The season of waiting is hard. It can be painful. It can be disheartening.
You may feel excited initially but may gradually lose that sense of excitement as time slowly passes.
You may feel rejected, or dejected.
You may be waiting for a baby.
You may be waiting for a job.
You may be waiting for a partner.
You may be waiting for a healing or a medical diagnosis.
You may be waiting for the end of covid or for the end of mandatory vaccinations.
You may be waiting for a loved one to return home, or a son or daughter to come back to the faith.
There are many things you may be waiting for. And one thing doesn’t take precedence over another.
It is more how we handle the waiting. What we can do to keep the faith, to keep the joy in the journey and not let the despair, the dejection, the current circumstances overwhelm us.
Waiting is a transition.
A spiritual discipline.
My husband and I waited a long ten years as we battled infertility. Boy was it hard. Friends having babies was exciting but reinforced the lack in our lives. Youth we ministered to having babies out of wedlock was another punch in the gut. Then when our precious children arrived, multiple food allergies. Meanwhile my mum dying of cancer despite our intense prayers. Another season of waiting for healing that never eventuated.
The last two years of being isolated whilst enduring lockdown in the most lock downed city in the world due to covid-19, followed by mandatory vaccination, or exclusion if not vaccinated, has seemed to drag on. With restrictions being lifted, only with more enforced if unvaccinated – unable to enter any shops except supermarkets, pharmacy or the Post Office and unable to hold down a job or play sport or go to church or be involved in any community activity for anyone aged 12+ years due to not being mandatory vaccinated. Waiting for the bans to be lifted can seem unbearable, just like waiting to fall pregnant seemed unbearable. 18 years later, that is a dim memory. Thus, I am choosing to adjust my attitude and be thankful and content despite the situation our family is facing. I certainly do not want to have to ‘go around this mountain’ again due to not learning the lesson God is desiring me to learn in the ‘waiting’.
How can you steward this waiting season for your best outcome?
1. Determine which season you are in.
Some initial questions to ask include:
- Is this a season to share with a lot of people or to have one or two close confidants or just God?
- Who do you need to support you in this season?
- What do you need to do?
- Who do you need to become to be able to steward it when the promise comes?
- Where do you need to grow so that you are ready and able to properly steward the promise when it becomes evident in your life? What character traits, physical abilities, intellectual requirements will be necessary so that you can steward the outcome?
- What can you focus on now?
- Do you need someone to keep you accountable?
2. How can you remain content whilst waiting? How can you ‘wait’ well?
The Apostle Paul in the Bible is renowned for his writing about contentment. He wrote the letter to the Philippians whilst sitting in prison due to the action of corrupt officials. He was facing the possibility of execution for preaching the Gospel. If ever there was a time when you wouldn’t be content, it was then. But Paul managed to write these verses: Philippians 4:11b-13 “…for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
So often we can view life, the world, our situation as a dichotomy – two opposing or mutually exclusive aspects on life. Like good or bad. Often, though, we are called to hold the differing aspects of our life in tension. I feel this worldview may well assist our ability to be content in all circumstances.
What would it look like for me to be content whilst waiting?
- Be fully present in the now. Give up wishing for the future or for now to be no longer. Live your life and not put it on hold. Enjoy the present. Laugh. Find joy and gratitude in the now.
- Be faithful to that which God has called you. Your calling hasn’t changed. Your frustration may have though. Remain faithful to that which God has called you to do.
- Be careful what questions you ask God. Instead of when or why me, choose to ask what now Lord or how Lord do you want me to respond?
- Be focussed on God and others.
3. Waiting is a ‘surrendering’ season.
Surrendering your plans, your desires, your timing to God and His plans, His timing, His outcome.
- How can you turn waiting into surrendering?
- How can you use this time wisely and not waste the opportunities you currently have in this season?
- How can you embrace the waiting and realise that waiting is part of God’s plan for you?
- How can your attitude and behaviour change so that you realise God is using this season as part of His plan?
- What does God want to do in you while you wait?
- What do you need to still surrender completely?
- Where in your inner depths does God still want to be allowed to transform and embrace you?
4. This season is not just a waiting season. It is a growing and an enlarging season.
Usually, we don’t choose the season of waiting. Usually, it is thrust upon us. We do have a choice, though, in how we wait, how we respond during this season.
We can lose out when we feel we are just treading water and waiting. We can waste this precious season and the benefits we can acquire from the pain and frustration of waiting.
We have an invitation to grow in this season, to develop.
- What is your invitation in this season?
- How is God wanting to redeem this time for others?
- What does God want to bring about in your life so that you can laugh in the face of the future? (Proverbs 31:25)
- How does God want to use this time to triumph over the devil? What is the bigger picture at play?
- What if this season is purely learning to wait well? What if the sole goal of this season is learning to wait well? How does that change my view and help me embrace this season well? Waiting strengthens character. Isaiah 40:31 “but they who wait for 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.”
Too often, our desire is to obtain the goal as soon as possible, but what if this waiting season is not about you, but about the proclamation of the Gospel through your waiting? If your waiting displays God and His attributes in a whole new dimension, how does that change your attitude, behaviour, and responsibility?
Waiting is a spiritual discipline. To resist the waiting season can be to resist the very thing that is making you into the image of Christ.
Applicable Bible verses:
- Philippians 4:11b “…for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.”
- Lamentations 3:24-25 “I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him. The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him.”
- Romans 5:3-4 “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope…”
- Isaiah 40:31 “but they who wait for 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.”
- Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
- Psalm 33:20 “We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.”
- Psalm 130:5 “I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word, I put my hope.”
- Psalm 40:1-3 “I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the desolate pit, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.” The Passion Translation puts verse 3 as “A new song for a new day rises up in me every time I think about how he breaks through for me! Ecstatic praise pours out of my mouth until everyone hears how God has set me free. Many will see his miracles; they’ll stand in awe of God and fall in love with him!”
- Deuteronomy 31:8 “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
- Jeremiah 32:27 “Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah:“I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?”
- Psalm 94:19 “When the cares of my heart are many, thy consolations cheer my soul.” Or in The Passion Translation “Whenever my busy thoughts were out of control, the soothing comfort of your presence calmed me down and overwhelmed me with delight.”
- 1 Samuel 7:12b “Thus far, the Lord has helped us.”
How can I wait well during the season of waiting?
- Keep your eyes on God.
- Fast social media.
- Allow God’s voice to be louder and have pre-eminence than other people’s voices.
- Prophetic acts.
- Worship. Praise God in the big and small.
- Make a daily choice to keep your faith in God.
- Get into the Word and look for a promise from God. Hold on to that promise and make it a declaration.
- Look at what you are saying every day. Are you negating the promise by how you speak? Our words do not return empty. Isaiah 55:11
- Stay fully present in your current situation.
- Remain faithful.
- Choose to trust God and look at how you can grow.
- Pray for others you meet who are also navigating this season.
- Daily relinquish control.
- Re-examine expectations. Unmet expectations are painful, so it may be time to look at lowering or changing your expectations.
- Look to what new song God is putting in your mouth. Psalm 40:1-3
- Celebrate the ordinary.
- Create memory stones from how God has come through in the past. Remember the times God has worked miraculously in your life so far. Joshua 4
How exciting it is to learn to wait well and not have to re-learn the lesson because the first time we didn’t undergo the character transformation that was purposed for us.
Faith comes from surrendering not striving. Surrendering completely in this season is the invitation we can embrace fully.
Let the words from 1 Samuel, Psalm 94 and Psalm 40 be true for us as we wait well.
- 1 Samuel 7:12b “Thus far, the Lord has helped us.”
- Psalm 94:19 “Whenever my busy thoughts were out of control, the soothing comfort of your presence calmed me down and overwhelmed me with delight.”
- Psalm 40:3 “A new song for a new day rises up in me every time I think about how he breaks through for me! Ecstatic praise pours out of my mouth until everyone hears how God has set me free. Many will see his miracles; they’ll stand in awe of God and fall in love with him!”
Prophetic Activations / Exercises to incorporate into your week:
Every blog post I list 5 prophetic activations/exercises under children/family, group, beginner, intermediate and advanced. The purpose of these exercises is to practice to help us hear God’s voice in a clearer manner. They sharpen our senses to hear and see and sense God and His way of communicating with us. This enables us to grow in our relationship with God and also to impart to others what God tells us for them. Feel free to use as many of these activations each week as you can. The more you practice, the sharper you become at hearing God’s voice. Enjoy! Remember that whenever you give another person a prophetic word or picture etc, please make sure that it is encouraging, edifying (strengthening) and comforting (1 Corinthians 14:3) and that it comes from a place of love.
1. Children / Families Activation: Ask God to highlight a person who is feeling isolated at the moment. Brainstorm how you can show love to this person this week.
2. Group Activation: Ask God to highlight a refugee group or asylum seekers where you can show love practically to them this month. Compile a prophetic word to release to them as well.
3. Beginner Activation: Spend time with God asking Him to remind you of the memory stones in your life where God has performed a miracle for you. Grab some rocks/pebbles and textas/paint and physically create memory stones that you can place in a special spot to remind you of God’s goodness.
4. Intermediate Activation: Spend time with God asking Him to show you someone struggling in the waiting season. Ask God to show you how you can express His heart to them. Craft a prophetic word for them as well.
5. Advanced Activation: Identify a person of major global influence at the moment. Spend time with God gleaning His heart for this person, then declare it aloud into the atmosphere. You may even feel inclined to write to them as a means of releasing it to them.