I hate waiting for two reasons.
First, the suspense often leaves me confused. Am I supposed to do something while waiting, or just sit it out until something happens? The other thing is the seeming waste of time. If only things would happen sooner, then I’d get to tick items off my to-do list and move on with my life.
Waiting is a lot like stretching a rubber band and not knowing when to stop pulling. All you can anticipate is one of two things: the inevitable snap of the band, or a shocking resilience as you pull the ends further away from each other.
In the time I was waiting for my promotion and also waiting to propose to my girlfriend, I began to think more about what it means to wait and persevere. While it seemed like nothing was happening, I realised that the time of waiting often presents an opportunity for an internal shift in perspective and in character.
Waiting well is worship
The Bible is full of examples of waiting. Abraham waited 25 years for a son. Jacob waited 14 years to marry his beloved. Joseph waited 13 years for his sufferings to be redeemed. And then there was Jesus, who waited 30 years before He began fulfilling His Father’s will, all the way to the cross!
These examples show us that God uses waiting as an opportunity for us to grow and deepen our faith in Him. On the outside, waiting can seem like we’re doing a lot of nothing. But on the inside, our minds, hearts, and entire beings are actively obeying God when we wait well—when our waiting pushes us to lean on Him even more, and to love Him by faithfully keeping to whatever He’s given us at the moment. Waiting on God involves giving up our desire for control, seeking instead His wisdom, trusting His timing.
For months, I’d been planning to propose to my girlfriend, but I needed time to prepare for it. I had to first get the blessings of our parents and mentors. Then, I had to also find a jeweller to get a unique engagement stone that my girlfriend would love. However, there wasn’t any commitment as to when the ring would arrive, and the jeweller had said to expect delays.
I wanted to get the stone in time for my proposal, which I had hoped to do on our third anniversary (and the day was approaching fast). At the same time, I was awaiting news about my promotion, which took weeks to confirm as the announcement kept being postponed.
While I was going through all of this, I was reading the book of Numbers, and the Lord encouraged me with the example of the Israelites. Even though they had experienced multiple setbacks in their journey to the Promised Land, they kept moving forward and did their part, taking claim of God’s covenant, which resulted in their eventual victory over the enemies.
While their circumstances were vastly different from mine, I took encouragement from seeing how the Lord continued to be with them even through the painful and defeating circumstances, and it is the same Lord who is with me today, and is leading me forward, just as He did with the Israelites.
So in my own way, I resolved to be faithful and keep moving forward by doing what I could. I followed up with both the jeweller and my boss for updates. When my manager told me that the final announcement would be made by our CEO in a few weeks’ time, I decided I’d wait patiently until then, while still carrying out my responsibilities diligently.
When in a situation that feels like it’s out of our control, we can ask ourselves the following questions:
- What are the things within my control? What is within my means to do, and how can I be faithful in doing these things?
- What are the things outside my control, and how can I pray and surrender them to God?
Remember God’s goodness in the past
All the waiting reminded me that I have been in similar situations before. Two years ago, I was waiting to be made a full-time employee at my job then, and I was also waiting to ask Larisse to be my girlfriend. There was no certainty if either would happen. But God gave me assurance through Joshua 1:9, which pierced my heart as I was clearly afraid and dismayed.
So, one Friday night, I asked Larisse to be my girlfriend, and thankfully she said yes. Amazingly, the following Monday, I was told that I would be made a full-time employee.
Recalling experiences like these has helped me focus on trusting God. I realised that God’s part is bringing things to fruition, while my part is to obey His Word.
I’m also reminded of the passage where Joshua gave his farewell to Israel after finally conquering the Promised Land. Though it took nearly 50 years, the Lord fulfilled every one of His promises.
Behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth. And you know in all your hearts and all your souls that not one thing has failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spoke concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one word of them has failed (Joshua 23:14).
Whenever you find yourself doubting God’s work in your life, remind yourself of His trustworthiness in the past, how He has always sustained you and carried you through the most difficult times.
Know that God always has your best in mind
After waiting for what seemed like forever, I finally proposed to Larisse (she said “Yes!”). The long delay with the ring forced me to rethink my proposal setting, and I ended up doing it in the garden of our ancestral home, which was much more meaningful than the original spot I had thought of.
I was also given a promotion. Although I did not get the managerial position I’d been eyeing, I landed a role that had more opportunities for career growth. I thought my initial plans were the best, but God gave me something better and a lot more meaningful.
I was able to appreciate the Lord more by learning to be actively aware of the waiting process. As a pastor reminded me recently, “We must consider eternity, remembering this is God’s plan, not ours. We just have the privilege of being part of it as His children.” Since He is the loving Father and I am His child, I must trust that He has my best interests and knows better than I do.
If you’re waiting on for God to answer a prayer, do it right by waiting well. Work on the things within your control, and surrender the rest to the Lord’s timeline, not yours. Trust that even in seasons of “drought,” God is always in the background, growing our faith and working according to His will.
Whatever the outcome may be (whether it’s a yes, no, or wait), remember that God has your best interest in mind (Luke 11:11-12).