Waiting is hard.
To state the obvious.
At least it is when we’re waiting for something we consider good. When something I consider bad is approaching, I prefer to say I’m dreading it rather than waiting for it.
And I’m notoriously bad about both. I dread far too much (overwhelming situations, upcoming jobs I don’t think I’ll do well at, etc.) when I should just trust God, and I fail at being patient when waiting for something I want (celebrations, special events, etc.).
Patience has just never been easy for me, though I wish it was.
Growing up, my brother was the very model of patience for me. Because of his cerebral palsy, which meant that he had to wait on people to help him do a lot, I saw his patience on display daily. And it wasn’t grudging patience either. He would wait with a smile or a content look, and just…be patient.
I could never understand how he managed it.
My personality is more of the ‘get it done and move on’ type. When I want to accomplish something, I’m going to accomplish it. Now. Or else I run the risk of losing motivation and then never getting to it. As much as I don’t like it about myself, I know it’s true.
It’s one of the reasons I try to write rough drafts of novels, short stories, and even blog posts in as few sittings and as close together as possible. If I can get the initial lump of hard work done quickly, I have a far higher chance of finishing it. If it takes me a long time, I tend to lose patience, then motivation, and finally just move on to other things.
When I know an exciting opportunity or event is coming up, waiting is extremely hard. Part of me just wants to skip all the days from now until then, so I can get to said event sooner.
But if I did that, I’d miss so much.
Looking back, I now see that most of my growth as a person and a Christian has happened in periods of waiting. Waiting for a friend. Waiting to graduate. Waiting to resume life as normal (*cough* quarantine *cough*).
That’s when I’m faced with two choices. I can either rush and plow ahead, trying to make my goals and dreams happen in my own time. Or I can surrender my own agenda and trust God with the timing, knowing that He knows best, and that He’ll bring the best possible outcome when the moment’s right.
The choice is obvious, of course, but not easy.
After all, that growing is change. And it can be painful. It can – and often does – mean giving up things we consider important to us. It can mean accepting that the career, the relationship, the aspiration we’ve dreamed of may never come to pass.
Patience is passing our schedules into God’s capable hands, and leaving them there.
Not fretting about it. Not pleading with Him to hurry up and give us what we want. Not whining. Just whole-hearted trusting, even when we can’t understand His methods.
Seasons of waiting can be tiny or they can be enormous. But everyone waits through them, and everyone has the chance to either rush ahead on their own strength, or hang back and walk in step with God.
In my seasons of waiting right now, I’m trying my very best to walk with God, and not try to get ahead of Him. And it’s every bit as difficult as I thought – except that the more I learn about God, the more I recognize His work in my life. And the more I know and love His character, the smoother ride it is. He knows best and knows what He’s doing.
After all, as many have said and I can definitely attest to, God doesn’t answer prayers for patience by instantly zapping us into patient people. Instead, He gives us the opportunities to be patient. He leads us into situations where we’re forced to be patient if we want to do His will. He lets us grow by doing.
If God ever sees fit to do some patience-zapping on me, I certainly wouldn’t argue. But until then, I’m going to continue doing my best to learn, to grow, and to journey beside Him at His pace, and not mine. His plan truly is perfect, and His timetable is best.
And as I wait, I’ve found that patience is easier together. In addition to staying immersed in Scripture and prayer, consulting other Christians I trust often helps me keep perspective and stay focused on God’s plan. So today I thought I’d share ten of my favorite quotes about waiting patiently, with the prayer that they help you as much as they help me.
1. “Beloved, whatever you are waiting for or believing for, God will not be late. The Lord is the Healer. He is just. He is the dreamer of dreams and He answers prayers. Be assured that He will bring that prodigal home….. Don’t give up hope and one day you will see the resurrection you have been waiting for come your way!”
2. “Biblically, waiting is not just something we have to do until we get what we want. Waiting is part of the process of becoming what God wants us to be.”
3. “Sometimes when we’re waiting for God to speak, He’s waiting for us to listen.”
4. “When we surrender to His timing, He does mighty things in and for us, according to His will and His timing. God acts on behalf of those who wait for Him. “
5. “If the Lord Jehovah makes us wait, let us do so with our whole hearts; for blessed are all they that wait for Him. He is worth waiting for. The waiting itself is beneficial to us: it tries faith, exercises patience, trains submission, and endears the blessing when it comes. The Lord’s people have always been a waiting people.”
6. “Waiting on God requires the willingness to bear uncertainty, to carry within oneself the unanswered question, lifting the heart to God about it whenever it intrudes upon one’s thoughts.”
7. “What then are we to do about our problems? We must learn to live with them until such time as God delivers us from them…we must pray for grace to endure them without murmuring. Problems patiently endured will work for our spiritual perfecting. They harm us only when we resist them or endure them unwillingly.”
(A. W. Tozer)
8. “We don’t like waiting, but that’s when God does some of His best work on our souls.”
(Charles R. Swindoll)
9. “I try to remember that walking in the will of God might mean waiting as much as it might mean moving forward.”
10. “He who waits on God loses no time. ”
Yes, waiting can be extremely hard. But I’m thankful for a God that we can trust to always know what’s best, even if it means things take longer or don’t happen the way we want them to. His plan for our lives is so much greater than we could ever plan for ourselves. What a blessing! My prayer for us today is that we can grow more and more patient, and consistently live in faith – no matter what happens or when.
Did any of these quotes speak to you today? Go ahead and let me know your favorites in the comments, as well as if there is a certain topic you’d like to see more quotes about. While you’re there, I’d love to hear something YOU’RE learning about waiting for God’s timing!
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.
(Psalm 27:14 NIV)
1. I shared more of my quote collection in many previous posts, which you can find here.
2. To receive your own printable pages of the above quotes (and the ones used in my other ‘Quotes’ posts), sign up for my email list! Simply fill in the form here, and I’ll send you PDF copies of the quote collections – as well as an inspirational short story. I look forward to hearing from you!