Why is it that much of life feels like waiting for something to happen? We wait in traffic. We wait for our food. We wait to hear back on our application. We wait to meet “Mr. Right.”
I think there’s a real reason we spend much of life waiting: faith. Waiting is hard, but we’re all willing to do it because we have faith that the wait is worthwhile. We believe that the end result—getting to our destination, receiving our meal, getting the job—is worth our time.
Waiting in general is often uncomfortable, but waiting on God’s timing is far more difficult. When we’re stuck in a traffic jam, we know why the wait is long. But when we’re waiting on God, we don’t know His reasoning or the end result. Waiting tests our faith to the extreme.
Seasons of patience can be endured with grace if we live well in the waiting. Here are three ways to do so as you wait on God’s timing for your life.
1. Be a “Waitress”
If you’ve ever worked in food service, you know that waiting tables is anything but slow work. You’re constantly on your feet, taking orders, bussing tables, bringing extra ketchup and otherwise serving whoever walks through the door. A good waitress doesn’t lounge around waiting for customers to come to her; she goes to them. She is actively serving for the duration of her shift.
What if we viewed waiting on God this way? It would transform our lives! Waiting doesn’t mean sitting still, expecting life to just “happen.” It’s a call to be a “waitress,” looking for ways to serve God’s kingdom in the seasons in between. Amazingly, as we take action, the waiting periods seem so much shorter, and we look back on them with satisfaction knowing we didn’t waste those years.
2. Delight in the Lord
Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” If you’re waiting for the fulfillment of a desire, you should memorize this verse! As we choose to delight in God at every opportunity, God changes our hearts. Our desires become His desires, and He gives us the strength to wait on His will.
This trust relationship helps us walk through desire with strong faith in the Lord. We evidence joy and peace because we know our hearts are in line with His will. And best of all? God promises to fulfill the desire of those who fear Him.
3. Invest Your Talents
In Matthew 25, Jesus told a parable about three servants. Each was given a certain amount of “talents,” a sum of money in that period of time. Two of the servants invested their talents and doubled their money, but the third servant buried his talent because he was afraid. When the master returned, he was pleased with the first two servants for handling well the money he entrusted to them. But with the third servant, he was angry—the servant did nothing with the gift his master had given him. He was a poor steward of what the master owned.
Each of us is given a set of talents and gifts by the Lord. He equips us with a unique capability for impacting this world in His name. When we waste the times of waiting by obsessing over what we don’t have, we act like the foolish servant, burying our talents instead of investing them for great return.
What does this look like? It means pouring our talents into the needs around us. This could mean volunteering at the homeless shelter downtown. It could be leading a children’s program at the Boys and Girls Club. It could be teaching a class at church, evangelizing on the street or making scarves to help fund aid for victims of sexual abuse. There are countless ways our talents can be invested in the in-between seasons—we just have to ask the Master for direction.
Waiting on God is much easier when we trust that He is working all the time. As we believe His work on our behalf, we are empowered to do some work of our own: bringing His love to the world, one community at a time.
Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. (Isaiah 30:18)