Waiting is Not Wasted Time

Waiting… it seems like a dirty word that no one wants to talk about, but it’s so real for all of us. If we’re honest, we avoid the topic altogether because waiting can be painful and frustrating. I’ve experienced seasons of pain, waiting on God to heal me, sometimes physically, but most often, emotionally. When God tells you to wait, how do you respond? When God is silent, are you willing to still be faithful in the unknown?

I don’t know what it is for you; maybe you’re waiting on a child to come to faith, for a loved one to be healed, for resolution in your marriage, for marriage, or even just waiting to get out of the house and get back to your regular routine. Whatever you are waiting for, God has promises throughout Scripture that deliver hope, understanding, and meaning for these waiting seasons so you might see the truth that waiting is not wasted time.

Psalm 27 resonated with my heart as I was crying out to God in a season of waiting, and he spoke truth and wisdom through these verses. The end of Psalm 27 reads, “Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”

The truth and wisdom didn’t hit me at that moment – more like shock and disgust. The idea of being “strong and courageous” in a season of waiting? That makes me cringe a little as if waiting wasn’t hard enough on its own. When I think of how I wait, it’s not strong or courageous; it’s more like sitting at the kitchen counter, leaning over and staring at that big piece of chocolate cake that I can’t have until I’m done with my commitment to Whole 30. I stare and drool instead of seeing the good things I’m doing for my body and the healthy habits I’m creating in the meantime. Instead of allowing it to spur me on and strengthen me, all I can focus on is the one thing I’m waiting for. I wished the Psalm read something more along the lines of, “Wait for the Lord, but complain and cry a little along the way” because that would be much easier to achieve.

So how in the world can we practice strength and courage in the waiting? I looked at the verse before this one, and Psalm 27:13 reads, “I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!” What joy and exclamation David had as he wrote these words!

The goodness of the Lord is what we should be looking on. Instead of focusing so much on the one thing I am waiting for, I should be turning my attention to the goodness God is lying in front of me. The CSB translation of this verse reads, “I am certain I will see the Lord’s goodness.” As a One on the Enneagram, a true perfectionist at heart, I have a hard time, a REALLY hard time, admitting that I’m ever wrong. When I say something and declare that I AM CERTAIN of it, I have done my homework to ensure that I am 100% right in that statement, so this verse caught me off guard because I had to ask myself if I fully trusted that I would see the Lord’s goodness…

It’s not even about trusting that what’s at the END of the waiting season will be good – I know that chocolate cake will be DELICIOUS – but what about in the meantime, the waiting? I have a hard time recognizing that God works good things together while I’m waiting because it often feels like an unproductive season of nothing. I was sitting there reading this verse, still feeling like I don’t fully grasp this idea of trust, goodness, and being strong in the waiting, so I re-read the entire Psalm again because I’m stubborn and thickheaded sometimes (just me?).

God stopped me at Psalm 27:4, “One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.”

How often do you ask God just simply to dwell in his presence? In John 15, Jesus tells us that we are to abide in him and he in us so we can bear much fruit. The word “abide” has the same meaning as the word “dwell” that we see in Psalm 27. How often do I have just the SINGLE desire of abiding and dwelling with God? It might look more like doing something for him or being productive as I abide in his presence: journaling, reading Scripture, studying, etc. These are all good things, but this simple act of dwelling with him is what tied it all together for me.

Dwelling and abiding with God leads us to know his character, his love, and his goodness. When we know God’s character and goodness, we can wholeheartedly and certainly trust him in all seasons, even if we don’t know how long we’ll be waiting or suffering. By trusting his goodness in the meantime, we are strengthened and courageous while we wait for the Lord. We don’t have to wait for his promises to appear; they are already right in front of us every step of the way.

-Stephanie Yttrup, Bayside staff

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