How often in life do we find ourselves waiting? Waiting for the weekend, waiting for pay day, waiting for traffic to clear up, waiting in line at the store… the list is endless. Lately I have felt somewhat “stuck” in a season of waiting, and I have to admit, I haven’t been handling it well. So many days have been spent resisting the waiting rather than viewing it as an opportunity to trust God and rejoice in the fact that He has good plans for me, even if I can’t see all of them quite yet. Not only does my resistance to waiting hinder me from trusting in God’s perfect timing, but it also obscures my view so that all I can see is what I don’t have, rather than the billion things that I do. Isn’t all of our life going to be spent waiting for something? Whether it be a small thing, like waiting in line for coffee, or a big thing, like waiting for a pathology report from your doctor, we will never be fully and completely satisfied until we are in heaven. As C.S. Lewis put it, “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” That being said, I want to wait well. I don’t want to postpone my joy until I have what I am waiting for, because I know that as soon as I get it, I’ll just be waiting on something else. I want joy that is rooted in Christ rather than in my circumstances.
I believe that God is intentional in each season of our lives, and that He doesn’t want us to wait until we have all our ducks in a row before we have peace and joy in Him. Goodness knows I would be waiting f-o-r-e-v-e-r. How, then, does God want us to wait? A few verses in particular have helped change my perspective on waiting, and given me hope that there is purpose to be found in those seasons.
“Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” -James 1:4
“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed.” -1 Peter 4:12-13
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” -2 Corinthians 4:16-17
My conclusion is that during seasons of our lives when we feel like we are waiting on some Big Things, God is perfecting our character so that we become people who are capable of greater joy, greater hope, and greater peace than we ever thought possible. It’s almost like the pain of waiting carves out space in us to be filled with more of the good stuff. The truth is, many of the things we’re waiting for may never come to fruition. We may never get that promotion or go on that vacation or have that house. It’s dangerous to put our hope in fleeting things like that (even though I do so all the time!) because they can never fully satisfy us. Knowing what we know about God, His character, and how much He loves His children, I think that if we don’t get what we are waiting for, it means God has something even better up His sleeve. It means that we will learn to put our hope in Jesus instead of the temporary things of the world. There are so many things out there that promise joy and fulfillment, and it seems like I have chased after every single one of them, but it is in Jesus alone that God promises we will never be disappointed.
“Those who trust in Him will never be put to shame.” -Romans 10:11