Handling Life's Problems

Redeem the Wait

“Lord, how long must I wait? Will you forget me forever? How long will you turn your face away from me?” (Psalm 13:1)

I grew up on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. Our winters were monstrous. Snow began in October and some years didn’t let up until May. We didn’t get a few inches, we got a few feet. In April, I foolishly thought it might start to warm up. Most of the time it didn’t, and all I could do was wait for the misery of winter to end.

Waiting is frustrating. It tries our souls. Does anybody enjoy waiting? No? I didn’t think so.

Waiting for cold weather to change is frustrating; waiting for a difficult season in our lives to change is much more frustrating.

Maybe we’ve waited for years for our child or spouse to give their heart to Jesus. Maybe we’re struggling with health problems that just don’t seem to resolve. Maybe we’ve prayed for a turnaround in our finances so long we’re starting to wonder if things will ever change. Perhaps we’ve waited and waited to find a spouse or start a family and it just isn’t happening.

Waiting happens to everyone. That’s just part of life. But how do we handle a season of waiting? What do we do to redeem the wait?

Consider these three ways to redeem your wait:

  1. Look for ways to serve others. “Every believer has received grace gifts, so use them to serve one another as faithful stewards of the many-colored tapestry of God’s grace” (1 Peter 4:10).  Even when Jesus was on the cross, he was still concerned about the thief hanging next to him and about forgiveness for those who crucified him. Don’t allow a waiting season to keep you from caring about others. While you wait, find a way to serve.
  2. Seek a closer relationship with God. “Search for the Lord and for his strength; continually seek him” (1 Chronicles 16:11). Don’t let your relationship with God grow lukewarm during a waiting season. Read the Bible and pray. Go to church. Participate in a small group. Listen to worship music. Redeem a season of waiting by drawing closer to God.
  3. Believe God is working while you wait. “But those who wait upon God get fresh strength…” (Isaiah 40:31).  It may seem God is silent as you wait, but believe he is working on your behalf, even if you don’t see it. Believe he has a perfect plan for your life. Trust that your season of waiting is part of that plan and will result in fresh strength.

Sometimes, the words, “God’s perfect timing,” start to feel like a synonym for pain and disappointment. I get it. Sometimes the hope of spring in Michigan seemed like a cruel joke. But the truth is, spring always came, and God’s timing really is perfect. His plan is motivated by love, drenched in wisdom, and executed with impeccable timing.

Embrace the season you find yourself in today. If it’s a time of waiting, choose to redeem the wait. Trust that God’s ultimate plan for your life is flawless and his timing is precise and perfect.

Dear God, it’s easy to become impatient when things don’t happen according to my timetable. Help me trust in your wisdom and your plan. When I am in a waiting season, help me to be patient and redeem the wait. In Jesus’s name, amen.

Help—I’m Stuck!

“May he work perfection into every part of you, giving you all that you need to fulfill your destiny.” (Hebrews 13:21).

Have you ever been driving on the beach and gotten stuck in the sand? Or traveling in a winter storm and been stuck in the snow? Your wheels spin…and spin…and yet you stay in the same place. It’s frustrating.

Sometimes we feel that way about our lives. We try and try, but we stay in the same place. Maybe our long-held dream is still on hold. Maybe we’re in the same job, though we thought we would have been promoted by now. Maybe we have been praying the same prayer for months, or even years, but can’t see that we’re any closer to an answer. Maybe our ministry isn’t progressing as we hoped it would. And so we feel stuck.

But maybe we’re not stuck. Maybe we’re in training.

Consider David, the youngest of Jesse’s eight sons, the undervalued little brother who was given the menial job of watching the sheep.

When Samuel showed up to anoint one of Jesse’s sons, everyone was shocked when little brother David was selected to be the next king of Israel. Surely David must have thought his life was going to be different. But the next day he was back in the field watching the sheep. Historians believe that David spent two years watching sheep after he had been anointed king.

Day after day after day watching the sheep. Spinning his wheels, and seemingly getting nowhere. But David wasn’t stuck. He was in training.

God had some things to teach David during those two years. David learned how to care for and protect his father’s sheep. He learned to bravely fight and defeat any enemy that attacked the sheep. He learned to be faithful day in and day out. God hadn’t forgotten his purpose for David. David was destined to be king; God was just making sure David was ready.

David wasn’t the only one who went through a training time. Moses spent 40 years in the desert watching sheep before leading Israel out of bondage. Joseph spent ten years in prison before implementing a plan to save Egypt and Canaan in a time of famine. Jesus went directly from being baptized and set forth by the Father to 40 days in the desert with no company but the devil.

David, Moses, Joseph, and Jesus—all of them had a time when it looked as if they were stuck, but they were really being trained to fulfill the purpose God had planned for them.

Friend, it may look as if you’re stuck. You may be so stuck you think you hear tires spinning. But God hasn’t forgotten your purpose. He hasn’t left you. Waiting time is preparation time. Waiting is how you learn what you need to know to do what God called you to do.

When God develops character, he’s not in a hurry. God is patient. God makes sure we’re ready before he moves us into the next chapter of our story. Yes, often we’d like him to hurry, but he loves us enough to make sure we’re ready before moving us to the next phase. Because he loves us, we can trust him during the wait. And God’s purpose is totally worth the wait.

Dear God, I’m so thankful that you direct my steps. Even when I don’t understand your timing, I know your way is perfect and your purpose will happen. Help me be faithful in every season of my life, including times of waiting. Develop patience and trust in my spirit. Equip me to step into the plans you have for my future. Thank you for your wisdom and guidance. In Jesus’s name, amen.