I am in a season of waiting.
It has come as a result of a particular trial that, in God’s providence, He has thought good for me. This crucible that my loving and wise Heavenly Father has prepared for me has a purpose. I know that He is testing the genuineness of my faith (1 Peter 1:6-7) and that ultimately He will achieve an eternal glory that far outweighs my pain (2 Corinthians 4:17). It’s in the pain that I become acquainted with Jesus’ suffering—but truth be told, crying to the Lord in prayer and waiting for deliverance can be difficult.
But waiting with the right mindset has been, for me, the difference between experiencing a peace born out of trust as opposed to crippling fear and restlessness. It’s been a process, for sure. As I explore and learn from the Scriptures, my heart is being informed how to respond to God when He says, “Wait.”
Perhaps, like me, you’re in a season of waiting. What does it look like to wait with wisdom and a right understanding?
A Quiet Disposition
Lamentations 3:26 explicitly tells us that, “It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” Some people are more quiet and reserved by nature, while others are more gregarious and outgoing. But the idea of quietness here doesn’t refer to your inborn personality traits—it’s a frame of mind, your perspective. It’s a picture of a heart that is free of dispute, absent of disturbance, and peacefully resigned to God’s will.
Sometimes when we wait, a surge of defiance can rise within our heart to resist—we don’t want to wait! When actually, God invites us to experience waiting with a renewed mindset while trusting Him. God encourages and enables us to have a quiet heart. He says in Isaiah 30:15, “In returning and rest you will be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”
God is saying that these qualities actually possess for us, His children, great strength. Returning, rest, quietness and trust benefit us and make us strong as we wait.
Actually, Isaiah 30:15 is an exhortation to surrender. God is telling us to return (repent) from our natural tendency to depend on ourselves and trust wholly in Him. We need to put away our resistance, our self-reliance, our fears of the unknown, and our desire for control.
In waiting, we can be lured away from God by anxious cares and fall back into unhealthy patterns of self-reliance. We think we need to do something to fix it, or change it, or make it better. God is graciously humbling us in the waiting to help us recognize that we’re completely dependent upon Him. In the waiting, we grow to trust His sovereignty, omniscience, and compassionately wise counsel for every circumstance in our lives.
He invites us to rest in His ability and character. He compels us to trust Him to deliver us in His unique ways and timing. This frees us to remain in our rightful place as dependent children anticipating that He will act as I wait. “For since the world began, no ear has heard and no eye has seen a God like You, who works for those who wait for Him!” (Isaiah 64:4 NLT)
To drive this point of quietness even further, Ecclesiastes uses powerful imagery to describe three sets of hands. This use of symbolism is within the context of work, but certainly applies to three ways we can approach waiting.
It says, “Fools fold their hands and ruin themselves. Better is one handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and chasing after the wind” (Ecclesiastes 4:5-6 NIV).
The first image is that of a person with closed arms, a resistant heart and mind atrophied, ready to escape by taking a nap. This option carries its own set of consequences.
Another image is that of tightened fists grappling for the wind—anxiously striving to control every aspect of life’s outcomes. But life is filled with too many factors out of our control. Frustration and disappointment will be the result if we’re trying to be in charge of it all.
A third description is that of one handful of rest. This picture is an image of a hand outstretched to the sky, admitting we are powerless on our own. It’s a disposition of being willing and ready to receive from our Lord what He deems good as we wait on Him to fill the palm of our hand.
We tend to swing from self-reliance and chasing achievements to giving up—but God, in His lovingkindess, shows us a better way. A way of surrender and yielding to the One who is all-wise, all-knowing, all-loving and in all-control.