I hate to wait. It’s a daily game for me to minimize red lights and to maximize unhindered forward progress. I approach grocery store check-out lines with shrewd determination to find the fastest one. (It doesn’t work, but I irrationally continue to try.)
Traffic lights and retail lines are the preschools of patience. We enter advanced classes as we expectantly await forward motion in careers, the fulfillment of dreams, the conception of a child, a return to health, or the restoration of a marriage, to name just a few things for which people desperately wait.
We would certainly make those things happen if we could, but someone or something is in the way. God must make a way forward.
This is nothing new. The biblical narrative is a study in waiting. God promised Abraham a nation, descendents as numerous as the stars, but Isaac was not born until Abraham was 100 years old. The nation of Israel lived in slavery in Egypt for hundreds of years before God miraculously liberated them. Then they wandered in the desert for forty years before inhabiting their Promised Land. I could go on…
What is the point of all that waiting?
It is holy.
One aspect of “holiness” in the Bible is to be set apart for sacred use. Based on what I know about God, that he is all powerful, a loving Father, and that he uses all things for his good purpose, I conclude that God makes good use of our waiting. Therefore, waiting is holy.
Not easy, but holy.
Phillip Keller, in his beautiful little book Lessons From a Sheep Dog, sees instructive parallels between his relationship with a beloved Border collie, Lass, and God’s relationship with him.
He observes that the most difficult command for an energetic Border collie to obey is, “Stay.”
Keller would command Lass to stay to protect a gate or a group of sheep while he was busy somewhere else. Lass’s job was vital to his work. But, Keller writes, “Lass often felt she was missing out on the action.” Eventually, without Keller nearby she would become agitated and leave her post.
Keller writes, “God used this element in Lass to teach me a most important principle…the absolute necessity to be quietly steadfast and faithful wherever He placed me. In a sense these interludes in life were a test not only of my faithfulness to God, but also of His to me.” (p. 43)
My husband and I are in stay mode, and sometimes I get agitated. Yet, I want to experience these days as holy waiting, in confidence that this time is set apart for God’s perfect purpose and that I am growing in and through it. It’s not easy.
Is anyone else struggling to faithfully stay where God has you at the moment? What have learned from waiting?
“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:14
I am very much experiencing this right now. Waiting is extremely hard, but i love how you’ve changed the perspective into “holy waiting”. Thank you, Judy. That helps…a lot.
And so we wait.. trusting God to use it for His good purpose. That’s my prayer for both of us, Marney.
What a wonderful post! I love it when Christians “think”. God gave us brains and I’m not sure why, but sometimes they come in handy in our trying to figure out what the HECK IS GOING ON HERE! I’m an analyzer. I love to try to figure out stuff as I move and breathe in this material body form. “We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” as I see it [this quote is borrowed].
love to you sister,
Hi Robin! Yes, I too am an analyzer (perhaps an over-analyzer) at heart. We analyzers do try to figure it all out, don’t we? I am being challenged to live things out in faith – my spiritual reality – rather than figuring them out by sight – my human experience. (Emphasis on challenge!) Bless you today, Robin, and thanks for stopping by! Judy
Thank you for helping us with the waiting! I kind of forgot what I was waiting for, as He changed me instead of the circumstances I was waiting for Him to change. I read this in a devotion yesterday .. .”While you wait, let (all these aspects of) patience have their perfect work (James 1:4). ..and you will be greatly enriched.” “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him” Psalm 37:7 “Wait for it patiently” Romans 8:25 I think patience plays a big roll in our waiting! God bless you, Judy!
I think you’re on to something Debbie. I know God is changing me while my circumstances remain unchanged. I guess if I make it my goal to experience his work in my life regardless of my situation I will never have to wait! More to ponder… Thanks, and blessings back to you, Debbie!
I stepped out in faith and walked away from a ten-year career in retail a little over a year ago. During the time from then ’til about 3-4 weeks ago I was “waiting” for an answer to the question of what I’d stepped out to…..
It was only in the last couple of weeks that God led me to Matthew 6:33, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be provided as well.” What was my next step? What was God’s will for my life? Right there in scripture all along.
Can’t wait for the next, next step, hehe!
Me too! Thanks for sharing your experience, Kent.
It is a struggle often but then what can we do? Run ahead and we get out of His perfect will.
Sounds like a nice read, the sheep dog book, thanks for the thought.
Yes, I do recommend Lessons from a Sheep Dog. You can probably read it in an hour or less, but there is some real truth in it. Thanks for your thoughts!
Love your blog!! I can relate to many things you said!! Waiting…yes… Thank you for sharing! I followed….
Please visit mine…I just posted a new series. Blessings!!
Thanks Jenny! I look forward to checking out your blog:)
You really hit between the eyes on this one Judy. What an apt reminder through the illustration of Lass…stay may not seem “active” but it can create so much internal strength and growth.
When we adopted our sons we had to wait almost two years before we got them. It was like having a two year pregnancy! LOL. But it happened in Gods perfect time! I couldn’t have asked for more.
Wonderful! It’s encouraging from a place of “stay” to hear of dreams realized!
Oh this is a great one, Judy!! Holy Waiting–I love it. What immediately comes to mind is my living situation–I’ve lived here almost 16 years, and spent all but the last 2 in miserable whining and complaining about it. Not much has changed–well, neighbors periodically come and go and we’re on our 3rd management company, but that’s all. What needed to change was my heart attitude–pretty sad that it took 14 yrs, eh? When I learned that I could CHOOSE to be Happy and Grateful, regardless of my circumstances–everything turned around “inside me”. The clientele here will likely never improve measurably–this is low-income housing. However, I’m blessed to report that my newest, and closest neighbor–is the sweetest guy, with significant limitations that allow me to “fret to my heart’s content”, be motherly, and cook-cook-cook. He eats Everything, the more the better–told me today it was “delicious”! Why would I want to move, now?!! God’s Holy Waiting is paying BIG spirit and heart dividends! Have a blessed day–love, sis Caddo
Your encouraging example of the rewards of choosing contentment and “holy waiting” is a great blessing to me, Caddo. Thank you, and may the Lord continue to bless you big! Love, Judy
I’ve been waiting seventeen years.
What I’ve learned about waiting is you have to make up your mind that it is one day at a time. Don’t look back at the time lost and don’t look too far ahead. Just look at today and live it for Him.
Good advice Larry. Actually, it sounds like an excellent plan for every day, whether we’re waiting or not. I pray that we will all be faithful as we wait. (Hard for me, but God is working in my heart.) Thanks!
Yep, more than eight years in, and still waiting…
May the Lord work mightily as you wait. Bless you Shannon.
Thank you, Judy. He is so faithful in the waiting, I am the only one who grows weary, not Him. 🙂 Blessings to you too!