It’s so hard for me to wait on things that I’m really excited about. There have been some things in my life that I desire so deeply that I feel like I just can’t wait another moment or I may explode! I’m pretty sure we’ve all experienced these times of waiting on a dream to come to fruition. No matter how big or small it may seem on someone else’s scale, it’s huge for us when we’re in the middle of it. But how do we wait patiently on the Lord when He obviously is not on our same schedule?
“…and in due time she gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, for she said, “I asked the Lord for him.” 1 Samuel 1:20 (NLT)
The most prevalent story in the Bible that covers this topic is the story of Hannah in 1 Samuel. I read this recently with fresh eyes. I remember learning about how desperately she prayed and how she prayed so hard that Eli thought she was drunk. (Now that is some serious praying!) But what stood out to me this time was one tiny little phrase. “In due time…” I hadn’t paid attention to those key words before. After previous readings, I just assumed she desperately prayed and then she got pregnant and God blessed her with a baby.
HOWEVER! We cannot overlook those three key words. IN DUE TIME. She didn’t just lay it all out there in prayer and immediately get her dream-come-true. She still had to wait. And pray. And press in continuously—believing in her mighty God and His power to control her life and her future—even if her future did not actually include a baby. What faith! Have you experienced waiting like this? What kind of waiter are you?
In our society, we wait for all kinds of things. I mean, it feels like half our lives are wasted waiting in some kind of line: in traffic, in the grocery store, in the post office, school drop off and pick up, restaurants, etc. We just line up and wait. But, in these cases, we typically know that the wait ends and at the end of the line, we will inevitably get whatever we got in line for and go on about our day. So what makes this “Hannah” waiting so much more difficult?
When we’re waiting for an outcome that we can’t control and that we can’t fully anticipate, we have two choices. 1) Frantically fight and strive to control every aspect of the situation, clinging desperately to anything that we can analyze or manipulate in order to fit events into our desired timeline, or 2) Pray so intensely and continuously that others may actually think we’re crazy…and let God do His thing in HIS TIME. Which will you choose?
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” 1 Peter 5:6 (NIV)
As easy as it sounds to just choose #2, it is HARD! But here’s what I’ve learned just in the past couple of years on this journey of discovering how precious the waiting can be if I wait and rest in the timing of my heavenly father and not my own:
Wave the white flag! Surrender…everything. We cling so fiercely to our desires that we end up running the risk of veering off God’s course for our lives. Selfish ambition will always lead us down a path of destruction. We must succumb to the fact that God’s plan for our lives is and will always be so much better than anything we could ever conjure up on our own.
Pray without ceasing! The Bible gives us the story of Hannah as an example of faith and follow-through. Trusting God for the outcome is the ultimate key to successful waiting. We must trust Him and His ways. When we can’t comprehend the events taking place, we must be willing to accept His outcome even if it ultimately looks different than what we had in mind. Don’t stop praying for God’s will to be done!
Reflect and Remember! If you get caught up in the “why me’s” or the “why not me’s,” then you need to stop and reflect back on your life thus far. Record all the times when God was faithful. (Because there have been many, many times—I promise!) Write it down and allow yourself to remember how amazing it felt to see God’s goodness come to fruition. Write down what you thought you wanted, what happened during the waiting, and how God surpassed your expectations with His outcome. If we don’t take the time to do this, we can easily forget our most amazing blessings and misplace them in our memories as our own accomplishments. Thinking that we actually performed in some way that created our own outcome will surely lead to our continued striving to control the future. But if we actively reflect and remember how all of our blessings are from the Lord, we can build our trust and faith for future answered prayers on top of the foundation that He has been providing all along.
“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” Galatians 6:9 (NLT)
Father God, thank you so much for your plans and provisions for my life. Thank you for making me wait on your perfect timing. Help me to rest during the waiting and recognize that the best you have for me will take place in due time. Forgive me for trying to manipulate my life to fit my very narrow scope of what I think is best. I trust you, God. May I be more like Hannah and press in with sincere prayer for your will to be done. Search my heart and show me where I need to surrender fully to you. Holy Spirit, help me recall all the times where God’s plans surpassed my wildest dreams and let me not misplace those memories as my own accomplishments. May my life and my story be an example of your glory! In Jesus’ name, Amen.