Wait a Minute
By Christine Thomas
The average person over 50 will have spent five years of his life waiting.
The scenarios are endless: stop lights, checkout lines, and a human voice when you call the utility company. With so many opportunities, we should be good at waiting.
Christians, especially, are called to exhibit patience to a watching world. The Bible says “For they shall know us by our fruit” (Colossians 3:20). When God has you in a holding pattern, do you wave frantically like an impatient maniac behind a slow driver in the fast lane? Or do you exhibit self-control while striving for contentment in an unpleasant situation?
To improve your next spiritual wait time, keep these suggestions in mind:
Stand firmly in one spot and enjoy where you are.
Waiting is to remain inactive or stay in one spot until something anticipated occurs.
Last spring when my brother Joe was a groom, dozens of witnesses watched as he waited for his bride to walk down the aisle and join him at the altar.
While Joe waited, he didn’t stand there sighing and checking his watch. After so many months of planning, he just wanted to savor the moment. With a deep sense of contentment, he drank in the scenery. The lush grass, the budding spring flowers, the gurgling waterfall, and, of course, the bright, encouraging faces of friends and family who had eagerly joined him in his wait.
Like Joe’s stationary position at the altar, God sometimes keeps us in one spot. We can complain and argue, or we can enjoy where we are.
Be active in service to others.
One of the most fun jobs I ever had involved waiting and it was anything but inactive. In college I waited tables. I greeted people, listened to their requests, met their needs, and helped create a relaxed atmosphere for them to enjoy their meal. The job was exhausting; but equally rewarding.
We often associate waiting with letting time pass until our expectations are fulfilled. When waitressing, I served the needs of others while they waited. We were both waiting, but my role was active. Today, I use that same server mentality when I find myself in a spiritual holding pattern. I distract myself from my own problems by focusing on the needs of others.
In addition to helping people in need rather than waiting for my own trial to end, I look to the Lord for direction.
Seek specific instructions.
Waiting doesn’t have to render us ineffective. God’s call on our life isn’t suspended because we’re seeking an answer. In fact, waiting is often God’s cue to dig into scripture and seek God with abandon.
Currently, we’re waiting for my husband to find a new job. He’s had frequent contacts and interviews, but no offers. As Bible-believing Christians, we’ve done what we know to do: pray, fast, trust God—yet nothing has changed outwardly. Inwardly, however, our spirits are calmed by his Word, which reminds us to keep our hope fixed on him, not the waiting.
I wait for the Lord, I expectantly wait, and in His word do I hope. Psalm 130:5 (AMP)
Waiting is an unavoidable practice we can learn to perfect. When it seems God is silent in our circumstances, it doesn’t mean He is inactive. In fact, His silence often gets our full attention.
The next time God has you in a spiritual holding pattern, consider putting these suggestions into practice. It will improve at least five years of your life.