Waiting on God. Or more specifically, NOT waiting when we called to be still. If you are following along with our Woven series this fall, no doubt you will have seen the consequences of this pattern of NOT waiting in every story you read this week in Seamless Week Two! (And, SPOILER ALERT, you’ll continue to see it in the weeks to come!)
The problem is, waiting usually results in some level of anxiety. Why? Because we are control freaks. When you really get down to it, though, saying, “I’m a control freak” is actually a prettied-up, socially acceptable way of way of saying “I’m a master manipulator”. When we attempt to control a situation, we’re really attempting to manipulate it to the outcome we desire.
When we are waiting for an answer to prayer and/or for something God has promised, we are waiting on an outcome of something we want, but the outcome is currently unknown to us. But we get tired of waiting or anxious in the waiting and then we decide to take matters into our own hands. We decide to help God initiate His plan and/or accelerate it if it seems like it’s moving too slow.
But here’s the thing. We are being called to wait. In obedience. Not “wait for 15 minutes and then get in there and manipulate it”. We are called to wait on the Lord, obediently.
“Wait” is used 106 times in the Old Testament translation of the KJV. Many times, it’s translated from a word that means TRUST. So, “wait on the Lord” can be translated into “TRUST in the Lord”. It’s also translated from a Hebrew word for “expect” which would mean “Expect God to act”. Third, it is also translated from a word that means “Be still”. In other words, “Stop acting, you goof! He’s got this.” And finally, it’s translated from yet another word that means “Serve”. So it can also mean “serve God and others while you are waiting”.
So, if we put all that info together, waiting on God looks like this: Trust Him. Have faith that He is already working on this – even in the waiting. Expect Him. Let HOPE fill your spirit that the answer is coming in the perfect way and at the perfect time. Be still – cultivate peace and grace instead of nervous or anxious energy. And finally Serve Him. Looks for ways to get outside yourself and be that image bearer we talked about a few weeks ago – look for ways to be the visible manifestation of our invisible God to others.
And the truth is, God has very good reasons for asking us to wait on Him and His plans for us and they are not because He’s trying to punish us or “teach us a lesson”. Jennifer Dukes Lee, in her new book, It’s All Under Control, points out three GREAT reasons:
- It could be a part of your testimony. Your waiting could be a chance for you to be a witness to a world in need of hope. Perhaps God has you in this season so others can witness His power in your life through it!
- Maybe it’s a path to His protection. Because God sees the WHOLE plan and not just the small present plan, He knows when to hold us back in order to protect us from consequences we cannot yet imagine that would be the result of us getting what we want exactly when we want it.
- Finally, it could also be a piece of His glory. “His delay may be setting the stage for a divine display.”
Waiting isn’t easy, I know. And sometimes we are going to have to wait all the way to heaven to know why we’ve had to endure such frustration. I have a fabulous friend who, many years ago as I was really forming my Christian muscles, gave me some invaluable advice about what to do while we are “waiting” and are tempted to “help” God get things moving. Check it out:
First, my friend says, pray for wisdom and discernment on whether the plans you are trying to initiate are from God. Get quiet and ask for guidance.
If, after a period of this kind of prayer, you still feel like God is calling you to act, you need to ask yourself the following 4 questions:
- Is this plan of action in line with what I know to be the character of God? (In other words, do I think God, Himself, would do what I am about to do!) If so, move to the next question. If not, go back to prayer!
- Is this plan of action supported by scripture? (Is there support in the Bible for this or is their clear CONTRADICTION of it?) Armed with this knowledge, move to the next question.
- What is the Holy Spirit prompting me to do? (Listen to that small, still voice of conviction – NOT condemnation!)
- Take your thoughts and ideas to your “wise counsel” to talk it through. This person should be someone you trust to help you honestly evaluate what you’re thinking and someone you know can deliver hard truths along with Godly insight and guidance.
If all of that lines up, chances are you’ve got a green light from God to GO! But let’s also give ourselves a little grace, too, for the times we react out of our humanity. When we make a mistake, always ask forgiveness. And rest assured that God always incorporates our mistakes into His plan! Week Two of Seamless is proof positive of that! 🙂
See you back here soon, sweet friends!
Peace, love, and SO MUCH JOY!