The Art of Waiting
My father and grandfather are two of the most patient men I have ever known. Unfortunately, that trait didn’t get passed down to me. It’s not that it wasn’t taught but that I couldn’t seem to apply it. I always found it difficult to wait as a child and still do as an adult. But as I grow older, I’m learning that there are valuable lessons to be learned in seasons of waiting. The quicker we learn and submit to God’s will, the more we will learn in our seasons of waiting.
In a few weeks, I’ll be as old as the original number of ice cream flavors at Baskin Robins. (If you don’t know, I’ll wait.) Many of my friends are married and have a few kids by now. And then there’s Worth, party of one. It’s tempting to want what your friends have and seem to enjoy so much, but comparison is tremendously destructive. It is the thief of joy and will consume you with jealousy. This is one of the hardest lessons God is teaching me in waiting for a spouse.
Recently, Pastor Brad took us through the Sacred Secrets of Marriage. I was particularly struck by the section on sleeping in God’s will, the concept of patiently and quietly waiting for God to reveal something or bring it to pass. Some mistakenly adopt passive waiting, opting to do little to nothing until God clearly directs them one way or the other. All to often, I’ve been guilty of anxious waiting, worrying about a situation where I think God is moving too slow. Neither of these are God’s perfect plan for us. Instead, He wants us to actively wait on Him, working in faith until He supplies our need. Lamentations 3:26 says that “it is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.” One of my favorite verses, Psalm 37:4, teaches that if we delight ourselves in Him, He will give us the desires of our heart. So God intends waiting to be a time that we are living a life fully submitted to Him with a steadfast hope and trust that He has our best intentions at heart.
I must admit, I never thought of singleness as a gift; but I’m learning each season of life is a gift because it all depends on perspective. The apostle Paul claimed to have the gift of singleness, and God granted Him an incredible ministry that might not have been possible with a large family to care for. In my season of singleness, I’m learning to better use my extra time and develop talents that the Lord has given me. While I greatly desire to be married and have a family, I’m slowly accepting that God has something for me in this season that I cannot learn any other way. I know that He said it is not good for a man to be alone (Gen. 2:18), but I also believe He won’t withhold anything from those who walk uprightly (Psalm 84:11). He knows my needs and how to meet them so much better than I do.
I take great comfort from giants of the faith who waited much longer than I. One of my favorite quotes on waiting comes from Warren Wiersbe:
“God is not in a hurry. He kept Abraham and Sarah waiting twenty-five years before Isaac was born, and Isaac and Rebekah waited twenty years for Esau and Jacob. Jacob had to wait fourteen years to get the bride he really wanted, and then he had to serve six more years to build up his flocks so he could be independent, a total of twenty years. Twenty-two years passed between Joseph’s betrayal by his brothers and the brothers’ reconciliation in Egypt. God is not in a hurry because all His works are done in love. “Love is patient, love is kind” (1 Cor.13:4). Let’s be grateful that God takes His time.”
So my waiting journey continues. One of my daily earnest prayers is that God will provide me a wife, and I don’t believe that prayer has fallen on deaf ears. I believe that my heavenly Father has heard my prayer but is telling me to wait. God expects us to wait actively though so I can’t expect her to come along without doing anything. I’ve got to take the initiative while seeking God’s perfect will.
Elisabeth Elliot describes God’s purpose in waiting so well: “He makes us wait. He keeps us on purpose in the dark. He makes us walk when we want to run, sit still when we want to walk, for He has things to do in our souls that we are not interested in.”
While I might feel like I’m in the dark right now, I have faith that God is doing a work in my heart and soul that is preparing me for my future bride. I’m resting in that promise tonight.