Author Ava Pennington
Author Ava Pennington
pedestrian wait sign

How Do You Approach Waiting?

 

Have you ever drawn the proverbial line in the sand and said,

“I’m done waiting. No more!”

We wait in lines at the grocery store. We wait on hold for customer service reps to take our call. And we wait for trains and buses to take us to our destinations. Then there’s the cumulative total of thousands of hours in a lifetime waiting at traffic lights!

Depending on the source of various studies, it’s estimated that people spend anywhere from six months to ten years of their life just waiting.

And our willingness to wait is directly linked to the perceived reward. Retailers know customers who have to wait in line more than ten minutes have a greater probability of leaving the store without completing their purchase. On the other hand, iPhone users have willingly waited in line a day or more to be the first to purchase the newest upgrade.

Disney has become an expert at managing wait times, or as they call it, queueing. Interactive diversions combined with the promise of excellent entertainment motivate theme park guests to be patient in their waiting.

 

When waiting gets personal

 

A recent study of the book of Genesis has forced me to confront my perceptions of waiting. For example:

  • Abraham waited twenty-five years for the son God promised him.
  • Jacob waited—and worked—seven years to marry the woman he loved.
  • Joseph spent thirteen years as a slave and a prisoner before God fulfilled his prophetic dreams.

What about you and me? Do we place time limits on God? How long is long enough when you’re waiting for a promise to be fulfilled? Or how long is too long when you’re waiting for suffering to end?

We say God is sovereign—in control—yet we grow impatient when His timetable doesn’t match ours. We call Him Lord, then push ahead of Him when waiting postpones or denies our desires. And we question God’s goodness during times of extended suffering or inconvenience.

 

Waiting is active, not passive

 

Are you waiting for God to fulfill His promises in your life and in the life of your family? What suffering or difficulty are you pleading with God to remove? And what are you doing in the wait?

All too often, we associate waiting with being relegated to the sidelines, twiddling our thumbs until God decides to act. But biblical waiting is active, not passive. While we wait, we:

  • Cry out to Him:
    “I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry” (Psalm 40:1 ESV).
  • Learn and study His Word to know His promises:
    “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope” (Psalm 130:5 ESV).
  • Draw strength from Him:
    “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31 ESV).
  • Rest in the knowledge that He hears us:
    “But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me” (Micah 7:7 ESV).
  • Pursue character development:
    “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope” (Romans 5:3-4 ESV).
  • Cultivate patience:
    “But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience” (Romans 8:25 ESV).
  • Cultivate perseverance:
    “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9 ESV).

How are you approaching your own time of waiting?

 

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16 Comments

  1. Dave

    About 70 years ago, my buddies took me fishing. After watching the bobber bob way more times than necessary, I took off my clothes and went into the water. Swimming was more fun than watching a bobber.

    My buddies yelled, “You’re scaring the fish!”

    “What fish?”

  2. Anne

    I also just finished that study of Genesis. One of my takeaways is that during those long waits, while we cry out to God, we keep moving forward….doing the next right thing….taking the next step that is before us. We do what we can in the short term and let God handle the long term. Sometimes we take a wrong step, but that won’t derail God’s plan and purpose if we are seeking Him.

  3. Dee Gassaway

    Thank you, Ava, for letting Our LORD’S own SPIRIT use you again to produce this wonderful teaching.

    I will share this with others, like myself, who can benefit from such encouragement.

    Be well, All…and Good day.

  4. Sue

    I just read this right now as I am sitting in an airport waiting for a 3 hour delayed flight. At first I felt anxious, lots of people, you know, COVID. Then asking why?? Then I thought, nothing happens by accident with God cause He is sovereign over all things. So what do I do as I wait? I read my friend’s blog post. And God sovereignly tells me what to do through this word from Him and Ava. No more anxiety, just peace…….and looking forward to being home.

  5. Karen Friday

    Ava, I like your point on how waiting is active and not passive. I think the passive perspective is what makes waiting so hard and what makes us so impatient. Love all your ways we can actively wait.

  6. Melissa Henderson

    Many lessons are learning during the season of waiting. I’m thankful for God’s plan and God’s timing.

  7. Janice D. Green

    I love your scripture references about waiting on God. They provide excellent helps with our mindset and focus.

    I’m forever looking for productive things to do while I wait. I also like to compare the waiting with struggles in general and have a standard prayer for this: “Father God, don’t allow this hardship (wait) to be in vain, but may it draw me closer to you and the purposes you have in mind for the situation.

  8. Ava Pennington

    What a helpful prayer, Janice!

  9. Jessica Brodie

    Great piece, Ava!! Waiting can get so hard, esp. because I’m such a “do-er.” I love your mention above that we can pursue character development in the waiting… that, plus knowing He hears us, helps so much.

  10. Nancy E. Head

    I once asked a friend, “How do you do it?” She had a husband, eight children, a dog, and a job. She said, “Well, sometimes, not very well.”

    That’s how I feel about waiting.

    Yet, I’ve learned that God works in the waiting, often more effectively than at other times.

    And if I know I’ll have a waiting time ahead of me, I try to make sure to take along a good book.

  11. Ava Pennington

    I do the same thing, Nancy!

  12. Yvonne Morgan

    I hate to wait but this last year with COVID has helped me wait a little better. Thanks fir the insightful post Ava. I love your suggestions on how to actively wait in the Lord. I will try them out.

  13. Melinda Viergever Inman

    An excellent post, Ava! We’ve been in a time of waiting because of trauma that impacted our family just as the pandemic began. It brought a series of disastrous outcomes and difficulties for family members. We are still waiting for resolution and justice, and so this list is what we work through each day, what we attempt to carry out, where we attempt to rest, how we pray, and how we hope to encourage those most impacted. God is good. He carries us through and provides for those impacted the most, along with all the rest of us. He will work it all out in his time.

  14. Lisa Quintana

    I am terrible at waiting. God has been working on my patience as that is not too evident in my life. So, I continue to wait for things because apparently I have not learned the lesson, nor has that fruit of the spirit developed much in my life! LOL

  15. Maryann Thurman

    God is never late!
    He knows it all!
    He sees it all!
    He allows it all!
    He can use it all!
    Especially, if we are willing to trust Him in the waiting, even when we don’t like it, or understand it. If in the suffering we let go, and realize His ways are not our ways. He alone holds our future in His hands. Even if it doesn’t look like what we thought it would, it will still be better than what we could have ever done on our own.
    Yes, Genesis was a great reminder of these things to me also, and has renewed my strength in the waiting.
    Thank you Ms. Ava for your faithfullness and willingness to serve. Love you!

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