I was running as fast as I could. The family were waiting for me in the boat on the edge of the lake where we were camping. At the last minute I had to go to the bathroom. They said they would wait on me but to hurry up. So I ran up the hill to the outhouse and did my duty and ran as fast as I could back to the edge of the hill where there was a cliff with a sharp drop to the boat. There was a trail to go down. However, just as I ran up to the cliff’s edge my foot caught on a root. You know what’s coming don’t you? Yep, I went flying into the air over the cliff, about a six foot drop. I belly flopped onto the beach like a fish, right at the feet of some fishermen who were watching with interest. When I looked up, less than a foot from the fishermen, with poles in hand, they looked at each other, then simply turned back to the lake and resumed their fishing. At first I just lay there and thought about faking that I was passed out. I peeked up at my family sitting in the boat. They were looking at me as if I was an alien, and not one of them made the effort to get out of the boat to help me…in fact, they all turned their backs and looked into the surrounding mountains like they were enjoying the view and they acted like they didn’t see me. You see, they were quite familiar with my less than graceful ways and weren’t willing to be embarrassed again. So, I put on dignity and gathered myself up and held up my head like it was an everyday normal thing to fly over a cliff and laughingly joined my family in the boat. They acted like I had just arrived.
How do I relate this story to waiting on God? Don’t we sometimes get so tired of waiting (just like my family was waiting on me), that when He finally does show up on the scene we act like petulant children, pouting because He didn’t’ get there when we wanted Him to get there. Don’t we try to manipulate Him to move when we say move? I know I have sure attempted some pretty impressive manipulation with Him. But, you know what? It doesn’t move Him at all. He shows up when He is ready and His plan has played out, even when we don’t understand why. He wants us to simply trust.
You see, there are two kinds of “waiters” on God. There is the passive person and then the expectant person, a passive person “hopes” something good will happen and is willing to wait to see if it does. After a short time, he gives up, saying, “That’s it! I’ve waited and waited and nothing’s happening.” Then takes matters into his own hands and usually falls on his face. (Kind of like I did on that cliff.)
The expectant person is hopeful, believing the answer is just around the corner, due to arrive any minute. His heart is full of hope, and his eyes are on God. He wakes up every morning expecting to find his answer. God has never let me down in eventually giving me answers to the delays. Sometimes the answers actually reveal that I asked for something that would have been destructive. Other times it is simply a test of my faith and patience.
So here are some keys to follow in your “waiting” that really works for me.
1. Expect It to Happen
The word wait means “to expect” or “to look for.” But, it also means “to serve” — just like a waiter waits on your table at a restaurant. Our act of waiting isn’t supposed to be spent sitting around passively hoping that something will happen sometime soon. It is about continuing on your journey as you wait for God to supply the answer. So, be about your business as you calmly wait. This takes determination and pressing in.
2. Build up your faith.
Once we’ve asked God to answer a question or solve a problem, we need to be eagerly awaiting His answer. See that thing in your spirit. Speak of it as if it is already there. When our hearts are eager to hear from God, He never lets us down. In many cases this waiting period actually serves as a time of preparation for the answer. Sometimes, if God answered right away, many of us would be ill-prepared to handle His solution.
Sometimes we find ourselves in such horrible circumstances, or painful circumstances that it’s hard to imagine waiting one more second. But we need to keep waiting on God and trusting Him with a sweet and simple faith. Then, in a way we never could’ve figured out—God moves!
There are a lot of circumstances in scripture where the people got tired of waiting on God so they took matters into their own hands and fell flat on their face. When people patiently and expectantly wait on God in the midst of horrible circumstances, suddenly God breaks through. So don’t give up! Don’t stop believing! Stay full of hope and expectation. God’s power is limitless.
Stop “doing”. Stop trying to figure things out. Stop trying to do something to get out of this situation. Stop listening to everyone else. Stop worrying. Know what season you are in. Just stop. There is a time when God wants us to act or “do”. He’s quite capable of telling you when it’s time to act. Right now it’s time to wait.
4. Trust God
He created this universe. He created you. He allowed your situation. He designed your destiny. Trust Him. This may take every fiber of your being, but develop a new habit, by saying each moment, “Lord, I’m going to trust you even though this doesn’t make sense and even though my flesh does not want to. I’m going to trust you. Help me Lord.” Your waiting period is a time to get to know Him on a different level. You will hear Him speaking to you if you are listening.
This is your preparation period. Write, study, listen and observe during your waiting period. Glean as much wisdom as you can. Just don’t start “doing” unless He is speaking to you.
Our waiting period is designed to RENEW OUR MINDS and develop the Godly fruit [wisdom, peace, power, love, patient, joy, etc.] we need for our next level. I encourage you to wait patiently and with expectation so that He can continue to move you along in your journey. He has a plan. He always has a plan. Be expectant for Him to speak to you and show you where He is taking you. He is doing necessary work in you. Don’t hinder the wonderful experiences that He has for you.
My family became irritated waiting on me that day at the lake, and when I finally did arrive in a most unexpected way, (like God sometimes does) they didn’t receive me. So, they turned their backs on me while I found my way to the boat on my own. Thank God He doesn’t treat us the same way. (My family thinks my escapades are funny, however). The outcome of our waiting on God has much to do with our attitudes.
As I wait on the publication of my book, Climbing Out of the Box, I am busy about the Lord’s business.