Waiting on God
We’re not meant to sit around and do nothing while we wait for God to do His thing.
Whether you’re looking for a job, hoping to get married one day, trying to have a baby, anticipating a necessary surgery or praying for a loved one’s salvation, you probably know what it’s like to wait for something important to you. Sometimes we don’t have a choice and we just sit tight while we wait to see how God’s timing and plan will unfold. Other times, we try to take matters into our own hands and do whatever we think it takes to get the job done. The problem is, both those reactions can lead us into sin and disobedience.
You may wonder how waiting on God can be sinful, particularly if you’re not trying to manipulate the situation to get the results you want. Remember that sin isn’t only a physical or outward behaviour—it can be committed in your heart, too. You may pride yourself over waiting on God’s timing without meddling, but if you’re not content in that waiting, if you’re not truly trusting His plan but are simply resigning yourself to it, or if you’re feeling resentful because you’re not seeing the results you’d hoped for…that’s sin.
So, how do you wait on God in a way that honours Him? The Bible is full of examples of and verses about waiting so a topical study on patience would be a good place to start. It may also be helpful to reconsider your understanding of the word “wait.”
Have you ever wondered why the people who serve you in restaurants are called waiters and waitresses? They are waiting on their clients. That’s not referring to the long minutes they stand by your table while you’re trying to decide between the Fettuccine Alfredo and Thai Chicken Mango Salad. It refers to the service they are giving you—their availability (in good restaurants, at least) to respond to your requests and meet your needs.
This is a good definition to apply when we talk about waiting on God. We’re not meant to sit around and mope and do nothing while we wait for God to do His thing. Instead, we should be ready and willing to serve Him in any way that He calls us to, putting aside our own agendas, wants and aspirations. Like Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Samuel, and Jesus Himself, our response to God should be: “Here I am!”
It’s also important to beware the delayed gratification trap. You no doubt have learned by now that instant gratification can sometimes result in dissatisfaction in the long run. Delaying gratification creates a waiting period that may help you see that what you’re waiting for isn’t what you truly want after all. The temptation that seems irresistible at first may not interest you five minutes later or five days later, so it’s worth disciplining yourself to hang on for a bit.
However, waiting on God and delaying gratification are not the same thing. Gratification of any kind shouldn’t be the main goal. The whole idea of gratification is going after what you desire. But what if what you want most—what if the gratification you’re willing to wait a long time for—isn’t in God’s plan for you? Just because you’re being patient, it doesn’t mean you’re doing the right thing. Satan doesn’t care if you sin now or later; he just wants you to fail.
In my experience, when you let go of your plans and just start living in daily obedience, that is when you are truly gratified. Instead of anxiously waiting for your dreams to be realized, ask God to lead you where He wants you to go, to align your heart’s desires with His and to give you patience while you wait for Him to reveal His will to you.
Ann-Margret is a full-time writer living in Montreal, Quebec. Her fourth devotional book for tween girls, Truth, Dare, Double Dare, hit stores in October 2014. Visit www.annhovsepian.wordpress.com or www.facebook.com/ann.hovsepian.author.
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