I am an intense multi-tasker, with an overactive sense of responsibility. I get a rather sick thrill from seeing how much I can accomplish in 24-hours. I am a doer. As a little girl, I frequently annoyed everyone around me with impatient foot tapping anytime I was forced to wait. My mother used to tell me, “Patience is a virtue.” And I would retort, “Yeah – a virtue I don’t have!” Bad attitude, I know, but very true reflection of my lack of patience. Even now, as an adult, any situation where I have to be patient and do nothing is pure agony. Which makes my current time of waiting particularly painful. But whether you are a crazy doer like me or are blessed with a more laid back personality, none of us enjoy the unknown.
At some point, every believer is faced with a time of waiting. Something happens – an illness, a lost job, a change on the horizon, an end to a relationship, an unexpected expense – and the future is suddenly unclear. We panic, because the future we thought we knew is suddenly gone. Trapped between what was and what is to come, there is nothing to do nothing but wait.
The purpose of waiting is Jesus.
In times of waiting… my natural inclination is to think, wonder, worry, and fret… about my future and my present. Did I do something wrong? Am I being punished? Did I take a wrong turn? What is next for me? Am I not listening hard enough?
These questions echo in the deafening silence of waiting. There is no lightening strike of direction. There is no resonating voice from heaven. There is no Scripture jumping off the page to indicate the next step. There is only silence and the battle taking place in my heart. To worry or to trust?
Worry causes us to seek God for the answers he can provide, rather than for God himself. A.W. Tozer says, “Many come short, being satisfied with the works of God rather than hungering for and reaching on to God Himself.” The point of waiting is Jesus Christ himself. With nowhere to go and nothing to do, all that is left is to fall to our knees and raise our arms to heaven. David says, “To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me. Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame… Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.” Psalm 25:1-5 Times of waiting are about Jesus. When your waiting is about a relationship, then your waiting will always be fruitful.
The point of waiting is the relationship.
In times of waiting, the movement of our whole world shifts from horizontal to vertical. There is nothing happening in our current situation, so we are forced to look up. Trapped in the black hole of waiting, our time is spent looking up at the light of Jesus rather than the directionless darkness around us.
Like David in the Psalms, it’s not that we are living in denial. It’s not that we don’t pray for an answer. It’s not that we aren’t burdened with the weight of the problem. No, it is that in spite of current circumstances, we still praise God. In the midst of uncertainty, our focus is worshipping God. Psalm 62 David says, “For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken… For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.” God gets the most glory when, as we pray for ourselves, we get so caught up in his greatness, that we spend the majority of our time with him, talking about him – not our issues.
Waiting is not doing nothing – it is a time to build your relationship with your Savior. It is a time to give your Creator the worship he is due in circumstances that make no sense to the world. Worship in a time of waiting results in a powerful witness to a lost world.
The work of waiting is worship.
The primary purpose of waiting… is not to test you. It is not to try your patience. It is not because God is busy with more important requests. It is not because he isn’t listening. God is already at work handling your problems, your future. He’s got this. The primary purpose of waiting is worship.
Waiting is God putting you in a place of unhindered, undistracted and unescapable time with Him. Give him all of your worries and concerns and just be with him. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7 There will be plenty of time to “do” things in the days and weeks to come. Now is the time to be with your Savior, who loves you.
Waiting is a time spent on your knees, arms lifted high in worship, gazing into glory. If you are spending your waiting asking how, why, when, what, or any other choice four-letter words… it is not worship. It is worry. Waiting in the flesh leads to worry, but waiting in the spirit leads to worship. David explains, “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands… for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.” Psalm 63:1-8
God is already at work on your next step – in a way that will blow your mind, strengthen your relationship, expand his kingdom, and bring him glory. Your work in this time of waiting is Jesus. Praising Him. Loving him. Serving him. Knowing him. Obeying him. Worshipping him.
In times of waiting, our hearts don’t need to fear, nor our minds worry. It is true that we don’t know the future and we cannot demand an answer. But it is also true that we know our Savior and He is good. And the purpose of waiting is Jesus, the point of waiting is the relationship, and the work of waiting is worship. “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” Psalm 27:14