Waiting is part of life. We wait for our dream job after graduating. We wait for the right friends. We wait for anxiety to leave. We wait for marriage. We wait for our loved ones to cherish Jesus. With so much waiting in the Christian life, we need to know how to wait well.
In the Bible, patience is presented as either forbearance or endurance. In the former sense, it is a quality of self-restraint or of not giving way to anger, even in the face of provocation; it is attributed to both God and man and is closely related to mercy and compassion. In the latter sense, it is a virtue by which one bears the trials of this life with resignation to God’s Will, and is therefore associated with hope.
The promise we can lean on is that patience is a God-given restraint, not something we are to produce in our own strength. The Lord is the one who provides us with spiritual armor to go into battle. Our only responsibility is to trust that God will provide the strength to hold on, and then act accordingly to our faith in that promise.
So, what to do while waiting on the Lord?
- Be brave and courageous (Psalm 27:14)
Our faith is often tested in those long and painful seasons of life when patient endurance is required—trustingly waiting for God to act, and submissively waiting on His promises to be fulfilled. We need to confidently wait for the Lord to act on our behalf, knowing that His promises are ‘yes’ and ‘amen’ in Christ Jesus. I’ve found that one of my biggest battles in long seasons of waiting is fighting fear, anxiety or worry. I would try and take control of situations, or ‘do the best I can’, even though God is ultimately in control. The gospel has taught me that enduring strength and courage will never be found in myself but in Christ. I am empowered to be courageous when I declare His Words over my life and current situation(s).
- View it as an opportunity to experience God’s goodness (Psalm 27:13)
When our focus is on our problems and what God has or has not given us, we are prone to grumble, complain, and even become discontent. Psalm 27:13 is assurance that no matter what difficulties and dangers stalk our path, God will rescue us [wait patiently]. After all, God demonstrated His goodness when Christ absorbed the wrath that we deserved, making a way for us to be set free from the power of sin. Our seasons of waiting offer countless opportunities to witness God at work in and through us for our eternal good and his glory.
- Remember the blessings yet to come (Isaiah 30:18).
As long as our hope is set on this life and things that gratify our flesh, we will likely feel frustrated, discouraged, and even hopeless. Jesus Christ came to offer us eternal joy and freedom from sin and, although we have been set free from sin’s power, sin’s presence is still at work in and around us. Thankfully, the gospel assures us, as believers, that God is for us and works all things together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose [see Romans 8:28].
During long [or even short] seasons of waiting, our hearts will be encouraged to remember that the best is yet to come!