Discovering the Power of Waiting

Waiting isn’t easy. 

In our day-to-day lives, there are so many things we end up waiting for. We wait for the bus, in traffic, and in the grocery store line. We’ve all sat waiting at the doctor’s office, even the coffee shop, and most of us have eagerly waited for a vacation to start.

A recent study in Britain found that by age 60, the average total time a person spent waiting in some line was nearly an entire year. Each year, in North America, people spend approximately 13 hours on hold with customer service and 38-50 hours in traffic, or more depending on their commute.

We all wait a lot. And we’ve been doing it all our lives. 

I remember waiting to turn 13 so I could finally be a teenager. I also remember counting down the days to get my driver’s license, to graduate high school, to get married, and to finish my graduate degree. If you think about it, waiting is our constant companion.

Why is it then that we are often caught off guard by all of this waiting? 

We’ve all stood in lines before, but when they’re not moving fast enough, we’re quick to get irritated by the lack of efficiency. Our schedules don’t allow for waiting. 

Yet, I remember the olden days when I would order things that would take 6-8 weeks to arrive; now, I can’t believe when my delivery notice reads a long time of 6-8 days. 

Perhaps we all have a different answer to that question, but here’s something we can probably all agree on: waiting doesn’t go away, regardless of the stage of life we find ourselves in – the only difference is that the things we’re waiting for change. Waiting isn’t fun, but it seems like God designed it, and the skill of waiting well might just be more important than we realize.

Of course, waiting isn’t only limited to our modern context. Throughout the Bible, we see many stories of how the people of God waited too. Abraham waited 25 years to see evidence of God’s promise. Joseph waited 13 years for his dreams to come true. The nation of Israel wandered in the desert for 40 years before they could enter The Promised Land. And David waited 15 years from the time he was anointed as king until the time he actually became king. What’s more, there are over 400 years between the Old Testament and the New Testament, where God’s people were desperately waiting for the arrival of the promised Messiah. 

It seems like even though we often mind waiting, God doesn’t. 
It also seems like waiting isn’t always a bad thing.

Even Jesus waited 30 years before he started his ministry. And today, every day, we wait for Jesus to come again and bring his everlasting peace. And with all the conflict in the world today, we long for the Prince of Peace to rule and reign. 

Waiting is a reality that we cannot escape. 

I think of when my ten-year-old son told me he desperately wanted to drive our family vehicle. He was confident that this was the best plan for his life, and there was no need to wait for a governing body to grant him permission to operate a motor vehicle. Of course, I would be a lousy parent and likely criminally charged if I was complicit in his unlawful request. My son certainly disliked my response and the idea that he had to wait for his dream to come true. I denied his request and asked him to trust me. I obviously could see the potential dangers and loved him enough to say, “Not yet.” 

God knows what’s best for each of us, and He asks us to trust Him the same way I asked my son to trust me. My son wasn’t happy with my answer, but today, he understands the wisdom and timing of my response and is grateful for both. Similarly, God knows things that we don’t know, and He sees things that we can’t see yet, and the act of waiting is an invitation to build our faith. 

So, how does God want us to wait?
The Bible actually has a lot to say on the subject; here are a couple verses you may recognize:

Psalm 130:5 says, “I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.”
Psalm 27:14 says, “Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord.”
Isaiah 40:31 says, “But those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength. They will mount up as wings as eagles; they will run, and not be weary; and they will walk, and not faint.”

Pastor Dave has often reminded us that the word wait comes from the Hebrew word quavah. One of the meanings is to eagerly look for but also has the idea of binding something together, by twisting. People would use this word to describe the process of making a rope, where they were intertwining different strands to make a strong cord. 

So, what does all that mean for us? 

It means that as we wait, or quavah upon the Lord, we are to take our lives and entwine them with the Holy Spirit of God. The amazing benefit of doing so is that a thread intertwined with other stronger threads is difficult to break. When we entwine our lives with God, it’s impossible for us to break because God cannot be broken

What does that practically look like? 

It looks like regularly going to church so that we can quavah through worship and the teaching of His word. It looks like joining our faith with other believers and enjoying the power of agreement through prayer. It’s spending time in His word, memorizing, and meditating on it. And using those same words to speak peace and hope over your situation. 

When we do these things, our waiting refines our character. It makes us into the people that God wants us to be. 

Today, you are likely still waiting for something in your life. You may feel stuck. You may want to fast forward this part of your life to get to the next chapter. But your time doesn’t have to be and shouldn’t be wasted in the waiting. God gives us the opportunity to grow and to prepare for all that He has for us during these times. 

Moses wouldn’t have been ready to lead the people out of Egypt without the waiting. Joseph and David wouldn’t have had the maturity to be in places of authority or handle such great responsibility if their character hadn’t been refined through waiting. We can only imagine what God is preparing us for as we wait.

God knows what He’s doing. And God is working in your waiting. Keep intertwining your life with His as you wait. Remember how He has worked in your life in the past and thank Him for it. Take time to ask for His will, not yours, to be done. 

He is a good God, and you can trust Him, even in the waiting.