6 Simple Truths about Seasons of Waiting
“Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.” Psalm 27:14 NLT
Several years ago, my husband suddenly lost his job. He’d been with the company for over 30 years and had weathered periods of low work and company-wide layoffs so this was totally unexpected. No job, at this point in our lives, wasn’t in our plan.
By the end of that week, my husband had submitted his resume to two firms. The next week he had interviews and two job offers. He was out of work for less than three weeks. We praised God and moved forward thinking he’d be in the new job until retirement.
Eleven months later, the project he was hired for was put on hold. His “new” job ended. This time, the scenario was different. Jobs in his field were less plentiful. He was a year closer to the hypothetical “retirement age.” Three weeks later, and then three months later, he was still unemployed. As the months clicked by, he searched, interviewed and waited, with no offers. Then, after almost eight months of unemployment, a job offer resulted from an interview that seemed fruitless at the time.
Here are 6 truths we learned during this season of waiting:
God’s timing isn’t our timing. We all have expectations about how we think our lives will go, but we have no guarantee things will happen according to our plans or expectations. Rarely, if ever, is our timing God’s timing. Life crises never come at a convenient time and rarely resolve in a timeframe of our choosing. God’s ways, and his timing, are far different from our own.
We are not in control. God uses waiting periods to remind us we’re not in control. During these months of uncertainty, I learned no matter how much we research, network, organize, and plan, ultimate control belongs to God.
Praise God anyway. As our waiting lengthened, I focused on praising God instead of worrying about what might happen next. New grandbabies were among our biggest blessings, but God blessed us in many other ways as well.
Pray for others. During our months of waiting, I became aware of those around me who were also waiting—for medical test results, a diagnosis, a treatment plan, or insurance approval for a lifesaving drug. I learned of those in the waiting room of infertility. I encountered people anticipating the death of a loved one. As I became more aware of other people in waiting seasons, our situation seemed less urgent. I discovered interceding for others shifts your focus off self and onto others.
Waiting is an exercise in trust. It’s one thing to say you trust God and something else to actually do it. Some days the only way I could trust was to repeat, “Lord, I trust you.” Probably the best way I strengthened my trust muscles was to immerse myself in the Word.
- Deuteronomy 31:8 reminded me that God was with us, striding ahead of us, and wouldn’t let us down.
- Jeremiah 32:27 encouraged me to remember nothing is too hard for God.
- Isaiah 41:13 assures that God is holding your hand and there is no need to be afraid.
- A dear cousin, who faithfully prayed for us, sent me this verse, “When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul.” Psalm 94:19
- 1 Samuel 7:12 meant the most to me as the months dragged on. The last part of the verse says, “Thus far, the Lord has helped us.” This verse reminded me to take this waiting period a day at a time and not project potential outcomes. We create so much unnecessary anxiety for ourselves by positing “what ifs” when we are waiting.
God is faithful. During our waiting season, we saw God’s provision in unexpected ways. Many years ago, my father and another real estate developer opened a subdivision. A few lots still remained and they passed to me and the other man’s sons. We’d been trying to sell those lots for years. Five months after my husband lost his job, I got a call. One of those all-but-forgotten lots was under contract and closed later that week. I learned never to doubt God’s creativity and resourcefulness in providing for our needs.
We all experience seasons of waiting. During those periods, we have a choice: we can feel sorry for ourselves and allow fear and frustration to control us, or we can trust God and look for what he is doing in our lives while we wait. Although none of us would choose seasons of waiting, God can use them to help us learn and grow, if we are perceptive and receptive.
Copyright © 2018 Candy Arrington, used with permission.