Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
During this past summer working as a media intern at camp, I learned a lot of important life lessons. One of them was learning to wait. My job required a lot of waiting throughout the summer, more than most of the other staff positions, I would think–many times that looked like me just sitting and doing nothing while technology (hopefully) did its thing.
Now that I’m home, I’m once again enduring a lot of waiting, albeit in a much different aspect of my life. The kind of waiting in which I am trying to patiently figure out what God is working on during this seemingly slow period I’m living in right now.
I don’t know about you, but waiting, in any context, really feels like a waste of time to me. I would much rather be busy trying to make something happen than having to hold back and watch it happen. Even if I’m not really accomplishing anything by my activity, I’d just rather be doing something than nothing.
But there’s the catch. Is waiting really doing nothing? I think we have it pretty strongly ingrained in our minds that waiting means that we are accomplishing nothing, and it certainly feels like that often. But from God’s perspective, waiting can actually be full of meaning and accomplishment. When we learn to wait patiently for the Lord to act, we are learning trust. We are learning to trust God fully, and in that trust, God also imparts his peace, joy, and confidence to us.
Waiting is a tremendous opportunity for us to focus on our spiritual growth and development. I know from personal experience that usually it’s during the externally-quiet periods in life that we have the ability to get the most work done internally. Without the pressure and distractions in our minds that a busy and full lifestyle often brings, we actually have the freedom to put our entire focus on drawing closer to God and developing our relationship with Him. When we draw near to God, He is right there drawing near to us as well (James 4:8).
And during those times, God is anything but inactive. He does a lot of it in the background, but it’s during those slow periods and the times of waiting on our parts that God is accomplishing His greatest works in our lives and for our good. Once the time comes in God’s timeline for His perfect plans to manifest to us, we will see just how perfect God’s sovereign will is and our faith will be built higher and higher as we experience His faithfulness.
When we finally learn to step back and let God have control of our lives instead of vainly striving and pushing to get things done, it’s then that God can set His greatest plans in motion. The valleys and ruts in our lives are anything but a waste of time in His eyes.
Satan wants you to think that those phases of inaction and apparent unproductivity on your part are worthless, wasted periods of time; but God knows what He’s doing, and He is making sure that your patient waiting is taking place for a purpose.
Meanwhile, you don’t have to just sit and do nothing. Waiting for the Lord may mean that you can’t yet get started on the big things in life, like your hopes and dreams for the future, until each piece of the puzzle is perfectly in place for you to move forward; but as far as simply living your day-to-day life is concerned, God has made it very clear what He wants you to do, and as you focus on obeying him in the little things, He will begin working out the big things for you.
The Bible is full of verses speaking to how we should live and the ultimate purpose of humankind here on earth, but I’ll list just a few of them–
- Matthew 22:37-39: “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”
- Micah 6:8: “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
- 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22: “We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.”
- 2 Peter 1:3-8: “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
This is just a glimpse of what living in the Spirit is all about. Everything you do for every day of your life should ultimately point back to the real reason you are even on the earth: To know God more fully and intimately, and to make Him known to the rest of the world.
So, whatever you may be waiting and looking for right now–the perfect job or career; the right man or woman; the time when you’ve saved enough money for college or to get married and start a family; knowing you need to move on to that next stage in your life but not having any idea where to begin–don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t look like you’re anywhere near your end goal. Because God knows and sees all of time and He will bring you into that fulfilled and abundant life full of everything you ever dreamed of, but only if you stand strong in him and don’t quit.
Going back to a point I made in my previous post, it sometimes takes a while for the good fruit to show up from your actions, especially if you have been making wrong choices before this point. So as Galatians 6:9 says, “…let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”