Here are wise words from fellow Christian blogger Kristine Bolt on how to wait upon God’s timing. In this guest post she breaks down key spiritual truth while providing steps to take in your faith. I pray her vulnerable message brings peace to your heart if you’re in a season of waiting.
Waiting on the Lord may be one of the most difficult parts of being a Christian. Not only does it require patience, but it also requires trust. So maybe, like me, you get tripped up on it pretty often.
It’s hard enough waiting for something you deeply desire while trusting God, but it’s even more difficult when He seems silent in your wait. . .When He’s not giving you a sign that He’s working things out to give you what you want.
This is what happened to me when I was 18 years old. Back then, I decided not to wait on the Lord for the direction I desperately needed. And that one decision threw my life off-track for the next 20 years.
Some say that, despite that decision, my life unfolded exactly as it should. But I disagree one hundred percent. Because that one decision led me away from God. And as I walked away from Him — out of impatience and mistrust — I gave myself permission to do life my way. To go after what I wanted, when I wanted, how I wanted.
Which is how, years later, I ended up in a shiny but toxic relationship, clinging to a well-paying job that I hated. Chained to my fancy stuff, and to the lifestyle I’d chosen.
Years of apparent success, hiding my deepening unhappiness. All because I decided not to wait on the Lord.
How Not To Wait On The Lord
Why is it so hard to wait on the Lord, anyway? Let’s explore 2 common reasons. You may recognize in them how you’ve been waiting on the Lord. I sure did.
1. In Your Time, Not God’s
Mostly, it’s hard to wait on the Lord because you think that when you ask God for something, He should bring it about ASAP. That the Lord should get right on it and bring it all together without delay. Especially when it’s a dream He’s given you.
This was my story at 18 years old, when God planted the kernel of a dream in my heart. I prayed earnestly for Him to give me a roadmap of how to bring this dream about. And when God didn’t zap me with His full plan quickly, I prayed for a burning bush (seriously, I wish I was kidding).
Have you done that, too? Have you treated God as if He’s the genie in your Bible? You rub the cover — or flip it open to an appropriate Scripture — and expect Him to abracadabra what you asked for, right before your very eyes.
But God works on His timetable, not yours.
For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay. Habakkuk 2:3 (ESV)
So yes, God has given you a dream about which you should be hopeful. But do you trust that His timing is perfect while you wait?
2. All You Do Is Pray, Pray, Pray
You may also expect God to do everything, while you do nothing but pray without ceasing.
So you practically live in your prayer closet while you abdicate your responsibility to act. Intensifying your prayers daily because you want this thing so badly. While completely ignoring or missing the next step God is asking you to take.
That’s sure what I did.
I ramped up my prayers as my unhappiness in my great-looking life grew. As my relationship worsened, and as I advanced but hated my job more every day. My prayer journals were soaked with my tears, bursting at the seams with my desperation for God’s help to overcome my unhappiness.
Meanwhile, God was waiting for me to exit the unmarried, live-in relationship He never wanted for me in the first place. And He was waiting for me to obey Him and step out in faith from my job, to a new thing He hadn’t yet revealed to me.
So you ignore His instructions and ramp up your prayers. Even as you start thinking that maybe God doesn’t love you because He doesn’t seem to be giving you what you want.
But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. James 1:22 (CSB)
Yes, definitely pray without ceasing. But are you doing anything while you wait?
How To Wait On God To Answer A Prayer
Don’t feel bad if you saw yourself in either, or both, of these poor waiting habits. They’re sneaky and you probably don’t even realize you’re doing them.
Besides, you’re not the only one. I did the same things for years. And I was completely unaware the whole time.
So how should you wait on God to answer your prayers? Let’s look at 2 essential shifts that you need to make.
1. How To Wait On The Lord With Trust
Often, the underlying issue with waiting on the Lord comes down to trust. You get impatient because you don’t trust that He’s doing something. That He’s going to give you what you want, which is usually what you think is best.
Which then begs the question: How do you wait on the Lord with trust?
As a foundation, you need to know up front that trust is a decision you make, not a feeling you just somehow have. This means that you actively make up your mind to trust God, no matter what.
So when you’re tempted to doubt, you can intentionally and consciously say to yourself, “Nope, I already decided that I trust you, Lord. So doubt has no place here.”
Then, in the power of the Holy Spirit, you:
- Trust that God has a plan.
Even when you can’t see all — or often, any — of His plan, God always has one. And it’s never an emergency back-up plan.
A person’s heart plans his way, but the Lord determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9 (CSB)
- Trust that He knows everything, and you don’t.
So He’s working things out in ways you can’t begin to comprehend. Which may result in you not getting what you want. But will always end up with God being glorified through your story.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not my ways.” This is the Lord’s declaration. “For as heaven is higher than earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9 (CSB)
- Trust that God isn’t lying when He says He’s working things out for your good.
No matter how bad things look or how bad you feel. You can take Him at His word that it’ll all work out in the end.
“We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 (CSB)
2. How To Wait On The Lord Actively
Waiting on God isn’t passive, which means that waiting and acting aren’t mutually exclusive. So how do you wait on the Lord and act at the same time?
You practice active faith by doing what He tells you to do, while you wait on Him to do what only He can do.
Of course, your next question is, “How do I know what He’s telling me to do?”
God is God, and He can speak to you any way He wants, including through a burning bush. But here are a few common ways in which God speaks.
- God instructs you through His word.
As in my case years ago with my live-in relationship. I continued to look for God to answer my prayers to fix my bad relationship. Meanwhile, God’s word was straight-up telling me every time I opened my Bible that how I was living was wrong
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (CSB)
- God may instruct you through other people.
This usually takes the form of godly counsel. Just be well-enough acquainted with your Bible that you can tell if the godly counsel you receive is in line with God’s word. If it isn’t, it’s not godly counsel.
“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see if they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1 (CSB)
- God may instruct you through an inner knowing.
I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that God was prompting me to leave my high-paying job. But I wasn’t ready to trust Him without a clearly laid out plan. So I ignored His prompting and clung to that job until He pulled from my grasp.
As a born again believer in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit is always with you. And He often prompts you in a way that you may call a knowing in your gut.
“. . .But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.” John 14:26 (CSB)
Again, check your knowing against God’s word, for confirmation that you’re not walking out of His will.
The Essential Ingredients For Waiting On The Lord
My one decision at 18 resulted in a life that looked great on the surface but was riddled with unhappiness underneath. But that one decision also taught me how to wait on the Lord, with trust and action.
So now I listen to God and work as if the outcome depends on me. But I prayerfully trust the Lord as if it all depends on Him. Because it does.
Those people who say that my life unfolded exactly as it should? The ones with whom I heartily disagree? They also say something else.
They say that my life’s path took me to the exact destination where I was supposed to end up. That, I agree with. But it only happened because I finally submitted my will, my trust, and my patience to God. Only because He graciously reminded me that I could.
And when I did, He set me back on the path He’d always had waiting for me.
So how do you wait on God? With trust and patience. Doing what He tells you, as you prepare for Him to act, always in His timing.
“Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill what he has spoken to her!” Luke 1:45 (CSB)
About the Author
Kris empowers women to grow their faith, restore their peace, discover their God-given purpose, and finally love their lives. If you’re ready to find freedom and happiness, connect with her at Kristine Bolt or on Instagram.