Are you waiting on something? Are you waiting for a prayer to be answered? Are you waiting for God to step in? Have you been praying and praying to no avail? The answer is most likely yes; most of us are waiting for at least one thing in our lives to happen or improve. Waiting for a promotion at work, for a relationship to be healed, for a disease to be cured, for a house to sell, for the right person to come along, to get married, to have a baby…the waiting list goes on and on and on.
Waiting is difficult because we usually want instant gratification. We humans are typically an impatient bunch! We want what we want, and we want it now. It’s not easy to be patient and it’s certainly not easy to trust while we are waiting.
As I consider this, two questions come to mind when I think of waiting on something to happen-
1. How are we waiting?
2. Are we waiting with awareness?
Let’s start with the first question- how are we waiting?? Are we waiting with frustration? It’s easy to become frustrated and feel like God has forgotten us. We can even feel angry about our circumstances.
Are we waiting with jealousy and envy? Sometimes our hearts and minds can become full of envy as we look at everyone else who seem to have it all, who seem to get everything they want with little or effort whatsoever. Oh yes, this is a quite an easy place for our hearts to set up camp.
Or, are we waiting with worry, anxiety and fear? Are we constantly anticipating what might not happen or even worse, anticipating what could happen and go terribly wrong? Are we falling into the trap of our own overactive and chaotic mind? It’s an easy one to fall into…
And let’s face it, while we wait, it’s often easy to fall into the trap of self-pity. We can start to feel sorry for ourselves that we are in the situation we are in and that it’s taking so long to improve. From personal experience, I have found that self-pity does nothing but skew my perspective. It never benefits me in any way, no matter how bad my situation may be.
And then there is awareness…do we have it while we wait? By this I mean, are we so focused on the big request being answered that we become blind to what is going on all around us in the meantime? It’s like taking a long road trip cross country and not taking in any of the amazing scenery along the way. We would miss so much. The same is true if you don’t take in what you’re seeing and experiencing in your journey of waiting…you’ll miss so much.
I have found that it’s often in this waiting game that God is working to build our character. He wants to increase our faith. He wants us to become stronger and more resilient. He wants us to trust Him more. He wants us to learn important lessons we could not learn any other way. He wants to let us feel the fire so we can develop empathy for others who are also waiting and struggling. There is a reason for the wait and you can rest assure, the reason is highly purposeful.
The waiting if we allow it to, molds us and shapes us into the person we are meant to become. It can also cause us to realize we can trust God completely with everything in our life. Delay does not mean denial. Delay means, “Not yet child, you’re not quite ready.”
The best and most simple analogy of this was one I heard years ago. It was this- you wouldn’t let your 8-year-old go out, start the car up and drive across town right? You wouldn’t even let your 13-year-old do this…even if they begged you. Yet, when the time comes, and when they are finally at the right age and have matured, you’ll hand them the keys and let them drive away.
It’s the same with God. We ask for things, but He knows we are not ready yet. We are not mature or ripened enough to receive it. He makes us wait not because He wants to withhold, but because He loves and knows best.
And then there is the really tough part…when God chooses not to answer our request- when things do not go the way we have asked. This topic deserves an entire post of its own. It’s just plain hard when a prayer doesn’t get answered…there is no way around it. When you pray for someone to heal, and they don’t. When you pray to have a baby and you never do. When you pray for a relationship to heal, and it doesn’t. Sometimes, despite our best efforts to trust and pray, God will choose another way, and in these times all we can do is simply trust. Trust that His ways are not our ways.
Trust me when I say, I get it- this one is dang hard. The only thing I can say here is I know how you feel…I’ve experienced unanswered prayers too. Sometimes we are working to trust and let go for a very long time. Sometimes it’s a very long work in progress and that is okay.
So as you wait, I encourage you to wait with awareness and peace. Take notice of the small wins of each day and each week. It’s like hiking in the woods and coming to a wide creek or stream. The only way to get to the other side and continue your hike, is to take small steps across the rocks within the creek. With each step you will get closer and closer to reaching the other side, and finally, you’ll get to the other side.
This is life. Look for the steppingstones. Learn along the way. Be aware that with each step, you’re growing as a human being. You’re become better and stronger than before. And most of all, remember God is stepping right along with you.