Winning the waiting game


The other evening, a few of us were sitting around our dining room table trading airport horror stories. They all revolved around one thing: waiting.

I hate waiting.

If there is a Bible verse that rubs me the wrong way, it’s this one: “Wait patiently for him” (Psalm 37:7).

This year it seems to me that I have been waiting for something most of the time. I vented my complaints to God with no tangible results.

At some point, it occurred to me that maybe God had a good reason for what he was doing. The problem might not be with God, but with me. In that case, it might work better for me to thank God for whatever it was he was doing while I was waiting, even if I didn’t know what it was and wasn’t happy about it.

There are actually good reasons God wants us to learn to wait. Here are three of them:

1. We rush into way too many wrong decisions because we are too impatient to spend the time making a careful evaluation. Why do you think supermarkets place all the wrong kind of items right at the check-out? When you have no time to analyze, you jump without thinking to fill a need you don’t really have. Waiting changes what we are asking for. It allows the Lord to adjust our will to fit with his will. And when that happens, it releases the purpose of God for our lives.

2. God’s plan for our lives involves many other people and circumstances. I don’t know why people can’t figure this out. We think the entire world revolves around us. But just as other things in life involve all sorts of factors outside our control, so also does God’s plan. You want a husband or wife. But what if the one God has in mind is in another country and way too young right now? That’s not hypothetical -- it was Elaine and I. It’s just as well I waited! If life is a big jigsaw puzzle, God has the capacity to bring all the pieces together in such a way that it enables what he wants for our lives. But it takes time to do that, even for God. His role is to make it happen. Our role is to wait. Waiting changes our circumstances.

3. Waiting, more than almost anything else, draws us into the presence of God. As we become more and desperate for what we are seeking, we turn to the Lord for help. If all waiting does is deepen our walk with the Lord, it’s worth it. Waiting changes us.

So out of all this, one thing becomes clear: waiting is one of the most important activities we can undertake. Waiting is an action which will change things for the better more than almost anything else you can do.

Waiting does not make you powerless. It is probably one of the most important ways you can bring about change. Why? Because you give up trying to make things happen quickly and let God make things happen properly.

I opened with one verse on waiting, and I’ll close with another:

“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 40:31).

This verse proves one thing: waiting works.

Try it. Wait a while and you’ll see what I mean!