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What is the Purpose of Waiting?

What is the Purpose of Waiting?

I think the majority of our lifetime is spent in waiting.

As children, we wait to grow up. While teenagers, we wait to get our licenses, finish high school, and move on to more important things. Then as adults, we wait for a spouse, children, a raise, improved health, and so much more. Upon receiving our long awaited thing or opportunity, we enjoy it for a time, only to revert back to waiting for whatever is next.

Scripture is full of men and women who were stuck in a seemingly-endless season of waiting. Some of these situations brought the hoped-for opportunity; others ended up delivering a disappointing less.

Abraham and Sarah waited for the Lord to give them a son.

Leah waited for her husband to love her. Meanwhile, her sister, Rachel, waited for her womb to welcome a child.

The Israelites waited for over 400 years to escape slavery and, shortly thereafter, waited 40 more due to their ongoing disobedience.

David waited for Saul to stop chasing him.

Jonah waited for God to wipe Nineveh off the face of the earth.

Esther waited for the Lord’s direction before going before the king.

The Jewish people waited for a Messiah, only to condemn him to death on a cross.

And the list continues.

Waiting is a normal part of life. One, I would argue, is quite necessary in refining our faith. Waiting challenges us to put our hope, meaning, and purpose in the Lord. It puts perspective on our situation. It reminds us that we are not in control. Waiting forces us to stand on the promise that God has good in store for us. And, ultimately, it allows us an ongoing opportunity to bury our flesh.

Let’s dive into each one of those individually.

#1 Waiting challenges us to put our hope, meaning, and purpose in the Lord.

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.

Psalm 62:5

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!

1 John 3:1a

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8

When we place our worth in Christ, we welcome a contentment with his timing and provisions. Instead of allowing frustration and bitterness to take root – clear signs that our focus is not centered on Christ – we prayerfully go to him in the time of waiting so that he may refine us.

Instead of becoming consumed by the lack of whatever it is we desire, each day becomes an opportunity to bask in his glory. We rest, knowing he is orchestrating things even greater than we could imagine.

#2 Waiting puts perspective on our situation.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

Hebrews 12:1-2a

Waiting challenges us to weigh the urgency and need of whatever it is we are hoping for. It affords us an opportunity to test everything through the lense of eternity. Does what we are desperately longing for better the body of Christ? Does what we are desiring reveal an area that our flesh is fighting for control? Is our longing an attempt to resist what God has for us to accomplish in the present?

#3 Waiting reminds us that we are not in control.

In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him.

Psalm 95:4

The longer we wait, the more we realize that much of this life is beyond our grasp. This powerful season reminds us that God is the giver of all things and only if he allows, will it come to pass. That is very different than what culture tells us. Culture preaches that we are the creator of our own destinies, but is there a time more perfect than waiting to correct that perspective?

#4 Waiting forces us to stand on the promise that God has good in store for us.

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

Matthew 7:9-11

It is not in God’s nature to give us things that are less than the best that he has to offer. As we wait, we are reminded of his dedication to only the best. Christ, upon his return to Heaven, said that he is preparing a place for us. When the best of Heaven is ready to be revealed, he will return to take us home. The waiting has lasted much longer than the disciples likely imagined, but it will be worth it when all is revealed.

The same applies to our lives on earth. If we have yet to receive the longing of our hearts, then we must trust that the Lord is still working on orchestrating the best for us.

#5 It allows us to bury our flesh

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”

Luke 9:23

The natural tendency in waiting situations is to question God’s sovereignty and goodness, which is the opposite of what we should be doing. This season is another opportunity to bury the desires of our flesh and centralize ourselves on God’s goodness. Daily, we can take out thoughts captive, burying any that are in opposition to God. As we are intentional to refine our hearts and minds, we will become more in alignment with God vision for our lives.



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