Click below to listen to an audio version of this post on my Candidly Kendra Podcast:
On Monday we talked about the times when God says, “Wait.” The times when we are ready, willing, and perfectly able to do something good and something important, but God says, No. Hold on. Not this. Not yet.
Are you in a season of waiting? What are you waiting for?
Are you waiting for a family? For children? Are you waiting for the right job? Or your big break? Are you waiting for joy?
Once we understand that the waiting comes from the hand of God, rather than a situation out of his control, our next question is, “How are you going to wait?”
“Wait” might be God’s call to have a prayer meeting on the starting line.
I have a very distinct memory about waiting when I was a child. I was the youngest in my family. When I was four years old, my older brothers were both in school. Once my mom discovered I didn’t need a nap anymore her world opened up. No more racing home to get me into bed after lunch! She could visit friends, run errands, take those never-ending, coupon-laden, day-trips to the grocery store. And I was at her mercy. I have a very clear memory of one day when I went to the bank with my mom. The lines were long; we were in line for probably 45 minutes. I stood in line with my mom and I remember feeling content. I knew we were waiting a long time. My legs were tired from standing. But somehow I didn’t mind. I just waited. And I chatted with the friendly lady next to us in line. My mom was glowing. She feigned humility to the people near us and said, “Oh thank you! Yes, she is a very good girl. Oh yes, she’s always this good.” (That’s how I remember it anyway. Please don’t fact-check with my mom.)
Patience doesn’t come naturally. Waiting hurts.
But God’s Spirit is at work in us who believe in Him. He will give us his power to be content, to love others, and to trust him.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”
Galatians 5:22 ESV
To Be Content
Contentment is the feeling that even if things don’t turn out the way I’d hoped, I will be satisfied. I am pleased with my lot.
Does contentment come naturally to you? Yeah, me neither.
Not to blame everything on “our society,” but our society is so wealthy and consumeristic that it is actually realistic for us to have every expectation that we can better our situation if the need arises. Is the car getting old? Let’s get a new one. Is the house too small? Let’s move to that nicer, newer neighborhood. Is my husband unappreciative? He’s outta here. (Teasing with that last one…but really, that’s not entirely unlike the truth.)
We are so used to having an easy way to better our situation that waiting in contentment when we are at the mercy of God’s timing feels uncomfortable and can be very difficult. How can we grow in contentment during our season of waiting? We can find new satisfaction in the waiting by loving others and trusting God.
“A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh,
but envy makes the bones rot.”
Proverbs 14:30 ESV
To Love Others
In Monday’s post we talked about Moses’ long season of waiting. Today I want to talk about the apostle Paul.
Paul had important work to do. He was taking the Gospel out to the world! He said, “I’m all yours, God, send me!” But instead he sat unjustly in jail.
I know with absolute certainty how I would feel in that situation. I would feel completely frustrated, annoyed that this unjust treatment was stopping my important work, and wishing I could get out of jail so I could get back to work!
Spoiler alert: Paul responded differently than I would have.
“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.
Paul’s ministry – his purpose – wasn’t put on pause when he was in jail. It only changed locations! He knew he was called to take the Gospel to the Gentiles; but it is to God’s glory that Paul remembered that the jailer was a Gentile he was called to reach as well!
When God says, “Wait,” keep in mind that that might be God’s call to have a prayer meeting on the starting line, so to speak.
How can you reach out to others in your time of waiting? How has your waiting uniquely prepared you to love and minister to others?
When all else is at a standstill, our God is still with us.
To Trust God
When Paul and Silas sat in that prison, not knowing what God’s plan was for them, they prayed and sang hymns. In their hardship and trial, they reached out for God.
When all else is at a standstill, our God is still with us.
Even if we don’t understand why we must wait, we can turn to him and delight in his presence – even in the darkness!
The beauty of it is that when we delight in God, and spend time with him in prayer and worship, we remember who he is, and why we can trust him. Then we can step back from our difficult situation and know that our good and faithful God has it all in his hands.