WHILE YOU WAIT
Hurricane Ian just passed through Florida. We were told it was coming right here towards us in the Tampa Bay area. Preparations for this storm began Monday as schools were canceled, and houses and businesses boarded up. Many people evacuated or left town. Then the waiting began. I have been working on this article for a couple of months, and it struck me how timely it was to talk about waiting as we waited for this storm to land. The storm didn’t make land until Wednesday afternoon, and unexpectedly it hit further south of us at Fort Myers where we had family gathered behind hurricane shutters and praying. The time before the storm struck was tense with anticipation because there was no way of really knowing what would happen. Only God knew. Thankfully we made it through, and all of our loved ones are safe. We are praying for those who lost loved ones and for the extensive clean-up and recovery.
All of us have had times in our lives of waiting; waiting for the right job, waiting for the right person, waiting to have children, waiting to be healed, waiting for the storm to pass. How we handle that waiting time can make a big difference in our level of stress and in how well we come through those hard times. Sometimes waiting for God to answer our prayers can seem like a prison of silent torture. We may look fine on the outside, but on the inside, we are screaming out for things to change. It can seem like the one thing we are waiting for is never going to happen.
I remember praying and asking God for another child. I listened and prayed and felt I heard Him say, “Yes”, but not when. I wanted it to happen right after I prayed. I felt like this would be the perfect timing. Day after day, month after month, and year after year. Nothing happened for 6 years. I wish I could say that I handled the waiting well, that I trusted God and did not lash out, turn away and walk in fear and doubt. But I did all those things until I convinced myself I had heard God wrong and gave up. Finally, when I thought it too late, and I was 40, my youngest daughter was born.
Looking back, I can see some of the ways God was working things for good for me and my whole family in that waiting time. You may have waited for something in your life, or you may be waiting for something now. Here are some things I think could help you as you WAIT.
W– Write out your prayers to God. This will help you to lay down all your concerns before your loving Father and leave room for you to hear from Him. David did this in the Psalms. He wrote down his prayers, and that blessed him and still blesses us today!
Lord, hear my prayer!
Please listen when I call to you for help.
Whenever trouble comes to me,
I will pray to You.
I know that you will answer me.
A- Attention; Give the Lord your full attention. After you have written down your requests and poured out your heart to God, there is more space in your heart and mind to listen for Him to speak.
“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now,
and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow.
God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.
I- Intimacy; Seek to know God better and have a close intimate relationship with Him. This means making time with God a priority. Let Him be the first thing you think of in the morning and the last thought you have at night. Read His word and take it to heart as you walk out its principles in your life. Most of all, remember His great love for you, and stay rooted and grounded in Christ’s love.
Then, by constantly using your faith,
the life of Christ will be released deep inside you,
and the resting place of His love will become the very source and root of your life.
Then you will be empowered to discover what every holy one experiences—the great magnitude of the astonishing love of Christ in all its dimensions.
How deeply intimate and far-reaching is His love!
How enduring and inclusive it is!
Endless love beyond measurement that transcends our understanding—
this extravagant love pours into you
until you are filled to overflowing with the fullness of God!
The Passion Translation
T- Trust in the Lord during your time of waiting. God’s perfect love casts our fear. As we grow in knowing God’s amazing love for us, we will have peace that by worldly standards won’t make sense because we will know God is with us and He will take care of us.
Therefore, the Lord God says this,
“Listen carefully, I am laying in Zion a Stone, a tested Stone,
A precious Cornerstone for the [secure] foundation, firmly placed.
He who believes [who trusts in, relies on,
and adheres to that Stone] will not be disturbed
or give way [in sudden panic].
If you are waiting for God, let me encourage you. God will answer your prayers in His perfect timing. He is super smart and all-loving, and nothing is too difficult for Him. Try some of these things as you wait and see if you are strengthened in your believing.
May you be blessed as you WAIT on the Lord.