Nobody likes to wait. Ask anybody waiting in line at the DMV, looking for their name to be called in a doctor’s office, shuffling through a crowded TSA checkpoint, or sitting in rush-hour traffic with a chatty Uber driver. We struggle with patience.
As Christians continue to celebrate the Advent season, we reflect on the Christmas story in anticipation of the birth of Jesus and long for His return. In a world that conditions us to value speed, we are encouraged to slow down and wait.
Surely no one minds waiting for a short period of time, but we get impatient when we have to deal with delays we have no control over. Waiting is difficult when our circumstances need to be changed or our loved one needs to get well soon or when we feel entitled to see our prayers answered in a specific way.
Waiting brings things to the surface and encourages us to tell hard truths about our relationship with God that we’d much rather keep in the recesses of our minds. It’s an opportunity to dive deep and ponder a few questions.
Are we in love with what God can do for us or are we in love with God because of who He is?
Are we enamored with the gifts God gives more than the giver?
When all we want to do is push the fast forward on our lives, God may see fit to hit the pause button. “He may not come when you want Him, but He’ll be there right on time,” is how gospel singing legend Dottie Peoples puts it.
Waiting is an exercise in faith that renews our strength. (Isaiah 40:31) God fortifies our belief and tests to see if our worship is consistent or if it varies based on how our prayers are answered. When it seems like everything isn’t going according to plan, things are slow to get better, and when the odds aren’t in our favor, God wants to see if we’ll praise Him anyhow. Waiting recalibrates our focus on God’s character and dependence on the promises in His Word instead of depending on the physical blessings God bestows.
Meditate on a time when God worked all things together for your good despite the adversity you faced.
Read through the Psalms.
Revisit your prayer journal and reflect on how God has matured your faith.
Make a “worship while you wait” playlist. Here’s a few suggestions: “He’s Preparing Me” by Daryl Coley, “On Time God” by Dottie Peoples, “Be Grateful” by Walter Hawkins, “He’s Able” by Kirk Franklin
Communicate with God in your heart language. Pour out your heart and pray a prayer of adoration, thanksgiving, confession and supplication.
Worship while you wait on God. That’s a message for anyone growing impatient and longing for what’s to come. Same goes for the freshman redshirt ready to show their talents on the big stage, the transfer eager to make their presence felt on the field, the walk-on trying to work their way on a team, or the athlete plotting a spectacular comeback. Don’t grow weary in well-doing (Galatians 6:9). Worship while you wait.
When you’re conditioning alone, worship while you wait.
When you’re going to rehab instead of practice, worship while you wait.
When you find yourself spending more time with the athletic trainers than your teammates, worship while you wait.
When the team is off to another competition and your name isn’t on the travel roster, worship while you wait.
Wait on the Lord and be of good courage.