I had waited years. Still, no answer.
No answer for why my health was faltering, or how to begin the healing process. For 5 years I waited – and often wondered if God heard me or if the answers would ever come.
Now on the other side of answered prayers, I see how God used this situation for good. And I’m amazed at the ways God provided for my needs.
But in the middle of it all, I didn’t feel patient. At all.
I didn’t want to wait on the Lord. What I wanted was to feel better – like, yesterday.
Maybe you’re in a similar situation. Whether you’re waiting for healing, a future spouse, conflict resolution, or some other blessing – your desires are so strong, you can taste them.
Maybe you don’t really see the point of waiting. Can’t you just have what you want right now?
Let’s find out what ‘waiting on the Lord’ really means, what the Bible says about it, and how to practice waiting in a way that pleases Him. Seeing this process from God’s viewpoint will encourage you to stay faithful during difficult waiting periods.
What Does ‘Wait on the Lord’ Mean?
Waiting on the Lord is more than just passing the time, trying to be patient for God’s answers. It’s believing. Waiting in faith.
Believing that He wants what’s best for you, and trusting that He will take care of you, regardless of the situation.
Hear the Psalmist’s definition in chapter 27:8, “I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”
When you know God will take care of you, you’re equipped to endure the waiting process in a way that glorifies Him.
Benefits of Waiting on the Lord
Waiting on God isn’t just something to endure. It’s a privilege. When you wait patiently for God’s timing, you will these experience benefits like:
- Becoming more patient in other areas of your life
- Learning to rejoice in any situation
- Relying more on God’s strength instead of your own
- Becoming more like Jesus
- Realizing God is really all you need
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How to Wait on the Lord, Step-by-Step
Now that we know what it means to wait on the Lord and how it benefits us, let’s get practical. Here are 5 ways to wait on the Lord in your everyday life. These ideas will help you surrender to God’s will and make the most of your waiting period.
1. Acknowledge God’s Sovereignty in Your Life
When things don’t go our way in life, we receive a big slice of humble pie. This humility is great for us: it helps us realize we are not in control, and that we can trust the One who is.
Try praying, “Dear Lord, I don’t understand what is happening in my life right now, or why I’m being asked to wait so long. But I trust in Your plan. I know You are in control and You see everything about my situation. Help me to believe that You know what is best. Help me to keep my eyes on You.”
2. Make Prayer Your Mainstay
Without prayer, I don’t know how I would have coped during those dark periods of waiting. Prayer journaling, especially, was a huge blessing for me. If you’ve never done much prayer journaling, I highly recommend reading my ultimate guide to prayer journaling to get started.
3. Evaluate Your Situation Honestly From God’s Perspective
Is what you’re praying for, hoping for, longing for really in your best interest?
The phrase “God wants me to be happy” is not a biblical one. Actually, Jesus emphasized to His followers that they would endure hardships and be hated for His name sake (Mark 13:13). Always remember:
God’s main concern is not your happiness. It’s your holiness.
Is that thing you’re desperately seeking really in your spiritual best interest? God’s ultimate desire is for you to join Him in heaven.
Could it be that your desires are taking you away from that goal? Is it possible that your unanswered prayer might cause you to gain wisdom? Could your experience help someone else who is struggling to see God’s goodness?
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 is a perfect example of this:
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
Our viewpoint is transient, small, and based on what we see. God’s viewpoint is based on the eternal, the big picture, the unseen. Trust that God knows what is best for your ultimate good.
4. Brainstorm Ways You Can Use this Waiting Period for Something Good
Now, grab a notebook and ask yourself: is there someone you can bless while you wait for an answer? Write down 3 ways you can get outside yourself and show kindness to others.
Can you volunteer at your local church or a community charity organization? Have you noticed someone (a young mom, perhaps) that looks lonely, who you could invite over for coffee? Can you send cards to those who are sick?
Focusing on others won’t make your problems go away, but it will give you a purpose in the midst of hardship. When I was in the middle of my own waiting period, I started my blog as a way to focus my mind, connect with others and (hopefully) help them.
Maybe what you’re going through can bless someone else! I love 2 Corinthians 1:3-4:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
5. Accept that Your Prayers May Not Be Answered in the Way You Want
Now we’ve come full circle, back to the first point about realizing God’s sovereignty. This realization means we are called to submit.
You might not receive what you’re praying for. It’s so hard, but ask yourself, “If I never get what I want, is Jesus enough?”
Yes. He is always enough.
But sometimes we need help to get to this place. Ask God to help you with this. It’s a process; one that I’m still working on, too.
Even the apostle Paul struggled with this. When he prayed three times for God to take away His thorn, God’s reply was “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Perhaps you don’t really “need” that thing you’ve been praying for, after all.
Maybe God is using your situation to draw you ever closer to Him. To get you to that place where you can genuinely say, “All I need is You, Lord.”
Have you struggled to wait on the Lord when His timing doesn’t make sense? What do you find the most difficult as you learn to wait on Him?
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Mary is a minister’s wife, mom to two boys, and ex-pat missionary to Scotland. She writes at Healthy Christian Home where she points to God’s spiritual and physical nourishment to help women live their best lives.