Have you ever had to wait on something? That was an obvious rhetorical question, I know. Everyone in life has had to wait on something. Some of us handle it better than others, but I can’t imagine anyone really liking it. Even though it’s something none of us likes, did you know it’s actually a good thing, particularly as it relates to faith? Stay with me here, don’t check out.
There are all types of waiting – waiting in line at the grocery store, waiting in a doctor’s or dentist’s office, waiting for a friend to arrive for a dinner date. The type of waiting I particularly want to highlight right now is the wait of a desired outcome, a promise unfulfilled, a lifelong hope. You know the ones I’m talking about – the dream job, the spouse, the baby, the house, that one big break, your purpose revelation. Why is it a good thing to lie in wait of those things?
Well, it not only builds patience, which is a powerful virtue to have, it also builds faith. What is faith exactly? In Hebrews 11:1, the Bible describes it as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
None of us who believe in God have ever actually seen God with our own eyes but we believe that He exists and He is present with us at all times. That belief requires faith. But if we remain weak in our faith, and we never actually have a chance to grow it and build it, that belief will start to fade over time as we live more and interact with the world.
In my newest book, God Doesn’t Make Mistakes, I talk about what a review of the previous journals I wrote over the course of seven years did for me. I was able to see my life, in my own words, through the lens of hindsight – in a way, how God sees our lives. (Although, He’s able to see with hindsight and foresight – what an amazing God!) One of my greatest discoveries during that process was how my waiting seasons taught me lessons, helped me to draw closer to God and deepen my relationship with Him, and most importantly, taught me to trust Him. Over time, I started to really get that He knew what was best for my life.
Some of the things I waited for came years after I prayed for them. When I did receive them, it seemed to have been “perfect timing.” Some of the things I waited for never came, and that was actually a good thing because I either wasn’t ready for them at the time or it was not His best for me. Some things I’m still waiting for, but now that I’ve learned to trust Him in the wait, I’m fully at peace and resting in His sufficient grace.
The greatest revelation of all? I have come to realize when I have a strong desire for something to happen, I don’t need my prayers to be answered; I need my faith to be strengthened. That oftentimes happens during the wait, in the silence.
If you are waiting for something to happen in your life right now, I encourage you to first thank God for this season of waiting because it’s building something in you. Next, I encourage you to pray this prayer:
Dear God, sometimes I don’t understand your timing. It’s hard to wait, but I trust you. I want to rely on your ways, your thoughts, your perfect timing. Help me learn what I need to learn as I wait, and help me resist rushing your plan. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. James 1:3-4 NLT