My daughter and I got in line behind a man who was already checking out, so I figured it would be quick. But then the cashier started pressuring him to open a Kohl’s charge account, promising a significant discount on his pile of dress shirts.
I tried to keep a pleasant expression on my face as the customer told her he already had a Kohl’s card and she began several failed attempts to locate his account. She continued to pitch the new account, and he repeatedly said “no thanks.” My mood soured. I tried not to glare at both of them.
As he decided to fill out the credit card application, I no longer bothered to hide my annoyance. I sighed and rolled my eyes and commiserated with my daughter about how long it was taking. And let’s not even talk about my reaction when his application was denied. (Imagine several wailing-face emojis here.)
When it was finally my turn to check out, I was struck with conviction. The swell of impatience, frustration and even anger in my heart in those few minutes made it clear: I stink at waiting.
At Kohl’s, I knew I would eventually pay for my items and leave the store. But often when we wait on the Lord, we don’t know if or when we will ever receive what we’re waiting for. It’s hard to wait with no end in sight.
Right now I’m waiting for my house to sell. I decluttered and staged and now all I can do is wait. After a few weeks, the waiting led to irritability, and irritability led to grumpiness that spilled over into my relationships. Did I mention I stink at waiting?!
After a few days of snapping at every thoughtful friend who asked about the house-selling endeavor, I turned to God’s Word for help. This is what I found:
The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. (Lamentations 3:25-26)
The Lord is good. The first truth we see in this verse is that we can trust the Lord to give us good things, in His good timing, according to His good plans. Waiting becomes easier when I understand that His plans are always good, even when they are different from my plans. He is God, and I am not.
The Lord is always good, and He is always good to me. I believe it, but often when I’m waiting, I forget to act like I believe it. My impatience results from lack of belief in God’s goodness and faithfulness to me. I must constantly remind myself that God is good in every situation.
What is my soul seeking? The second step to waiting well is to seek the Lord for who He is, not just the blessings He gives. What consumes my thoughts? What excites or upsets me? The answer to these questions reveals what my soul is seeking.
When my heart is consumed by the object I’m waiting for, I will be disappointed, unfulfilled and discontent. If my heart’s desire is for the Lord, I will be satisfied. It is a constant struggle to turn my heart from what I want and seek the Lord. A heart that seeks the Lord can wait quietly.
Thank Him for what He’s given. When I struggle with waiting, I’m usually focused on what I don’t have rather than what I’ve already been given. The Lord has given me all I truly need: salvation by grace through faith in His Son.
As I plead with Him for my desires and ask Him to end my waiting, I need to remember that what I’m asking for pales in comparison to the grace and mercy I’ve already received. Romans 8:32 reminds us that God, who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, will also graciously give us all things.
I don’t know if my house will sell. But I know God is the giver of good things. When my heart seeks the Lord, I can be content. And I can wait quietly, knowing that the One who gave His Son for me will give me all that I need.
What are you waiting for? How can these steps bring peace to your waiting time? Try turning Lamentations 3:25-26 into a prayer that you can pray to God as you wait on Him.
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