In seasons of waiting, our thought life tends to go between two extremes. We either feel helpless or empowered. Frustrated or purposeful.
I don’t believe I’m alone when I say I often camp in the former mindset. I wonder where God is. Often, I come to him with an anxious heart, waiting to hear from him with clear guidance or direction, but instead I hear nothing.
When I did a Google search of all the scriptural references to waiting, not one of them refers to waiting as a helpless time.
Not one. Instead, waiting is referred to as a source of strength and blessing. It’s a time when followers look to God with eager expectation of what he’ll do. (Romans 8:19, Psalm 27:13-14, Micah 7:7) As I read each of these hopeful descriptions, I asked myself, “When was the last time I waited with eager expectation?”
Much of the time, I’m wondering where God is. I wonder if I heard him wrong and sometimes question whether or not he cares about the circumstances our family is facing. Perhaps you’ve been there too?
Most of us see the wait as a stuck place. We want to move forward, but feel like our feet are burrowed down in wet sand. If we’re unsure of our direction, how do we put one foot in front of the other?
If we want to become unstuck, we must start with our thinking. Why? Because our thoughts become words and our words become actions. In short, they determine the trajectory of our entire lives. So if we think God has abandoned us, our lives will reflect that belief.
Recently, I took a deep dive into the lives of men and women of the Bible who endured long seasons of waiting.
If we looked at their circumstances alone, they had every reason to give up hope and abandon the promises of God. But they kept going. They persevered in the face of all odds, deterrents, and obstacles.
Noah spent over one hundred years building an ark and then waited for three hundred and eighty-seven days with his family for the flood waters to clear.
Joseph waited years for God to deliver him from the hands of his oppressors, and spent years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.
Jochebed waited while her son, Moses, was raised by Pharoah’s daughter. Her sacrificial love led to God using him to deliver the nation of Israel from slavery.
As I studied these men and women, I felt God asking me an honest, heart level question: Were is your hope? Then, he got even more specific. Is your hope in an answered prayer? Is it in reaching a specific goal or accolade or in receiving healing from an affliction?
God wants to give us the desires of our hearts. Like a mother or father who is filled with joy when they see their child’s eyes light up, he delights in seeing us prosper. But do you know what he wants even more? He wants for us to delight in him.
“Delight yourselves in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Psalm 37:4 NIV
I often overlook the first part of this verse. I want what I want. And I want it now. Perhaps you’re there too? But despite my often toddler-like attitude, every lasting joy in my life comes from aligning my heart and my desires with his. It comes from seeking him first, and then presenting my requests to him.
So friend, where is your hope?
As you think about this question, I want to offer a three truths to remember in seasons of waiting:
- The object of our wait is a point on our journey, not a destination. Whether we receive what we’re asking for or not, we will still be living lives filled with ups and downs, valleys and roadblocks.
- By fixating on what we don’t yet have, we miss the gifts right in front of us. This is the enemy’s oldest trick in the book. He deceived Eve into thinking she lacked something when their situation was perfect in every way. (Genesis 3:1)
- Waiting is a time where we must shift our focus from the object of our wait to the work and soul alignment we can do right here, right now. God has placed us where we are for a specific purpose, which can be fulfilled whether we’re waiting for something or not.
Waiting is not a time when we sit and look for God to show up. He’s already here. His work doesn’t stop simply because we can’t see it.
Let’s spend time in prayer today asking him what he has for us to do today. He has placed us in a specific time and place to make an impact on the world around us. Sometimes the impact may seem small, but do you know what’s amazing? When we are obedient with the small things, the ripple effect is big.
God, thank you that you are a Father who sees us even when we don’t see you. Thank you for going behind us and before us, and placing your hand of blessing on our heads.
If we want to see God in the midst of our struggles, we have to change the way we look for him. My book, Shift: Changing Our Focus to See the Presence of God, is filled with practical tools and insights to help you do so.
Here’s what one reader said after reading it:
“Abby McDonald’s heart for her readers shows through in every word. Genuine and gentle, she leads us to a place where we can shift our lenses to see God’s presence in all the moments: good, bad, and—especially—in between. Because as much as we like to focus on the highs and lows, God longs to meet us in the middle. Shift’s practical approach will help you see Him there.” -Kelly S.
You can pick up a copy of Shift by clicking the image below.
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