Last month I talked about the significance of waiting in our spiritual lives. Click here if you’d like to read that post. This week we’ll explore the next two attitudes of waiting.
The Second Attitude of Waiting: Waiting Patiently
Our natural tendency leans toward a continuous sense of movement. When we feel our progress stalling, we grow agitated and antsy. Think of traffic. You’re moving along, thinking you might actually get home, or wherever, in a decent amount of time. Then one after another, you see those taillights glow a bright red and you moan along with the hum of your breaks. So much for that idea. Now you’re stuck, creeping along with no idea what’s causing the hold up or how long a delay lies ahead.
You’ve just lost control of your agenda. And now you have to wait. You can bang on the steering wheel, curse at the delusional driver who just cut in front of you thinking your lane is faster, and rant the next hour or so. Or you can open the sun roof and let the sun warm your face, turn on some good Christian tunes, or even better, catch up on those prayer requests you didn’t get to in your hurry that morning.
Our lives are much the same. We think we’re moving along okay, then life throws something totally unexpected our way. We can rant and rave, or we can take advantage of the time and benefit from it. Learn from it. Trust God in the middle of it.One such character comes to mind. Abraham’s life is a true picture of waiting. The Bible even describes how he waited:
And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised. — Hebrews 6:15
When God first spoke to him (then Abram) about his future offspring, Abraham was seventy-five years old. He was 100 years old at Isaac’s birth. That’s a lot of waiting!
Through his Word, God gives us further instructions on this attitude of waiting:
Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him. — Psalm 37:7
But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. —Romans 8:25
I (David) waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. — Psalm 40:1
Waiting patiently is the next step in trusting God to be in control of our lives, especially when we can’t be. And our attitude is the only thing we always have control over.
The Third Attitude of Waiting: Waiting Expectantly
We all inevitably have times of waiting for God to move. Through time and trial, we learn to wait patiently as we come to understand God’s faithfulness, and trusting God seems to be the heart and soul of just about any issue we face in our lives. But how much do we trust God? How far are we willing to trust him?
With each attitude of waiting, our trust muscle gets stretched more and more. We may be able to wait patiently, for the most part, but what about waiting expectantly? What exactly does that mean?
Waiting expectantly crosses a belief barrier. We can wait patiently, unsure of what God has in mind, yet trust that He will move in some way. We continue to pray for God’s intercession but we may not entirely believe God will act.
Waiting expectantly moves one step deeper. We not only trust God to do something, we eagerly await results. We KNOW without a doubt God is working in our circumstances. Our prayers even reflect this. They move from, “God, if you’re willing, would you…” to “God, thank you for what you are and will be doing in this situation.”
So how do we wait expectantly? In Mark 9:23-24 the father of a demon possessed boy asks Jesus for help. “But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”
“If you can?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.”
Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
I know we can’t simply make things happen by believing they will. That isn’t what this verse is saying. Jesus is talking about believing in Him, not circumstances which can easily mislead and disappoint us. It’s about shedding our doubts about what our God can do and believing He can do anything. Trusting He will do what is in our best interests, and then waiting for it (whatever it may be) to happen.
Ultimately, waiting expectantly confirms our faith in God.
There will be times in our faith journeys that we will seem to regress back to impatience. I’m finding those are the times that God has taken more control away from me and showing me a new area I need to rely upon him. It’s a learning phase once again as I walk from this impatience to recognition, to waiting patiently, to waiting expectantly.
And it’s a journey well worth traveling. God’s grace, love, and strength will carry us through.
Praying, believing…and waiting with attitude,
- Angels Watching Over Me
- Cruise Control Faith