Waiting is a part of life. We wait in checkout lines and traffic. We wait for doctor’s appointments and test results. We wait for the right job and relationships. We wait for celebrations, for birthdays and graduations. We wait for vacations and breaks. We wait for the changing of seasons, summer to give way to fall, winter to give way to spring. We wait for something difficult to pass, as the world collectively did over the last two years. We wait to be healed, for deliverance, for answered prayers. We wait.
Waiting seems to be required for formation, though, doesn’t it? Think physically how a baby develops over nine months in the womb or a child grows up. Think how a caterpillar develops through its stages into a beautiful butterfly. There’s physical formation during those times of waiting.
What about spiritual formation? As much as I would love to wake up and be fully holy, we know it’s a spiritual process in our lives by the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit (1 Peter 1:2). In the same way God saves us, He forms and changes us by the power of His Spirit. It’s a process—and one day, when Christ returns (another thing for which we eagerly wait, 2 Peter 3:12-13), those in Him will be glorified with Him (Colossians 3:4), and we will be fully formed. What a beautiful conclusion to that waiting for those who trust in Christ!
If so much growth can occur in the waiting, perhaps it’s something to embrace, to accept as a good part of life. That word wait includes with it hope and confident expectation. What if in our times of waiting, we saw it as an opportunity not to wait on the thing for which we wait, but as a time to wait on the LORD?
- To wait in His presence (Psalm 37:7).
- To know that He is God (Psalm 46:10).
- To trust Him with the outcome of that which we desire (Proverbs 3:5-6).
- To wait for what He is doing and to see His way unfold.
- To hope in Him and the truth of His Word (Psalm 130:5).
- To wait with His promises in mind (2 Peter 3:13).
- To know that He is the Sovereign Lord who rules over all (Psalm 103:19).
- To trust in His unfailing love and faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22-24).
- To believe in His goodness in our lives in all things (Lamentations 3:25-26).
- To wait courageously and fearlessly (Psalm 27:14).
- To focus on Him, to behold His beauty, to seek His face (Psalm 27:4).
- To pray and receive God’s peace (Philippians 4:6-7).
- To ask for a bigger vision of what is happening in this process.
- To believe God.
- To wait patiently with hope and confident trust and expectation.
As we wait, we can remember that God is a God of perfect timing. His ways are right. He is fully trustworthy. We aren’t putting our hope in something or someone who can’t be trusted, but in the One who does all things well.
What might then be the outcome of this posture of waiting and hoping?
Those “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
Our strength will be renewed. Think about it: waiting for God in a way that trusts Him actually will strengthen us, not deplete us. We won’t be worried or stressed. We will be confident and full of hope.
Finally, Scripture seems to indicate God also waits for us! He waits for us to turn to Him, to return to Him, to look to Him:
“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”2 Peter 3:9
There’s a mutual waiting:
“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.”Isaiah 30:18
Whatever we are waiting for today, let’s look at these things as opportunities to enter into the waiting with the Lord, with prayer and hope and conviction, knowing there is purpose in the waiting. And let’s ask ourselves: what might God be forming in me? And what might God be waiting for me to do? Where do I need to turn to Him anew in trust and faith?