The waiting is the hardest part.
Yes, that sounds like part of a Tom Petty song. But, who really likes to wait? We dislike it so much that we have created an industry of finding ways to reduce our waiting.
- Disney created the “fast pass” to give you the chance to skip waiting in lines and move to the front.
- Starbucks lets you order ahead with the phone app so that you don’t have to wait for your coffee.
- Walmart and other stores added self checkout lines so that you don’t have to wait as long in lines.
- Billboards on the interstate advertise the current “waiting time” at urgent care centers and emergency rooms.
- Netflix and other similar services create programming and release it all at once time. You don’t have to wait until next week to see the next show.
You get the point, right? There’s a lot of business potential when you can find a way to cut down on waiting time.
But what about the other areas of our life? Specifically, how does this issue of waiting affect our relationship with God and recognizing the hope that we find there?
As a quick review, hope, when it comes to God, is the confident expectation that God will do what God says He will do. In other words, when God says it, you can take it to the bank.
Yet, that is where we find the tension. Hope often involves waiting — and God works on a different timetable than we do. Call it unanswered prayers, call it delayed responses. Sometimes, maybe many times, we find ourselves in a period of waiting in our relationship with God.
The thought of waiting and hoping weaves through Scripture. Here are some examples:
- We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. – Psalm 33:20
- I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning. – Psalm 130:5-6
- Waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ… – Titus 2:13
- And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. – Galatians 5:6
On one hand, we can hold on to the hope that we know comes from God. Yet, on the other hand, we can struggle with the waiting. The waiting even makes us question whether God is hearing us, or is near to us. The waiting can leads to questions, fears and doubts.
Maybe, right now, you are in that place where you trying to hold on to hope in God, while you find yourself waiting. Maybe it could even be related to some of these issues:
- You are in a period of transition, of waiting, as you move from one season to the next. You are trying to hold on to hope and, yet, you are struggling with the waiting.
- Maybe you are waiting to hear news, the doctor’s report, the earnings report, the status of the relationship. You are trying to hold on to hope and, yet, you are struggling with the waiting.
- Maybe you simply feel stuck and you aren’t sure what the next open door is going to look like. You are trying to hold on to hope and, yet, you are struggling with the waiting.
Here are a few things we can do when we are in that place:
- Wait IN hope. It’s not wait AND hope, but “wait IN hope. ” When we wait in hope, we are waiting in the confident expectation that God is at work, has been up to work and will be up to work. We’re resting in confidence that God has the situation handled.
- We pray. When it seems as if you are stuck in a place of waiting, it’s always good to have someone to talk to. That’s what we get in prayer. It’s a chance to talk to God and that talk changes us. Maybe, what you are really waiting on is for you to move to the place you need to be before the next step of your life begins. We can change our mindset in prayer.
- Read reminders of hope. If you are struggling with waiting in hope, then read about the ways others waited in hope. Scripture is filled with those accounts. They are great reminders that God can be trusted.
- Place yourself around hopeful people. Let’s face it, there are simply people in the world who will push the limits of your ability to hope. When you are in that place of struggling with the waiting, find others who have waited, who have that patience and who have hope in God.
- Choose to be hopeful. Perception drives reality. What we believe — about God, others, ourselves — influences what we see and do. Hope is a choice — and sometimes it is the most difficult choice we make — that changes our view of the world around us. If you struggle with depression, anxiety, etc., seeing the world through the eyes of hope might be an even bigger struggle than believing in hope itself. Yet, it is essential.
If you are in that place of struggling to wait and to hold on to hope, remembers the words from Psalm 33:20. Wait IN hope for God and know that God is your help, your protector.
ReigniteMyStory.com is based on the idea that every life story can be reignited when we reset it, renew it and redeem it. You can contact me with ideas, questions or suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org or by following me on Twitter at @reignitemystory.