I was 23 years old when I started praying daily for my husband and 33 when I met him. From the time we came home from our honeymoon, we prayed the Lord would make us parents. It wasn’t until the day before our 3rd anniversary when we finally received a positive pregnancy test.
Waiting has often been a painful part of my story, but as I look back, I can see the Lord’s hand through it all. In many ways, the waiting was and is not complete, but in that sense I feel a kinship with many familiar Bible characters, and more so, the ultimate story of redemption. We are all waiting, aren’t we? How I long to wait well and in ways that honor God!
When it comes to waiting well, the following are five helpful principles I’ve learned during long seasons of waiting:
Be Honest with God. Your Heavenly Father knows you are in a season of waiting. He hears every cry of your heart, sees every painful tear that falls, feels every flicker of hope you feel. He knows it all, yet He longs for His children to be honest with Him, to wrestle with Him, and to continue to respond to Him in prayer, petitioning and trusting that He has not forgotten you. As Elisabeth Elliot said, “Waiting on God requires the ability to bear uncertainty, to carry within oneself the unanswered question, lifting the heart to God about it whenever it intrudes upon one’s thoughts.”
Be Honest with your Community. Don’t wait alone. Let others into your prayers, your hopes, and your discouragement. Let others hope for you when doubt creeps in, when your prayers feel stagnant, and when you don’t know what else to say. We can wait with our sisters in Christ, praying with and for one another, and actively participating in each other’s seasons of waiting. What a gift of grace!
Cling to God’s Word. Scripture is filled with seasons of waiting. From the beginning of time God allowed waiting to occur in the lives of countless men and women. From Abraham to Moses, from the Israelites to David, from Hannah to God’s people waiting for the Savior, each story is a picture of longing and waiting. When we look at the lives of these men and women, we witness stories of God’s faithfulness to his children. The often called “Hall of Fame” in Hebrews 11 references many of these faithful people who waited on God’s promises. They did not receive the fulfillment of it in this life. Their testimony is a reminder that all our waiting will be ultimately fulfilled in the life to come. “These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth…But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city” (vv.13,16).
Never Give Up. God is our perfect Father. Not only does He want you to be honest with Him, but He wants you to continue crying out to Him. It may be the softest and simplest prayer, but He hears it. He uses those consistent prayers as part of His plan to carry out His will in your life. God wants to give His children good gifts. There may be a time when God changes your desire or you feel like the Lord is telling you to not ask anymore, but until then, ask in faith. Pray, believing God can and will give good gifts to His children. “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you” (Psalm 84:11-12).
Your Hope is in Christ. At the end of each day, no matter what the Lord gives or doesn’t give, as a child of God your hope is found in Him alone. He is your Rock, your Fortress, your Deliverer (Psalm 18:2). One day, He will redeem all the years of waiting in Heaven (Hebrews 11:40). Our time here on earth is so short. Whether or not your prayer is answered in the way you hope, the children of God will enter the gates of Heaven and will be complete in Christ with no more longing or waiting. “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock” (Isaiah 26:3-4).
Each of us has a different story of waiting. While they may all look different, God calls each of us to seasons of waiting. In those seasons, don’t lose heart. Be honest with your Heavenly Father. Be honest with your community. Cling to God’s Word. Don’t give up. Remember that your hope is found in Christ. We serve a mighty God. You might just be surprised what He has for you in this journey and the beautiful ways He will draw you closer to Himself as you wait on Him.
About the Author:
Bethany Belue currently works for CDM coordinating the Children’s Ministry Certification program and Established Conferences. Before marrying her husband Dustin, she spent her single years working in children’s ministry at Redeemer PCA in New York City and Oak Mountain PCA in Birmingham, AL. Bethany and Dustin currently reside in Mobile, AL, where Dustin is in full-time ministry and pursuing ordination. Their first child, Patterson, was born in June. In her spare time she enjoys going to the beach and writing on her blog, “Dreams and Spaghetti-O’s.”