would love your thoughts either place.