What to Do While You’re Waiting on God

My five-year-old granddaughter asked me how long it would be before her family moved into their new house. Since six weeks is hard for a five-year-old to grasp, I took her to a wall calendar and showed her how long until moving day. Now, each day, as she marks off calendar squares one by one, she can see how long before the waiting is over.

I don’t know anyone who likes to wait. Do you? (I didn’t think so). Waiting is hard work and, at times, can even test our faith. It’s especially difficult when there are no guarantees that our waiting will ever end in this lifetime. Desires we long for, prayers we’ve been praying, and news we are waiting to hear can tempt us to be impatient, discouraged, to worry, and even to wonder if God really cares.

Perhaps this is why the Bible talks so much about waiting. God wants us to know that waiting is far from a passive activity in which we do nothing. In fact, Scripture teaches us that God wants us to actively participate in the work he desires to accomplish. Waiting strategically can cultivate good fruit in in our lives such as patience, perseverance, and endurance. It also draws us closer to our Savior and points those who are watching us to the gospel.

To that end, here are ten things to do while you wait.

1. Believe that the God who saved you hears your cries (Micah 7:7).

Have you ever felt like your prayers are bouncing off the ceiling? Perhaps, like me, you have prayed for years about a concern, but God has seemed silent. That’s where God demonstrated his love and mercy towards us when we were still his enemies.

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:32)

In other words, the cross is our guarantee that God is for us and is committed to give us everything we would ask for if we knew everything he knew. We can be content with that and wait patiently for his answers.

2. Watch with expectancy, but be prepared for unexpected answers (Psalm 5:3).

While God has been faithful to answer many of my prayers, it’s often been in far different ways than I would have anticipated! God knows that the only way to do what he and I both desire will, at times, involve varying degrees of discomfort in my life.

Growing in humility means pride has to be done away with. Learning to love like Jesus requires us to say no to self’s constant demand for selfish ambition, wanting our own way, and putting ourselves first. Growing in patience inevitably involves some form of waiting, whether in a long line at the grocery story or a lifetime for a loved one to come to Christ. When we lay our requests before him, it is by faith that we wait and watch in anticipation of God’s good work in us and others.

3. Put your hope in his Word (Psalm 130:5-6).

We can be tempted to put our hope in things that may disappoint us in the end. We can hope a doctor will heal us, a teacher will pass us, a spouse will love us, our employer will reward us, or a friend will help us. But it is only when we put our hope in Christ that we can wait with confidence and know we will not be put to shame.

It seems that God allows us to experience disappointments in life to teach us that nothing else will truly satisfy or provide us with a firm foundation to stand upon. God’s Word alone is unshakable. We can wait for the Lord knowing that, no matter how dark the night is, his light will break through in our lives, bringing abundant joy through a more intimate relationship with Christ.

4. Trust in the Lord, not in your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Why is it so tempting for us to depend on our own wisdom rather than the wisdom of our all-wise God? What makes us think that we know better than he does what is best for us? Scripture speaks clearly about how to live life abundantly forever with Christ; yet, all too easily, we justify our sin, declare distasteful commands irrelevant, and do what is right in our own eyes. Seasons of waiting reveal where we are placing our trust.

5. Resist fretting, refrain from anger, be still, and choose patience (Psalm 37:7-8).

It is easy to say we trust God, but our response to delays, frustrations, and difficult situations exposes where we are actually placing our hope. Are we convinced he is listening? Do we believe that he’s good? Do we accept that our circumstances are sovereignly ordained? Do we doubt that he really cares about us? When we choose to wait quietly and trustingly, we not only honor God but encourage others to put their hope in him as well.

6. Be strong and take courage (Psalm 27:13-14, 31:24).

I have found that one of my biggest battles in long seasons of waiting is fighting fear and all its buddies like anxiety, fretfulness, and worry. A voice in my head asks, “What if this happens? What if God doesn’t answer my prayers?” It is the gospel that has taught me that enduring strength and courage will never be found in myself but in Christ. I am empowered to be courageous when:

  • I meditate on the sovereign rule and power of God and his abundant goodness in sending a Savior to set me free from sin.
  • I remember that my “light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17).

Jesus said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” Ever. He is Immanuel, God with us. That’s a promise that will sustain us while we wait for answers to prayer, but even more, as we wait for his triumphant return!

7. See it as an opportunity to experience God’s goodness (Psalm 27:13; Lamentations 3:25).

When my focus is on my problems and what God has or has not given me, I am prone to grumbling, complaining, discontentment, bitterness, and selfishness. When I define goodness by what brings me the most comfort, happiness, and gratification in this life, then anything that threatens these things will tempt me to question God’s love and goodness.

God demonstrated his goodness when Christ absorbed the wrath of God that we deserved, making a way for us to be set free from the power of sin and our enemy Satan, who seeks to steal, kill, and destroy our eternal joy and peace. For those who have eyes to see, seasons of waiting offer countless opportunities to witness God at work in and through us for our eternal good and his glory.

8. Don’t go your own way instead of waiting for God’s promise (Acts 1:4).

Scripture offers plenty of examples of saints who got weary of waiting for God and chose to do things their way. I have given way to that temptation as well.

God’s goodness is promised for those who wait patiently for him! No matter how long. Regardless of how hopeless things appear to us. Even when it seems to cost us everything. “God is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to his power at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20). When we wait for him, we will never be disappointed.

9. Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful with thanksgiving (Colossians 4:2).

Another temptation we face when God does not seem to be answering our prayers is to stop praying, stop expecting him to act, while giving way to a spirit of cynicism, rather than thanking God for who he is and all he has done for us. While God may not answer in our timing or in the way we expect, he will accomplish his good purposes in our lives when we wait for him and persevere in prayer.

10. Remember the blessings yet to come (Isaiah 30:18).

As long as our hope is set on this life and things that gratify our flesh, we will likely feel frustrated, discouraged, and even hopeless. Jesus Christ came to offer us eternal joy and freedom from sin and, although we have been set free from sin’s power, sin’s presence is still at work in and around us. Thankfully, the gospel assures us, as believers, that God is for us and works all things together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).

During long (or even short) seasons of waiting, our hearts will be encouraged to remember that the best is yet to come! One day sin will be no more! We will be free from self’s demands and temptations and experience everlasting joy. So,

Set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” (Colossians 3:2-4)

Susannah Spurgeon, wife of Charles Spurgeon, counseled her own heart with these words:

The Lord has strewn the pages of of God’s Word with promises of blessedness to those who wait for Him. And remember, His slightest Word stands fast and sure; it can never fail you. So, my soul, see that you have a promise underneath thee, for then your waiting will be resting and a firm foothold for your hope will give you confidence in Him who has said, ‘They shall not be ashamed that wait for Me.’”

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land; But for you, O Lord, do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.” Christ is the answer! He is your rest and the treasure that you seek.

Wait for the Lord.

[Post Credit: Chosen and Called]

RELATED POSTS:

waiting on God

Linda Green is the Director of Women’s Ministries at The Orchard Evangelical Free Church (@theorchardefc) in Arlington Heights, Illinois. She blogs at Chosen and Called.

Date Posted: Aug 3rd, 2015

  • Jeff

    Very helpful reminders that I prayed through this morning…all 10 of tham. Thank you!

  • Dane

    Some good points . Any way you cut it waiting on God is very hard. I am not talking about your own prayers u hope He answers. I’m talking about a specific promise God gave you and told u to wait on it. And not to take it into your hands. Very hard to wait year after year and keep your faith that He will bring it to pass. Especially when it is a significant need that is not being met and you are suffering significantly in the circumstances He has given u to wait in. He gave me a promise same way He did Abraham. I have been waiting over 4 years. I don’t know anyone that has received a promise from Him and waited as long as I have. Only those in scripture. But I will continue to wait. Sister please get out of the babylonic captivity u are in with this church system. It is a whore, a prostitute!! Come out of her! The Holy Spirit of God revealed this to me in the Spirit. Then later showed me revelation 16-18. Jesus brought me out. It is wicked beyond comprehension. It is NOT of God, it is of the devil. It is satans doing. The great deceiver. “Come out of her my children so u will not participate in her sins nor receive of her plagues”.

  • Davidcrawford

    I will wait for the lord god bless you this David Crawford of Irvington nj.

  • pillar

    i waited on the lord since the year 2009 for a promise in my ministry and he began showing me the path 2016 from the month of April 6 years waiting but he just began showing me the signs .i have faced alot lost alot, miss alot but not as much as he have reserved for me .for it must come to past
    psalms 24 ;6 im on the way and i must harvest what i saw. i appreciate this motivation of the spirit about waiting on the lord it looks difficult but the revelation of the servant of God founder of this page just posted is just the truth .so i have been waiting and i will wait in everything he promise me and i call on somebody you reading you incoming to join us and wait on the lord and what i have to contribute as what God taught me is CLOSE THE EYES OF THE FLESH AND OPEN OUR EYES OF THE SPIRIT WHEN YOU ARE ON THE JOURNEY OF WAITING ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. let God pour more oil on you servant of God .

  • Brad Kell

    When did you get a specific promise from God ? I have been waiting and praying for 40 years for a wife. Have been trying as well. Where is she? Is God even listening? What has He done in this for me?….I have a lot to try to help, but nothing… I have lost hope…. My lifespan has a time limit even if his doesn’t…..

    • Greg

      Renew your hope, today, and determine to trust God as little child trusts a loving, kind parent. God is immeasurably more trustworthy and generous than even that adult. Ask and believe, it’s that simple , and, that difficult all at once. God brought the most perfect girl to me for a wife after much asking. He just suddenly did it and I knew in advance if meeting her that it was done. God will communicate this to you and you will know it without doubt….ask, trust, wait. I know it’s hard, but do it. God can’t wait to hear from you and is completely, utterly for you.

      • Brad Kell

        Thank you, wondering how long you had to wait, and your age when this happened? As for me, I have given up hope in this area of life, and moved on to making my life better, I don’t need a wife , or even a girlfriend to have a good life…. after a point in time , I just don’t care anymore, and probably wouldn’t accept one even if they came along….. thanks again

        • Jeniffer

          Trust God dear, I am also still waiting for the man, the right one a man who passionate for Christ.. And it’s not easy but every time I keep focus on God he show me a lot of wonderful things that gave me Joy… God Is Faithful he know what is the best for you..

    • Chris

      When u focus more on what u desire of God versus desiring Him your gonna keep waiting on a wife, then if u go out on your own and get one, she probaly wont be the best thing for you. Just try focusing more on God rather gifts/blessings/wants…..best believe He knows what you need. Much love brother

      • Brad Kell

        It almost seems. You are telling me to do this or that , and then God might think I am worthy…. or if I do this or that I will just accept how things are , and then not care about it anymore…. doesn’t matter anyway , I have given up hope and am done with thinking of haveing this in my life….. reading things like this article, and the comments just makes me more frustrated, so best wishes for everyone in their life, I am single and free of wanting this again……

        • Scott Johnston

          I’ve been there Brad. When you seek Him more than you seek a mate is when He can help you. He can’t, I repeat, can’t help you when you’re are in this spiritual state. Desperation brought me to this understanding when my wife of 28+ years left me. Yesterday she told me how much the lawyer was going to cost for the divorce, yet, I’m probably happier than I’ve ever been right now in this moment. Not because I’m happy about her wanting a divorce, but because I have found my true source of happiness in God. The refining fire (study it) is very hard but sooooo worth it. Prayer and REAL fasting for a day or two will open your spiritual eyes but beware you will suffer some death in the flesh, and it’s not fun. Things will be revealed to you. Seek Him with all of your heart, soul, and spirit. He will begin to show you, little by little, until you get it (Him). When you get to the point that He is what you want instead what your flesh wants, everything else CAN fall into place. He simply can’t help you until then because He would go against His own will (in doubt). Now He’s working on my wife and I believe He has literally shown me some of the greatness in our future….together. God is SOOOO goooood!!!!!!!!!

    • Bec23

      I don’t know if anyone is still following this thread, but I just had a suggestion. Rather than spending your time worrying, spend your time making yourself worthy of a good wife. When she comes along, what will you bring to the table? Improve yourself in whatever way seems most appropriate. Also, being negative doesn’t attract other people. Find something that makes you happy, and it will show. Maybe you are not ready for that awesome girl who is out there. Or maybe she’s been there the whole time, but you just weren’t in the right mindset to see her.

  • Terrance Farris

    Learning how to love God with all our heart and becoming content with him alone makes it easier to wait on anything… should’nt nothing come between us and God. Some of us have a high calling on our lives and He knows more than we do whether or not we’re ready for marriage, that promotion, that new house or car… because sometimes when we lose any of these material possessions it takes our focus and attention away for our first love…. And sometimes when we get them..

    • Brad Kell

      Sounds like if you do things God’s way He will help you, if you don’t you’re on your own…. I am tired of hearing you need to do to or be all this or that to get someone. And then God still doesn’t help you… doesn’t this seem a little strange

  • Jackie Gita

    Waiting on the Lord is the best thing ever, but it is not easy. The beauty is even when we stumble, He is faithful enough to bring us back to track. I have personally experienced this. Fighting the spirit of backwardness, but lo, one month i am waiting, one month i am back to my past. God’s grace is sufficient. I always get a dream or the preacher always delivers the message of letting go of the past and what belongs to the tempter. We need to look to the cross and keep on our knees till God will lift us. God bless you children of the most High.