A few days ago, I had to mail some boxes of books from the post office. My grandson Charlie (9) came with me. He was a champ! He carried one of the heavy boxes and waited with me as I filled out custom forms (the boxes were headed out of the country) and stood by me as the postal clerks got the boxes completely ready to go. When we got back in the car, Charlie said, "Wow, Mimi, that took forever! I'm sure we were there for an hour!"
I know, dude! You deserve ice cream. You were so patient," I told him.
The chocolate ice cream was a well-deserved prize for Charlie's patience. But you know what? Nine-year-olds aren't the only ones who struggle with patience. Even as adults, most of us struggle as well. We live in a fast-paced, frantic and frazzled kind of world. If there are more than 10 people in line at Starbucks, we leave; if we get stuck behind a slow car, we flash our lights; if we're put on hold on the telephone, we hang up; if the express checkout at the grocery store is closed, we complain; if our flight is delayed, we hyperventilate!
Yet waiting is a core principle of our spiritual walks.
One of my favorite verses reads, "In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly" (Ps. 5:3). Waiting with expectation is different than waiting with agitation. Waiting with expectation is different than waiting with worry. So, what exactly, does it look like to wait expectantly?
Waiting with a heart bowed in worship. When we're waiting, we have a choice. We can become agitated and negative, or we can wait with positive anticipation for what God will do. The key is the posture of our hearts. When we worship and praise God that He is moving despite the fact that we cannot see Him moving, God is pleased, and our anxiety is calmed. So rather than shaking your fist at heaven, lift your hands in praise. It's amazing how your attitude will shift.
Waiting with eyes turned toward heaven in hope. Author Eugene Peterson writes, "We wait for God to do what we cannot do for ourselves". Waiting teaches us the discipline of trusting God for what only He can deliver. So often the temptation when we're waiting is to take matters in our own hands. But if we do, we miss the greater blessing of seeing God step in and move on our behalf. God wants us to trust Him and have faith to believe that He has our best interests at heart. When we choose to praise Him while we wait, The Holy Spirit strengthens our faith.
Waiting with hand open, ready to receive instruction. Psalm 123:2 reads, "Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master,
and as the eyes of a maiden to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look upon the Lord our God, until He has mercy upon us." The psalmist likely had servants who worked for Him. All he had to do was speak a word, and the servant would rush to obey. That's the way we are to wait for God to move. We're to keep our eyes focused on Him with our hands open, ready to receive whatever instructions He gives. While we wait for God to show us the next step, we must be sure we are ready to obey whatever His instructions. Sometimes people get in a tizzy over trying to discover what God's will is. I think for most of us the bigger dilemma is setting our hearts on obedience. God will show us what's next, in His time and way. The key question is when He does, are you ready to obey?
Take a few moments this week and read through Psalm 37. Make a list of the keys for waiting well. I guarantee, at some point, you'll have to wait. But here's the thing, God's timing is always perfect!
Becky Harling, an author, certified speaker, leadership coach and trainer with the John Maxwell Team, is an energetic and motivational international speaker inspiring audiences to overcome their greatest life challenges and reach their full God-given potential. Her most recent book is How to Listen So People Will Talk. Her husband,Steve Harling, is the president of Reach Beyond, a nonprofit organization seeking to be the voice and hands of Jesus around the world. Connect with Becky at beckyharling.com, Facebook or Twitter.
This article originally appeared at beckyharling.com.
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