A little over three years ago, I graduated from seminary. Since that time I’ve been looking for a variety of vocational ministry positions to no avail. In the meantime I’ve been actively involved in my local church serving on the men’s leadership team, as a Bible study leader, speaker, counseling, and involved in several other ministries as needed at my local church, in addition to my work at Servants of Grace and Theology for Life. Waiting on the Lord is difficult. Both our flesh and our instant gratification society teach us not to be patient but to snap our fingers and you can have whatever you want in minutes if you order it from a fast food restaurant or within a few days if you order it from an online retailer like Amazon.
Today you might be like me waiting on the Lord to provide that job you want, or you might be struggling with discouragement, depression, anxiety, and worry. I don’t have a formula for you to follow where all the sudden you won’t feel those feelings. Even if I did I wouldn’t give it because it wouldn’t work. What I do have is what the Bible teaches about waiting on the Lord.
Through waiting on the Lord God promises to renew our strength in Him (Isaiah 40:31). The Lord gives us great promises in His Word so that we’ll trust Him in the midst of storms, and in seasons where we’re waiting on Him to move on our behalf. Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Lamentations 3:5, “The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.” Isaiah 30:18, “Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.” Psalm 33:20-22, “Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.” Psalm 130:5-6, “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.” Psalm 27:14, “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” Micah 7:7, “But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.” Isaiah 64:4, “From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him.” Psalm 25:4-5, “Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.” Psalm 37:7, “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!”
I’m still waiting on the Lord to open a pastoral position but what has changed is my perspective towards waiting. Instead of being anxious, overly analyzing every single thing, and worrying about tomorrow, I’m focused on the Lord. This may sound cliché to you to wait on the Lord and to be focused on the Him but it’s the truth. How do we do it though?
First, instead of focusing on our circumstances we are to focus on the Lord. During this past period of discouragement I was way too focused on the negative in my life and not on what the Lord was doing in and through my life. As my mentor from high school rightly noted life is all about our perspective. If we’re so focused on the negative in our life—we will become frustrated with life, discouraged, and depressed.
Second, we understand that every circumstance in our lives is a opportunity to grow in the Lord. God has planted you where He has need of you in this season. We don’t know how long that season is. We aren’t promised tomorrow or even the next breath. This is why we need to understand that every circumstance of our lives are used by the Lord to help us know Him more.
The Lord takes what was meant for evil and redeems it. He turns around what was meant for evil and uses it for good in the lives of other people. This is where our life story fits within the overarching story God is telling in the gospel. God saves us through the gospel for the purpose of our story becoming His story of how He is saving us, growing us in His grace, and will one day glorify us. Understanding this at not only an academic level but at a heart level has truly changed my life and helped me to see that waiting is hard, but that He is using this time in my life to teach me lessons I need for the future. The same is true for you. Understand that the seasons of life are governed by the hand of a sovereign God who loves you and cares for you will help you to face the present and the future with confidence in God’s sovereignty..
Finally, we understand that God will use what we’re going through to help others. As I was just mentioning every circumstance of your life is governed by the Lord. He turns around what was meant for evil and uses it for His good. As you begin to understand this your perspective towards trials and suffering will change. You’ll begin to understand that waiting is good for you both personally and professionally. You’ll also understand that what you are going through right now is meant to not just help you but provide a means of comfort to others. This is why we should place our lives in the hands of our God who loves us, who intercedes for us, and who seeks after us so faithfully.
Lastly, let me encourage you as we wrap up this article. If you are tired of waiting understand that God is not tired of you. His burden is light and He invites you to take your heavy burden to Him. I have to do this often. It is hard waiting on the Lord to move when I think I deserve it. The truth of the matter though is I don’t deserve anything. Everything I’ve already been given is a gift of His grace. The same is true for you. So join me in trusting Him, looking to the author and finisher of our faith who loves us and intercedes for us even now. Let us commit to growing to being the men and women of godly character, God calls us to be, and watch as He uses ordinary us in powerful ways for His glory.