"I'm tired of this," she told me. "We're just waiting and waiting and waiting. And every time I ask someone for advice, they just tell me to wait on the Lord. He has a plan. He's got this. I'm having a pretty hard time believing it."
This girl sent me a message recently, and we got to chatting. We got on the subject of quarantine, since it's a pretty common topic nowadays. I asked her how she was doing, and I also asked her to be honest and tell me how she was really doing. That was the response I got. She went on to ask me about what all that meant and what she should do.
I waited a couple days before responding, because, well, I didn't really have an answer. Then I was reading about seasons of waiting and what we can do with the waits. Several things really stood out to me, and so that's what I shared with her. I'd also like to share it with you.
We all have seasons of waiting. But right now, we're all in a season of waiting. Right now, it's because of the coronavirus. Other times, it's something else. Maybe it's a career that isn't taking off even though you're working as hard as you can. Maybe it's the future spouse that hasn't come into your life yet even though you're praying and praying. Maybe it's a sickness that there's no healing for even though you're begging. Or maybe it's a bunch of questions that there's no answers for even though you're searching everywhere. We feel stuck. We feel like we've reached a dead end and we don't have directions on where to go yet. We feel frustrated and confused, maybe even angry. Why aren't there answers? Why isn't it working? What's going on? What is God doing?
You know what I'm talking about.
I've found that when we're in seasons of waiting, we all get basically the same advice. My friend mentioned it as well when we were talking. When we're in seasons of waiting, we're told things like . . .
"Wait on the Lord."
"God has a plan."
"God's got this."
"He will work everything out."
Yet, we're still left wondering. Why are we waiting? Does He have a plan? Will He work everything out? Questions and questions and questions. We don't like to wait. We as humans figure out shortcuts for basically everything just so we don't have to wait. Sure, it's not fun, but there's lessons in the waiting.
While I was thinking about seasons of waiting and my conversation with my friend, I read an interesting story in 2 Chronicles 7. I know that it's not a common book to flip to, but I encourage you to open to it. The main dude in this story is Solomon, the son of King David. You know who he is. King David died at the end of 1 Chronicles, so now Solomon is the one in charge. Solomon had become king of Israel, and one of his purposes was to build a temple for the Lord. For the first six chapters of 2 Chronicles, we read about Solomon and his people building the temple.
Let's pause here and remind ourselves again that just because we're waiting doesn't mean we won't be working! Sadie Rob Huff says, "A lot of times what you're waiting for will be what you're working towards." For example, it's doing smaller jobs to work up to the bigger job you're striving for.
Anyway, after Solomon worked seven years to finish the temple, we get to read about his prayers to God. Solomon knew that this temple would be pretty worthless if the Lord didn't dwell in it. After seven years, he was waiting on the Lord's presence. And while he was waiting, he was praying and praying and praying. Even though he believed he was called to build the temple . . . even though his father had directed him . . . even though he had worked seven years to complete it . . . he was still questioning it all. In 2 Chronicles 6:18, he asks, "But will God indeed live on earth with humans? Even heaven, the highest heaven, cannot contain you, much less the temple I have built." After all of that, Solomon still had doubts during the waiting season.
You can read the entire prayer in 2 Chronicles 6:14-42. He prayed basically the same prayer over and over and over again. He was serious about what he prayed, and he really wanted to be sure that the Lord was listening. And you know what? After he finished praying, the Lord's presence filled the temple. Check it out:
All the Israelites were watching when the fire descended and the glory of the Lord came on the temple. They bowed down on the pavement with their faces to the ground. They worshiped and praised the Lord: For he is good, for his faithful love endures forever. The king and all the people were offering sacrifices in the Lord's presence. King Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty-two thousand cattle and one hundred twenty thousand sheep and goats. In this manner the king and all the people dedicated God's temple. The priests and the Levites were standing at their stations. The Levites had the musical instruments of the Lord, which King David had made to give thanks to the Lord - "for his faithful love endures forever" - when he offered praise with them. Across from the Levites, the priests were blowing trumpets, and all the people were standing . . . So Solomon and all Israel with him - a very great assembly, from the entrance to Hamath to the Brook of Egypt - observed the festival at that time for seven days. (2 Chronicles 7:3-6,8)
While it may not seem like he had to wait very long, remember that he worked for seven years. Then waited, prayed, and prayed some more. But then the Spirit showed up, and they had a huge party!
But hold up. Let's look at verse 12 in chapter 7. It says, "Then the Lord appeared to Solomon at night and said to him: I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple of sacrifice." God didn't answer Solomon's prayers immediately. He sent His spirit, and they had a big celebration, but not until later did God respond. But what did they do while they waited for Him to answer their prayers? They celebrated! They worshiped, they prayed, and they offered their sacrifices. They declared His faithful love before He ever responded. But when He did respond, He specifically said, "I have heard your prayer."
We can learn so much from their waiting season.
First, focus on what's important. And that is your relationship with the Lord. A lot of times, we try to bargain with the Lord. If You come through on this, and give me what I want, then I'll believe in You and serve You. But that's not how it works at all. The Lord has a plan, and He has a specific plan for you. Even when you can't see it or understand it. The key is trust. Trust in Him and in His plan, and then rest in the fact that He loves you and is with you every step of the way.
Second, focus on what you already have. The Spirit of God being in you is definitely a reason to rejoice! Even if the Lord has not specifically responded to your prayer yet. Look around and celebrate how blessed you are. Make a list of what you're thankful for, and even after you think you've written everything, think What else? It's easy to sit there and think about all that you don't have and wish you did have. And it's easy to think that there's a lot we're missing. But when you think about all that you DO have, it doesn't seem like so much anymore.
And third, focus on what God is doing right now. Even though we're waiting, God is definitely still working. He's working in ways that we don't even know about! He's preparing ways, and fulfilling His plan for our lives. When we're waiting, we think nothing is going on, but trust me, that's not true. Not one bit! Fix your eyes on all that God is doing in and through you right now.
So don't waste those waits. They're given to you for a reason, so don't just throw them away. There's lessons to be learned in them, so look for them. And never forget that even in the waits, God is still with you.
Hey friends! I'm Livy, founder and designer of CLM. First and foremost I am a follower of Jesus, and besides that I am a ministry leader, small business operator and writer. I love putting words to paper, going to Starbucks, photography, connecting with friends and much more. This is a place for me to share encouragement with you all. I hope you will enjoy your stay. :)