The Waiting Game

Good things come to those who wait, right? Yes. Does it always feel like that? No.
 
The bible is full of stories of those who waited on God and those who didn’t. We will take a look at two of those in a moment, but first a little bit of my story…
 
When I first accepted Jesus as my savior at 16 years old, one of the first Bible verses I learned was Jeremiah 29:11: “‘For I know the plans I have for you’, says the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and future.’”
 
Wow!  I thought, God has a plan for me?! This 16-year-old girl, who made painful mistakes in her early teenage years, has a prosperous future? I could hardly accept it! But with the help of a few amazing friends, I chose to believe it. The rest of my teenage years, I still accepted this truth at surface level but never really dug into it. When I turned twenty, I decided I wanted to know God on a deeper level to really understand who He is and the plan He has for me. In my quest to know God, a few things became certain: 1. He did have a good plan for me (actually a great plan), 2. it wouldn’t happen all at once, and 3. it wouldn’t come easy…
 
With Hebrews 10:23 (“He who promised is faithful”) and Psalm 37:4 (Those who delight in the Lord shall receive the desires of their heart) as my backbone, I began to wait on the Lord for His perfect plan…
 
And when I say wait, I mean like waiting for paint to dry or waiting for your mom to stop talking to her “long-lost friend” in the grocery store… You know what I mean? The kind of waiting that is tapping your foot, sighing and checking your watch. You get the picture? That is called being impatient. “God, when will you reveal your gifts in me?”, “God, where is my perfect guy?! You promised!” And you know what that is? Complaining. Sound familiar?
 
In Exodus 5:22-6:12, Moses cries out to God asking Him why His people are enslaved. God answered, “I will bring you and your people out from under the yoke of slavery and I will bring you to the land I promised to you” (paraphrased). Soon after, through the Ten Plagues and the parting of the Red Sea, God saves the Israelites and there begins their journey to the Promised Land. You would think after being rescued from slavery that the Israelites would be thankful, right? Wrong. Numbers 11 says, “One day the Israelites started complaining about their troubles” (11:1 CEV). They were just saved from a life of slavery and are complaining! It isn’t just one complaint, either; their complaints are continuous and eventually lead them to forty years of wandering in the wilderness.
 
When I turned 22, I had enough of “wandering in the wilderness,” and I decided to take matters into my own hands. I wanted my perfect guy and I wanted him now! I bet that sounds familiar, too.
 
In Genesis 15, God promises Abram that he will have descendents as numerous as the stars. Abram believes Him, even though He and his wife, Sarai have no children and are way past child-bearing age. Sarai laughs at the thought of having children at this age, so much so that one chapter later, she gives her slave Hagar to her husband and Hagar conceives a child. An angel of the Lord appears to Hagar and says, “you will name this child Ishmael. . . . His hand will be against everyone and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.”
 
Abram and Sarai attempted to fulfill God’s promise on their own (AKA compromise) instead of patiently waiting on God’s perfect promise. That is exactly what I did. I got impatient and found a guy that fit most of the promise. I mean, who’s really going to meet all of my desires? A few months into the relationship, I realized I had made a mistake and wasted valuable time.
 
The great thing about Abram & Sarai’s story is that it didn’t end there… In Genesis 17, God changes Abram & Sarai’s names to Abraham and Sarah, meaning that they will be the father and mother of many nations. Then in Genesis 21, Sarah gives birth to a son named Isaac, and God blesses Him. Still, God didn’t stop there. He blesses Ishmael, too. Isn’t that neat? God didn’t just bless the promise; He also blessed the result of Abraham’s and Sarah’s mistake, after they chose to obey.
 
Throughout the book of Genesis, Abraham and Sarah continue to be blessed in many ways, but the coolest thing to me is that in Hebrews 11:8-12, the Spirit of God chose to mention them in the “Hall of Faith,” basically saying that they were blessed because they decided to believe that God was faithful.
 
That is the key, isn’t it? Deciding that God is faithful, no matter what? When we come to the realization that God is faithful, that HE WILL do what He promised, waiting doesn’t have to be “foot-tapping-watch-checking waiting” anymore.
 
Shortly after I ended my relationship with the wrong guy, I was reading Hebrews 6:12, which says, We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised [by God)” (NIV). In this scripture, God is instructing His people not to be lazy, but that doesn’t mean He wants us to make our own promise. He wants us to have faith and patience. As I was meditating on those two words, God revealed something to my heart that finally made everything click. God doesn’t want His children to wait. That word in itself means to “stay where one is or delay action until a particular time.” Rather than wait, He wants us to patiently prepare.
 
Patiently (adv): “In a way that shows tolerance for delays without becoming annoyed or anxious.”
 
Prepare (verb): “To make something ready for use.”
 
We’ve been given a promise, and waiting won’t lead us to receive it. We need to patiently prepare ourselves, making ourselves ready for use so that when the promise does come, we are ready. That sounds a lot like faith, doesn’t it? Hebrews 11:1 states, “Now faith is the confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not [yet] see” (NIV).
 
Has God promised you an Ephesians 3:20 spouse? Someone who is exceedingly above all that you can ask or imagine? Don’t just wait. Prepare. Read marriage books, study God-centered marriages, and grow so that when your God-given promise reveals itself, you are ready.
 
Is it your desire to have a baby? It’s God’s, too, but don’t just wait. Prepare. Read books on Godly parenting. Sow a seed by investing your time into the others’ children. Paint the nursery and buy the diapers.
 
Literally anything that God has promised you (i.e. health, financial security, a new job, etc.). He is asking you to patiently prepare – to trust that He is faithful and will bring about what He has promised.
 
Now, back to my story… Two and a half years have passed since I decided to patiently prepare myself for my future spouse. Over that time, I asked God to change my heart to be ready for my future spouse. I read numerous marriage books, listened to relationship podcasts, prayed for my future spouse, studied healthy marriages, praised God for my future marriage and chose to be content, knowing that God had my back and has set aside someone for me. Although this part of my story is still being written, four months ago, when I was least expecting it, God brought me to a man who meets all yes, ALL my desires.
 
GOD IS FAITHFUL!  
 
And He fully intends and desires to show you His faithfulness. But first, He needs us to transform our tendency to wait into a habit of patiently preparing.
 
-In love, 
Liah