Dr. Jackie Minor
Hurry Up and Wait: 4 Tips to Navigate a Waiting Season
I don’t like to wait. I feel quite certain that if there is an impatience gene, I have it. As far as I can remember, I have always struggled with waiting. I was reminded of this the other day in a conversation with my five-year old granddaughter. It went something like this.
Harper: “Mema, I need you to…”
Me: “Harper, I can’t help you right this minute. You need to wait.”
Harper: “But Mema, you know I don’t like to wait!”
Me: “I know, Harper, but you just need to be patient.”
Harper: “I can’t, Mema! I’m not patient!”
I instinctively smiled inside, fearing I had passed on my impatience gene to her. Nevertheless, she still had to wait, and so do we at times. I wonder if the conversation above is how we sound to our Heavenly Father. Oh, we may not say it out loud, but we feel it in our spirit. If we feel it in our spirit, He knows (Psalm 139:2).
Waiting can be messy. Undoubtedly all of us have felt this at some point during this school year.
· Waiting for guidance. Will school start or not?
· Waiting for training. How am I supposed to teach virtually?
· Waiting to return face-to-face. When will I see my students?
· Waiting for a vaccine. Will I get it in time?
Just like my granddaughter, I don’t think we have to hide our impatience from the Lord. Part of being in a loving relationship is being honest. It’s okay to let God know how we feel about the waiting. It doesn’t mean things will change, but expressing our thoughts invites Him into our reality and opens the door for the Holy Spirit to speak into our circumstances.
I have found it is a bit easier to be patient when the end is in sight; however, my patience wanes when I see no light at the end of the tunnel. It reminds me of my first trip to Disney World. I cannot tell you how many times we would hurry, almost out of breath, to get in a line that appeared somewhat short, only to turn a corner to witness a sea of endless sweaty humans (yes, we went in the summer!). “Hurry up and wait” became our mantra. We learned to be patient in the waiting because we really had no choice.
The question is not whether or not waiting is part of the human experience. I suspect we all would agree waiting is part of life. I think the bigger question is this—How do we handle a season of waiting? The Bible is full of encouraging examples for us.
· Noah waited for the flood (Genesis 6-9).
· Abraham waited for a promise (Genesis 12-26).
· Sarah waited for a son (Genesis 15-21).
· Joseph waited for a purpose (Genesis 40-55).
· Moses, Caleb, and Joshua waited in the wilderness (Numbers 13-14).
· Ruth waited for a provider (Ruth 1-4).
· David waited to be King (1 Samuel, 2 Samuel).
· Daniel waited for a breakthrough in prayer (Daniel 9-10).
· Esther waited for deliverance (Esther 1-10).
· Jesus waited to begin His ministry (Luke 1-3).
With the exception of Jesus, these individuals are just like you and me. They weren’t perfect. They all experienced fear, failure, disappointment, and long seasons of waiting. However, as we read their stories, we see God at work. There was always a plan and purpose behind the waiting, but many times God kept His reasons to Himself.
Our world today is always in a hurry. The pandemic may have curbed this a bit, but I still sense we may be hurrying to the next big event or task, only to find ourselves waiting. When God tells us to wait, it is important we don’t hurry and look for something else to occupy our minds. Let’s pause and ask ourselves, “How can I make the most of this season of waiting?” God may not reveal His purpose to us right away, but we can be assured there IS a purpose. He can see the things that need to be ironed out in our hearts and lives that would remain messy if it wasn’t for the refining times of waiting.
Granted, navigating a season of waiting isn’t easy. So, to help us remain patient and focused on God’s purposes during the waiting, let’s consider an acronym for the word “WAIT.”
One way to manage a time of waiting is to keep busy. We were not mean to be idle, waiting for God to “do something.” Noah is probably one of the best examples of this in the Bible. His season of waiting was at least 55 years, but he never stopped doing the work God had called him to do despite the jeers of those around him. If we could talk to Noah, I bet he would tell us how God sustained him and used those years to strengthen his faith.
What is God calling you to do during the season of waiting? Keep doing it! Be patient. Don’t miss what God is doing in your life.
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:58
We can anticipate our God is up to something good! Joseph had no idea that his years in prison would prepare him to become second in command in Egypt and provide for his family during the famine. When Esther was taken into captivity, little did she know she would be used to save her people from total destruction.
God is up to something good. Expect it, anticipate it, and thank Him for it in advance!
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Psalm 27:13
Immersing ourselves in prayer and God’s Word provides therapy for an impatient soul. God’s Word coupled with the Holy Spirit can make time seem irrelevant. Our hearts can be drawn to His plan and purposes. We may still have to wait, but we can wait with confidence knowing He hears us and His promises are true. We learn from the life of Daniel (Daniel 9-10) that when we are brought to our knees by His Word, we can withstand the waiting with confidence.
I wait for the Lord. My soul waits and I hope in His Word. Psalm 130:5
Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. Daniel 10:12
Finally, it all comes down to trust. It seems like I always end up here. During the waiting we have to ask the hard question, “Do I really trust God knows what He is doing?” If our answer is yes, then will we be patient in the waiting? Will we remain obedient despite our uncertain future? Will we allow this time of waiting to change us?
One of the greatest examples of trust in the Bible can be seen in the life of Abraham. It was only through his unwavering trust in a mighty God that he was able to obey an unimaginable command – to offer his son of promise as a sacrifice after so many years of waiting (Genesis 2:22, Hebrews 11: 8-19). I want to trust God like Abraham did.
Let’s not hurry up and wait! Let’s embrace the waiting by continuing to work for the kingdom of God, anticipate the great things God will do, immerse ourselves in His Word/prayer, and trust His plan for our lives.
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.Romans 8:28