How to Survive the Waiting Game
by John Paul Jacksonwww.StreamsMinistries.com
Wait for the LORD;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the LORD.
— Psalm 27:14, NASB
No matter what God has called us to do, one of the most difficult things we will face is the in-between time. In the beginning, he prepares our hearts for the calling. He gives us a glimpse of His plans for us, and it births great hope within us.
The difficulty is that there is always a time lag between the initial preparation and the outcome. The beginning often carries a great emotional surge. We know what God said, and we know we will see it happen, no matter what the enemy may throw at us in the process. Our faith is as tall as the mountains. We feel invincible in God’s promise. We take the initial steps and are excited to see the fruit of our labors.
But then comes the waiting.
The days become weeks and months, and we have to wait for what God has promised us. Many of us don’t handle the waiting very well. Our hope begins to waver. We begin to forget the glorious promises God gave us and how it felt when we heard His voice. So many of us lose heart during the time lag.
What can we do to gain heart during this waiting period?
1. Be willing to rest
Hearing God’s voice is like finding a well in the desert. We do not survive on our own thoughts or strength or goodness, and as we discover this, we discover reality and true freedom in Christ. His presence is our lifeblood, and He is His peace, which is the foundation for hearing His voice. It will be very difficult for us to stir up our hearts, and keep them passionate and alive, without being willing to rest in His presence.
So in the midst of waiting for change, we need to be willing to rest. In the New American Standard translation of Psalm 24:17, it reads, “Let your heart take courage.” If we are worrying and striving and trying to make things happen, it will be very difficult for us to find our peace in God. It will be difficult for us to remember Him.
This week, if you find yourself brought low by anxiety, despair or the apparent lack of movement in your life, let your heart take courage by being quiet in His presence. This is the starting point for everything we do. There, God will prepare us for the change He is bringing and for the next step in the promise He has given us.
2. Be captivated
Paul wrote in Romans 10 that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. The level of “hearing” that Paul talked about means to be enraptured, to be captivated, to be totally consumed, to be focused on the Word — that is what increases our faith.
What has God told you? Be like the persistent widow in Luke 18 who would not allow the judge to forget her case. If it has been awhile since you have actively remembered the promise God gave you, change that. Think about it. Remember it. Write it on a note card and tape it to your bathroom mirror. Be captivated by God. Open your heart to hearing His quiet voice in the area of His promise.
3. Be willing to take risks
Finally, we need to consider taking steps we have never taken before. Perhaps God has already set up everything we need, and the only thing left for us to do now is take the risk that He’s calling us to take at the time he’s calling us to take it.
Peter took a lot of risks. The New Testament is filled with wild stories about him. Something daring and unorthodox was in him from the beginning. He didn’t always take the right risks, yet God never chastised him for being zealous.
If you do these three things — rest in God, be captivated by Him, and be willing to take the risks He sets before you to take — you are guaranteed to see change because you are seeking God. You are holding on to His promises, and you are remembering His voice. You are honoring Him, and that is no small thing.
Today, be strong and let your heart take courage.