I am not a fan of waiting. At all.
And yet here I find myself a year into the adoption wait for a child. In all actuality, we've been waiting for four and a half years for God to grant the desire of our hearts. This wait just hangs over us—seemingly unending. This wait puts our ministry on hold.
"Second only to suffering, waiting may be the greatest teacher and trainer in godliness, maturity, and genuine spirituality most of us ever encounter.” Richard Hendrix
Every day I pray like so many Bible heroes, "How long, O Lord?" And He remains silent. And so, I wait; and wait. . . And wait.
So, what's a girl to do in the waiting?
The big question is how to wait well. In his book Waiting, Ben Patterson says, “At least as important as the things we wait for is the work God wants to do in us as we wait.”
God’s chosen pace, as well as his chosen place for us—that bewildering, confusing, painful place where we feel like we’re stuck—is redemptive. More than we know. There is more at stake than we can see and more going on than meets our eyes.
To wait with grace requires two things: Humility and Hope.
Waiting with Humility
Humility comes from being very clear that God is God and we are merely his creatures. Humility recognizes we exist for God's sake, not he for ours. Only the humble can wait with grace, for only the humble know they have no demands they can lay on God and his world. Only they know life is a gift, not a right. Being humble is having a sober grasp of the place we occupy in God's world.
The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life. (Proverbs 22:4)
Waiting with Hope
Hope is essential to waiting. Why wait unless there is something worth waiting for? There is a logic to the world's frenetic grasping for everything now. The world has given up on a future that is anything more than an extension of the present—eternity is a vague unknown. However, for the follower of Christ, eternity is promised and so hope is foundational.
Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5:2-5)
Learning to Wait
There are no "Ten Easy Steps to Better Waiting." Because waiting is anything but easy, it requires an attitude of humility and hope that we don't come by naturally. And so, we must cultivate that perspective. If we are going to learn to wait, then we must wait.
God gives us two gracious promises when we are waiting long:
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. (Isaiah 64:4)
He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; 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 40:29–31)
Like Abraham and Sarah, God works for us as we wait for him. He will bring renewal to our weary heart.
So be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD.” (Psalm 31:24). He is able to do what he has promised. Until that promised is realized, take heart from the verse we have on the wall of our empty nursery:
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:23)