Why Wait? – Waiting and “Waiting on God”

WAITING – can be as mundane as waiting for the line to move, for the traffic to untangle, for the light to turn green; or as tension filled as waiting for a phone call, for the pregnancy report, for the diagnosis, for wellness, for a job; or as poignant and anticipatory as waiting for someone to come home, for the war to be over, for God to make the next step clear.

Even in this moment the idea of waiting calls up all kinds of memories and images. Who of us has not waited? It is part of the human experience and some of us weather waiting better than others. We are hard wired to keep moving. We are conditioned by “instant”, faster, being more “productive”. We want to move ahead with our plans, our agenda. We don’t like to wait or to be kept waiting.

The curious thing to consider is how much waiting seems to be a part of what God asks of his children – both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament. Biblical waiting has to do with hope, expectation, patience, rest and deep trust and dependence on God and His sovereign path. Waiting as a paradigm is actually designed to help us and give us an alternative way to handle difficulties. Instead of all out panic, God wants us to trust Him, to rest in Him and to wait for Him. He does not disappoint.
In both the Old and New Testaments the word wait connotes to watch for, to expect and to be confident that God will show Himself strong on behalf of believers to judge evil and to honor righteousness. To wait is synonymous with depend and rely on, to trust and to worship. God is in charge and He will write the last chapter and in the meantime He invites us to wait with Him and for Him.

It is active, not passive and is part of the calling of a believer to wait for God’s timing and for His instructions. He asks His beloved children to trust Him enough to be willing to quietly wait. And then, for example, in the exact right time –in the fullness of time (Galatians 4:4-5), God delivers what He has Promised. God became man and invaded the very creation He created.

Simeon, a righteous and devout man, whom God told to wait, did and was rewarded by actually seeing and holding the promised Messiah and delivering a message to Mary and Joseph (Luke 2:25-35). Jesus instructed the disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the gift of the Holy Spirit whom His Father promised (Acts 1:4). James (James 5:7-8) instructs the believers to be patient regarding the Lord’s return using the metaphor of a farmer’s waiting for the land to yield its valuable crops.

There is a natural waiting period. You cannot rush God. This biblical metaphor of farming illustrates that waiting is necessary in God’s economy to produce what He has designed – the farmer has to be patient for the seed to germinate. Abraham and Sarah had to wait for what God promised, and when it was announced, they still had to wait nine months for the baby inside of Sarah to grow.

There is something important about “waiting on the Lord.”
    Psalm 27:14 “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”
    Psalm 62:1 “For God alone I patiently wait; He is the one who delivers me.”
    Psalm 62:5 “Patiently wait for God alone, my soul! For he is the one who gives me confidence.”
    Proverbs 8:34 “Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching at my doors day by day, waiting at  the posts of my doorway.”
    Lamentations 3:26 “It is good to wait patiently for deliverance to come from the Lord."

There is something important about “waiting eagerly”. Creation, subjected to futility, eagerly waits to be set free from the bondage of decay into glorious freedom of God’s children who also eagerly wait our adoption and the redemption of our bodies (Romans 8:18-25). “By faith we, believers, eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope.”(Galatians 5:5). We eagerly wait for the return of Christ (Philippians 3:20;Hebrews 9:28).

In the waiting – it is a place to address questions that we stuff in the hurry of the adrenalin rush of busyness. Having to wait forces us into a space of time that can quiet the soul and give us a chance to breathe. It can be a place to actively practice the spiritual discipline of patience. Waiting is a gift from God.

Waiting can be a soul forming experience not easy but definitely beneficial because of the way God designed it.

Isaiah  40:31 "But those who wait for the Lord's help find renewed strength; they rise up as if they had eagle's wings, they run without getting weary, they walk without getting tired."

Consider waiting.

Gail Seidel served as Mentor Advisor for Spiritual Formation in the Department of Spiritual Formation and Leadership at Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) and as an Adjunct Professor in the D Min in Spiritual Formation in the D Min Department at Dallas Theological Seminary. She has a BA in English from the University of Texas, a Masters in Christian Education from Dallas Seminary and a D Min in Spiritual Formation from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. She is a contributor to the textbook, Foundations of Spiritual Formation, Kregel Academic. She served as co-director for Christian Women in Partnership Russia with Entrust, an international church leadership-training mission. She and her husband Andy live in Fredericksburg, Texas. They have 2 married children and 6 wonderful grandchildren--Kami, Kourtney, Katie, Mallory, Grayson, and Avery.


  • Gwynne Johnson

    Great thoughts

    Wonder why I resist it so…love the idea that waiting is a "gift."

  • Gail Seidel

    Resisting the concept of waiting

    Do you think it is because we still think we are in charge? I forget that waiting is a gfit and needs to be applauded as that…I still don't like to wait in traffic.