I previously wrote that Christians aim to live a life that is centered on God, but you can also avoid one. I want to discuss this by looking at the life of Jonah so that you won’t avoid a God-centered life but cultivate one. You can avoid it for a...
A little over seven years ago in May 2012, I graduated from seminary with my second Master’s Degree. Since that time, I’ve been applying to a variety of pastor positions to no avail. While I’ve had a lot of interviews, none of them have resulted in me receiving a call from a local church.
In the meantime, I’ve served in the local church in a variety of roles since graduating high school almost two decades ago. Presently, I serve as a writer, editor, podcaster, and speaker living in Southern California.
Waiting on God is challenging, frustrating, and painful. See, our flesh and our instant-gratification-society don’t teach us patience. They teach us to snap our fingers and expect whatever we want in a matter of minutes.
Today you might be like me, waiting on the Lord to provide that job you want. Or you might be struggling with discouragement, depression, anxiety, and worry. I don’t have a magic formula that will ensure you get what you want in an instant. Nor do I have a to-do list for you to reach your best life today. And let’s be honest, you and I both know that won’t work.
Instead, what you and I both need is the Bible and what it teaches about waiting on God.
The Bible’s Teaching on Waiting on God
The Lord gives us great promises in His Word so that we’ll trust Him in seasons of life where we’re waiting on Him. Look with me now at some of the biblical teaching on waiting on the Lord:
- Lamentations 3:5: “The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.”
- Psalm 33:20-22: “Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.”
- Psalm 130:5-6: “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.”
- Psalm 27:14: “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”
- Micah 7:7: “But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.”
- Isaiah 64:4: “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.”
Focusing on the Lord
I don’t know about you, but I am often guilty of focusing too much on my circumstances. When we replay our situations over and over in our mind, we are not thinking about what is noble, pure, and good as Philippians 4:8 says.
If we are so focused on what is negative in our lives, we will never give thanks like we’ve been commanded by Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:18. And if we aren’t giving thanks, we will focus too much on our circumstances. We’ll become frustrated with life, getting discouraged, depressed, and full of anxiety.
Instead, what the Lord offers is for us to rejoice in Him (Philippians 4:4) because we believe that He alone is sufficient (Philippians 4:13). Such a perspective shift will help us to become focused less on our challenges and more on the Lord who helps us through our difficulties.
Challenges are Opportunities to Grow in Grace
Within the last month, a book project of mine got rejected by a major Christian publisher. And then I again got that dreaded email, though nicely worded, that I was rejected by a church for a pastor position I applied to.
Talk about a double whammy. It felt like a gut-punch. Needless to say, I didn’t respond well. I immediately went negative, but later in the evening, I went on a walk, had a good cry, poured out my soul to the Lord, and preached the gospel to myself.
Then, I walked back home, headed to bed, kissed my wife, and told her I love her. I prayed and hit my pillow to sleep for the night. I woke up the next morning, ready for the day, and refreshed in the Lord.
At the moment, that rejection from my book project and the church devastated me. But what I remembered while on my walk was that Jesus was thoroughly rejected in every way by humanity at the cross. I considered how my worst days are nothing compared to Jesus’s worst day.
It is because He was rejected by the world He came to save, I am now adopted, fully accepted, and loved by Him because of His finished and sufficient work.
The Seasons of Our Life Are Not for Us Alone
The seasons of our lives are not for us alone; they are for others also. When you grab hold at the heart level that God is faithful and good, you will wait on Him with faith in Him.
You will also trust him in the storms of life knowing that the storm may shake you, but you are held in the storm by none other than the Creator and Lord who secures your salvation in Christ alone.
You may say, “I get that in my head,” but it’s not just in the head where this truth should hit us. We need to know and experience it in our hearts. As I continue to grow myself in applying these truths to my own heart, I grow more peaceful and content in Christ.
To that end, I daily remind myself that the seasons of my life are governed by the hand of a sovereign God who loves me and cares for me. This truth helps me to face the present and the future with confidence in His sovereignty.
Perhaps today you are tired of waiting, sometimes patiently and sometimes not. What you need to understand is this: in Christ, you and I have been given everything, and all of it is of grace. No matter how long we have to wait on God, He is still good and sufficient.
We can trust the Lord while we wait on Him and look to the author and finisher of our faith, Jesus. who alone secures the beloved and who now faithfully intercedes for the people of God.
Let’s you and I commit as His friends while we wait on the Lord to trust and to grow in Him. It’s here in waiting on God where we will become men and women of godly character, useful to our Master so that He may use us to lift high the name of Jesus, for His glory.