By Milley Brewington Contributing Columnist
March 14, 2014
As the long wait of winter comes to a close and spring draws near, you may find yourself waiting on more than flowers to bloom. Perhaps you’re expecting an answer to prayer — for a job, improved finances, better health, or the salvation of a loved one. Maybe you’re anticipating the next step in God’s plan for your life, or the strength to finally overcome some habitual sin.
Whatever the case may be, as we look forward to changes in the landscape around us, it’s a good time to also consider what seeds we’ve been sowing in our lives. In our season of waiting, have we sown to righteousness or sin? Have we prepared to reap a harvest of spiritual fruit or the weeds of compromise?
“Do not be deceived,” Paul wrote,”for the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary” (Galatians 6:7-9).
Waiting on God can be a tricky business, full of both temptations and blessings. What we need are eyes to see and ears to hear how the Lord is leading us, as we trust Him for the future. I pray that you are encouraged even as the answer you long to receive from God is not yet apparent.
Take heart and be encouraged. You are not alone, and your Heavenly Father has not given up on you. Stay true to your calling in the Lord, and one day soon you’ll see that His promise never to leave you or forsake you is absolutely true.
My prayer is that you would begin to prepare your heart now, making changes in your life according to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. If you do so, it won’t be long until you experience the joy of a different kind of spring — the fruit of the Spirit, the life of God ripening within you.
No one likes to wait, but have you ever wondered why? It’s because delays show us that we are not in control. Someone or something else is calling the shots. Although we may be able to identify the immediate cause—like a traffic light or the long checkout line — ultimately the One who controls all our delays is the Lord. Since He is sovereign over everything in heaven and on earth, even our time and schedules are in His hands.
This means that in every delay, we are actually waiting for God in one way or another. You might have thought that the expression “waiting upon the Lord” applies only to seeking guidance from Him or an answer to prayer. But it can mean so much more when you remember that He controls all your day-to-day inconveniences and frustrations.
In the Christian life, learning to wait is vitally important because until you do, you’ll never be able to walk in obedience to God, have an effective prayer life, or experience the peace of resting in His loving sovereignty. We must learn to trust His judgment—about not just the big events in our lives, but also the trivial ones which cause us to become irritated, impatient, or even angry. If we’re sensitive to His instruction, each delay has a lesson.
The next time you face an unexpected or unwanted wait, remember that it comes as no surprise to God. He wants to teach you patience and increase your faith. He’s more interested in developing godly character than He is in making sure your schedule runs according to your plans. In this paragraph, there’s that word that people don’t want to hear about sometimes, “Patience.” People don’t want to wait and they don’t want tribulation. I have heard people say, “Don’t pray for patience because if you do you will have tribulation.” In Romans 5: 3-5, “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience. And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Also in John 16:33; “These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
Are you currently waiting for the Lord to intervene in some way in your life or in the life of a loved one? One of the struggles we face as Christians is trying to understand why our heavenly Father sometimes delays over matters that are so urgent to us. Only the Lord knows all the reasons. However, there are several adjustments we can make in our attitude and mindset as we wait.
In the urgency of the moment, it’s easy to center our attention on the need instead of on God and so we need to determine our focus. We may start out waiting for the Lord but end up waiting for the answer we want. Soon we’re more interested in what He can do for us than we are in Him. Sometimes God delays until we get our focus back on Him. He wants us to delight in Him, not just in what He gives you.
The Lord is working on our behalf, but sometimes we cling so tightly to a desired outcome that He must wait until we open our hands and let go of our expectations. We need to release our expectations into His hands. Holding on to your assumptions about how the Lord should intervene is emotionally exhausting. But peace awaits those who trust that He will do what is in our best interests in every situation we encounter.
We need to remember that while we are waiting, God is working. He sees the entire picture and is active behind the scenes, arranging everything according to His will. But perhaps His most important work is the deepening of our relationship with Him as we learn to love and trust Him in the wait.