I feel like we’re in a perpetual season of waiting. We can blame the pandemic, I suppose.
Ever since March we’ve been watching the news and waiting for the day when we can go about our normal lives again. I’m certain none of us–or at least very few of us–thought we’d still be waiting in September. But here we are.
Between the pandemic and my own yet-to-be-fulfilled desires, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about waiting and how to wait well.
Waiting seasons are defined by not yet having the thing we want.
Waiting is seen as a middle place–an annoying in-between season that will hopefully end with our desires being fulfilled.
And I guess that is a way to view waiting; but the longer we wait for answers on this virus, and the longer I go without getting the things I’ve been waiting so long for, the more I’m beginning to question if there is more to waiting seasons than I’ve assumed?
What if waiting is more than just a middle place?
What if our seasons spent waiting can actually be good for us?
Now, I know you probably rolled your eyes right then, and that’s ok. When you’re knee-deep in the waiting, the last thing you want someone telling you is that all this waiting is great for building character and preparing you for what’s next.
That’s not what I’m getting at here.
I’m simply posing a question, another possible way of viewing the waiting.
How might our hearts and souls benefit if, instead of trying to blaze through the waiting, we settled into the waiting with God?
What if, instead of seeing the answers to all our wants on the other side of the waiting, we began to look for answers and even abundance right here in the waiting?
What good might come from our waiting then?
Waiting As Opportunity
A few years back I was really struggling with my singleness. I’d spent years believing God had something special and if I just kept an eye out, He would bless me with a beautiful, God-honoring marriage.
Spoiler alert: I’m still single.
But the longer I’ve waited, the more I’ve had to settle into the reality that I may be single for a long time. This might just be my life, and if that’s the case, how am I going to live well in this season of singlehood–whether this season is a couple of years or the rest of my life.
I needed to know that my life without marriage isn’t a perpetual middle place between where I am and what I want.
I needed to know that this place, even while I’m waiting, has hope and meaning and purpose.
So I did what I usually do when I’m looking for these kinds of answers and I started looking for encouragement and guidance in other people’s stories, especially the stories of those in Scripture who waited on God.
I’m not sure if you’ve ever tracked the topic of waiting throughout the Bible, but there is a lot of material to dig into. In some ways, you might even say that the entire Bible is about waiting–waiting for God’s kingdom to come in its fullness and for all of Creation to be restored and made new.
The more I dug into God’s Word on the topic, the more I noticed God meeting with people, revealing His grace, and calling them deeper into a relationship with Him.
Some people saw the fulfillment of their waiting. Some people did not. But one thing every single person experienced was an opportunity to draw near to God.
Perhaps that’s the good part of waiting.
Whether or not our waiting ends the way we hope it will, we have the opportunity to get to know God better.
How to Approach Waiting as a Good Thing
Noticing that truth throughout the storyline of Scripture changed the waiting for me. I still want to be married. I still desire relationship. But I’m not trying to rush through this season anymore.
I’m allowing myself to engage with God right here.
To call waiting “good” doesn’t mean you have to always enjoy it, that it will magically become less painful, or easier to handle.
Waiting is hard.
What will change, though, is your focus. Instead of constantly looking ahead at what you want but don’t have, you’ll begin to notice the God is who always present and always inviting you to draw near.
Waiting is hard. No one knows that better than God. But waiting can also be good for more than just building character.
When we allow it, waiting can be an opportunity for us to draw closer to God than we’ve ever been before.
Interested in exploring this idea further? I’ve got a brand new Bible study on this very topic. In the Waiting: Drawing Near to God in Seasons of Wanting, is a 40 day Bible study where we will dive into various stories of people who waited in Scripture and what we can learn from them about drawing near to God.
The study releases October 20th, but you can grab a preview of the first 3 chapters now!
Related: 6 Books to Encourage You in the Waiting Season
Live in His love!