We’d just returned from an overnight family birthday celebration at my parents’. The boys were tired. Trevor and I were tired. Even the dog was tired. We were rushing around unloading the car, unpacking while feeding the kids a quick dinner before bedtime.
Cole danced around the chair, his body fighting the weariness apparent in his eyes and face. As he picked up the muffin it slipped out of his fingers, landing in a perfect peanut butter and jelly pile on our kitchen table chair.
Teaching children – in my case, energetic bouncing boys – to wait, slow down, and be patient – can be frustrating and at times never-ending. For children, it’s a process they learn throughout their childhood, some with more success than others.
You know the broken record analogy? That’s my life. I’ve spent a great deal of time the past 6 ½ years saying, “Wait a minute,” “hold on,” “be patient,” and “It’s almost your turn.” It’s not in most children’s nature to wait quietly and patiently.
(Okay, I admit it.)
It’s not really in my nature to wait patiently, either.
In the physical realm, waiting is a fact of life. Traffic, grocery store lines, classes in school, bank teller lines, amusement park rides, and restaurants all ask us to wait.
But in the Spiritual realm, waiting on the Lord is a must because it’s the catalyst for spiritual growth. When we wait on Him we learn to trust His timing and His ways, which are perfect and purposed for His glory.
Most importantly, waiting on the Lord destroys our self-sufficiency (pride).
“Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!” (Psalm 27:14)
“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
And in His word I do hope.” (Psalm 130:5)
But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)
“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 3:20)
Why does the Lord call us to wait on Him? I believe it’s because the Christian walk isn’t about doing the most for God, getting the most accomplished, memorizing the most Bible verses, taking the most missions trips, or supporting the most missionaries.
These are all wonderful outpourings of the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives, but they’re not keys for spiritual growth.
It comes down to our relationship with our Savior. When we wait on Jesus, we become one with Him.
Before His death and resurrection Jesus prayed to His Father for all believers, “…that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent me.” (John 17:21)
Our spiritual state depends on our oneness with our Savior. And our oneness with our Savior depends on our learning to wait on Him. Within spiritual waiting periods our faith is strengthened and purified. We move from emotion-based, weak faith to absolute trust and unshakable faith as we seek our Savior’s heart and watch God’s promises come to fruition in our lives.
Oswald Chambers writes, “When God brings a time of waiting, and appears to be unresponsive, don’t fill it with busyness, just wait. The time of waiting may come to teach you the meaning of sanctification – to be set apart from sin and made holy – or it may come after the process of sanctification has begun to teach you what service means. Never run before God gives you His direction.”
I’m waiting on the Lord about something very dear to my heart. I desperately want to run out ahead; instead, I’m learning to wait. Faith-filled experience has taught me that God’s way is far better than my way, just as His word is always purposed for our best.
Don’t jump out ahead. Wait on Him and trust His word, because waiting for God brings us into a beautiful oneness with our Savior.
“Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield.” (Psalm 33:20)