Waiting for answers can be hard. Especially when it feels like nothing is happening.
Last week we talked about why we shouldn’t settle for a quick fix life and instead choose to wait for God to show us the opportunities He stitches into our pain. Because when we stop trying to outrun or out maneuver our pain, we often find God’s better way.
The formula seems simple enough:
Lean into the challenge + Wait on God = Find the better life He wants for us.
But I know I’m not alone when this equation stirs up some frustration and causes me to think: “Easier said than done!”
Maybe you’ve made up your mind to lean into a challenge. Your decision is firm. Your commitment to wait is absolute. And so you begin…waiting in the silence…waiting in the chaos…waiting in tears…waiting for answers…waiting for something to change in your circumstances… waiting and waiting until you’re discouraged and tired and begin wondering if you’ve got what it takes to keep waiting.
So how do we do it?
How do we find the patience to keep waiting for answers when it seems like nothing is changing?
By focusing not on our problem or circumstances, but on the power and faithfulness of the One we’re waiting for.
If that sounds like another big assignment you’re not quite sure how to tackle, here are three keys to waiting well, even when we begin to feel a little frantic.
Start with prayer and praise.
When we’re hurting or distracted by our pain it might seem nearly impossible to pray or sing God’s praises. But have you ever tried to sing God’s praises and worry at the same time? It’s not easy. So when the psalmist sings praises to the Lord and encourages us to do the same, it’s with a tender heart that knows we will find rest and comfort there.
And as our prayers and praises ring out, we discover the next key to waiting well.
Remember who you’re waiting for.
“Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things he does for me.” (Psalm 103:2)
Remembering the amazing deeds of God makes waiting for answers more bearable. Because as we remember and celebrate what God has done in the past, our faith and trust in Him to take care of our future begins to grow. And when we have faith that our future is in the hands of our loving and merciful God, waiting becomes easier.
But what if you’re making every effort to remember how God has shown up for you in the past, and you can’t quite connect the dots to what that means in your current situation? Or what if you’re feeling overwhelmed to the point that you’re not even sure if God has demonstrated His faithfulness in your life? He’s got you covered.
“He causes us to remember his wonderful works. How gracious and merciful is our Lord.” (Psalm 111:4)
How incredible is that? He wants us to remember what He has done in the past so we will have confidence in what He is doing now and in the future. And He’s so gracious and merciful to us that He doesn’t demand we have a flawless memory (thank goodness!), but stands ready to help us when we forget. When we can’t or don’t remember, He brings His wonderful works to mind and causes us to remember.
But if praising and remembering still leave you struggling to hold on, there’s one more key to waiting well.
Don’t wait alone.
When Paul was in prison, he waited. When Mary learned she was carrying the Son of God, she waited. How did they do it? By sharing the waiting with others.
From his prison cell, Paul sent out a call for his friends and they responded. Timothy, Mark and others came to care for and pray with Paul and remind one another of God’s great power and wondrous deeds. They comforted and encouraged one while they waited together.
When Mary learned that she would spend the next nine months of her life waiting for the birth of Christ, and facing the shock, disappointment, disgrace and disbelief of her family and friends, she didn’t wait alone. She sought the company of Elizabeth. And together they remembered God’s faithfulness.
When we ponder the deeds of God together, remembering who He is and how much He loves us, it makes the waiting a bit easier. The time a little sweeter. So look around and ask God to show you who you might spend some time with while you wait. Encourage one another and remember God’s faithfulness together. And you’ll find your patience and confidence growing while your fear and doubt fade.
Growing in wisdom while waiting for answers.
The next time you find yourself running out of patience as you wait for answers, or feeling frustrated or panicky because it seems that nothing is happening and the answers won’t come, remember this.
When we draw near to God through prayer and praise, when we remember all the ways He’s shown up for us in the past, and when we stand side-by-side faithfully waiting together, we discover something even more valuable than a solution to our problems.
We discover that God is with us in the waiting. Growing in us the wisdom and faith we need for whatever lies ahead. Leading and guiding us toward the better life He wants for us. And in His presence, we will find the strength and perseverance we need to continue waiting well.