Learning to Wait Well

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I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty crummy when it comes to waiting. I loathe long lines, protracted cooking times, or any type of extensive wait, truthfully. And, our “Amazon Prime” society hasn’t helped me out in this area. It likely hasn’t helped you, either.

Unfortunately, waiting plays a starring role in the faith life. Following Jesus can oftentimes be described as a “hurry up and wait” kind of walk. The process of refining hearts and capturing minds is a slow one. One that occurs incrementally, every day that we live and breathe.

It’s funny how God often works: so much of my Bible study lately focuses on how to walk faithfully and patiently with God—day by day, hour by hour—when the path ahead is lit just enough to see the next step.

Jesus says follow me—but not to where or to what purpose. He asks us simply to rely on Him for guidance in the day ahead, not worrying about tomorrow or borrowing trouble from future days (see Matthew 6:34).

When I’m reading and meditating, it all makes perfect, lovely sense. It spreads out before me like a mesmerizing dance of Jesus and follower. My heart cheers out yes!

But when the rubber hits the road? Not so much. I find this slow dance excruciating at times and downright maddening at others, as I squint my eyes to see past the step in front of me … is there a sign in the darkness ahead? Can I figure out a way through the fog?

* * * *

I’ve shared some in this space about our son’s journey with speech delay and eventual autism diagnosis. What a journey it’s been. And he’s only 7!

In those early days of constant speech therapy, I found myself longing for a “quick fix.” After about 6 months, I thought, ok, shouldn’t this problem just **poof** go away by now?

What my aching mama heart didn’t know then (thank goodness) is that there would be no quick fixes—just daily, faithful hard word. And more hard days before any good would come.

Maybe you, too, are waiting for something or someone. Every fiber in your being wants to know the answer and the outcome. Every cell cries out for assurance that all will be okay.

The soft, small flame lighting the step ahead seems woefully inadequate. You’d nearly crawl out of your skin in search of something to speed up the process!

In these moments, the wait feels like it may break us apart, right? I convince myself that my here and now isn’t possibly as good as my there (wherever “there” may be).

Yet the truth, dear one, is that God is always, always working. In the waiting seasons, He moves in us, through us, around us, for us, and for the benefit of others.

Waiting well builds a solid foundation in our faith walks. We grow, stretch, and learn in the present, that God might equip and prepare us for His work in the future.

In our waiting, let us take comfort in a familiar and beautiful passage out of Isaiah:

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint (Isaiah 40:29-31 NIV).

In the tedious game of waiting, these verses hold the key: hope in the Lord.

This hope—this choosing to hope—paves the path to the supernatural strength required to continue waiting until the story is told. Until the answer comes. Until the Lord’s work in us is complete.

By hanging our hope on Him, we can soar. We can run, skip, and walk calmly while we wait, knowing that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28 NIV).

What are you waiting for today?

A job? A spouse? A child? Physical healing? Relational healing? A better season of life overall?

Let me challenge you, as I challenge myself, to wait with hope and assurance that God is faithful, even when we don’t have the answer. Even when there is no roadmap or plan of action. Even when all is pitch black beyond the one step in front of us.

We have no idea what hangs in the balance while we wait, what lessons must be learned, or what character must be forged in us.

But there is so much good to be gleaned in the here while we’re waiting to arrive there.

So practice waiting well, my friend—and enjoy the eagle’s view.

With Grace,

Be Still

by Meredith H. Carr

Download my latest book, Be Still, about how to practice the art of stillness in the midst of turmoil.

10 Comments
  • Tammy Prince says:

    Our 9 year old grandson, Vegas, is nonverbal autistic I have prayed everyday for the last 6 years for him to be potty trained. Just this week he started going on his own! I also pray everyday that he will eventually talk. I never give up hope because I know my God is able to do the impossible! Thank you for your encouragement on waiting.
    Tammy

    • Oh my goodness, Tammy! I am jumping up and down, joyfully celebrating with you!! That is a HUGE milestone! I love your faith that continues to persevere – I too am saying a prayer that he will speak! God is so able. I’m glad this encouraged you, and thank you for sharing about your grandson! <3

  • Beverly Thaxton says:

    This article was so appropriate as we are all anxiously waiting for end of the virus valley. We find hope knowing He will not leave us in the valley. And, yes, this experience will teach and grow us in many ways!

    Great article Meredith! Keep writing with Grace!

    Beverly

    • Thank you for the encouragement, dear friend! And “virus valley” is a perfect description – praying God leads us all out of this valley soon!! <3 But yes, in the meantime there is much to be learned. Excited to see you for Bible study soon!

  • Solome says:

    Am encouraged further to wait with hope. Am waiting with my sister, she’s been married twenty years without a child, another sister of mine is married but there has been a turmoil in her marriage which was escalated during the lockdown and just yesterday I was telling God that ” I don’t know when and how this will end, but am trusting that you will end it well”
    Thanks for the encouragement, very appropriate for the season.

    • I am saying a prayer for you, Solome, and for your sisters! I understand infertility and marriage turmoil – so my heart and my prayers go to them <3. I love the incredible faith you are showing in the midst of difficult times! May God bless and keep you!

  • Cecilia Torres says:

    Thank you Meredith for encouraging us through God’s Word. I have been through a lonely journey, expecting something new in my life, expecting God’s will and sometimes it feels like God has answered people’s prayers but not mine. It feels like nothing will change in my life, only wilderness.
    It has been a daily walk and I’ve prayed every day to be faithful, to be confident and to take my eyes off my current circumstances. Your message arrived in time. Praise the Lord.

    • Sweet friend, thank you for sharing your heart–oh how I understand that feeling that everyone else’s prayers are answered but yours! <3 I love your faithful heart and how you are preserving, even though there is no "evidence" as we like to see. I am saying a prayer for you now, friend, that your faith will continue to grow in this wilderness season--and for God's mercies to rain down a fresh, new season soon! Blessings!

  • Ling says:

    My heart is in tears again reading the phrase “waiting well”, as I search through 5 years of heartbreak memories- what have I missed, didn’t do, have I not been watchful of the signs?, have I not prayed enough?, oh the pain of watching my child deteriorating in mental health…clinging on to Jesus’ comfort to Jairus “ “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.” Thank you for reminding me to keep waiting well. Bless you sister.

    • Sweet friend, I am praying with you tonight for your child–I am so so sorry for the pain you’re experiencing, and all the self-doubt and questioning as a mother is so very hard. Asking Jesus to hold you tight, and that you might know for certain how much He loves and cares for you AND your child! Keep waiting, sister, the light is coming. Blessings!

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