A number of years ago I wrote an article titled, “He Hates to Wait.”
I pray most every day for patience to wait for his timing on things I want to see happen. I have made more poor decisions and committed more sin around the issue of patience than anything else I can think of. Sometimes when you walk with God, he seems to walk awfully slow. The hardest times can be the times in between!
Here are some marvelous thoughts from Paul Tripp on learning how to wait with grace and God-given patience.
Originally posted by Paul Tripp on The Resurgence
Seven Ways to Follow God’s Will For Your Wait
Sometimes God calls us to wait, and that is hard. But waiting for God is not passive; it is active, purposeful, and spiritual.
In ministry there are often moments when you are propelled by a biblical vision, but called by God to wait.
Waiting can be discouraging and hard. So what does it look like to wait in a way that makes you a participant in what God is doing rather than someone who struggles against the wait? Let me suggest seven things.
1. Remind Yourself You Are Not Alone
As you wait, tell yourself again and again that you have not been singled out. Remind yourself that you are part of a vast company of people who are being called to wait.
Reflect on the biblical story. Abraham waited many years for his promised son. Israel waited 420 years for deliverance from Egypt, then another 40 years before they could enter the land God had promised them. God’s people waited generation after generation for the Messiah, and the church now waits for his return. The whole world groans as it waits for the final renewal of all things that God has promised.
In ministry, it is vital to understand that waiting is not an interruption of God’s plan. It is his plan. And you can know this as well: the Lord who has called you to wait is with you in your wait. He hasn’t gone off to do something else, like the doctor you’re waiting to see. No, God is near, and he provides for you all you need to be able to wait.
2. Realize Waiting Is Active
Usually our view of waiting is the doctor’s office. We see it as a meaningless waste of time, like a man stuck in the reception area until he has nothing left to do but scan recipes in a two-year-old copy of Ladies’ Home Journal.
Our waiting on God must not be understood this way. The sort of waiting to which we are called is not inactivity. It is very positive, purposeful, and spiritual. To be called to wait is to be called to the activity of remembering: remembering who I am and who God is. To be called to wait is to be called to the activity of worship: worshiping God for his presence, wisdom, power, love, and grace.
You are part of a vast company of people who are being called to wait.
To be called to wait is to be called to the activity of serving: looking for ways to lovingly assist and encourage others who are also being called to wait. To be called to wait is to be called to the activity of praying: confessing the struggles of my heart and seeking the grace of the God who has called me to wait.
We must rethink waiting and remind ourselves that waiting is itself a call to action.
3. Celebrate How Little Control You Have
Because the constant striving in ministry to be a little god over some corner of creation is draining and futile, waiting should actually be a relief. It’s a reminder that I don’t have as much power and control as I thought I had. When I am required to wait, I realize again that I do not have to load my church onto my shoulders. I may have God-given responsibilities in a number of areas, but that is vastly different from pretending I have sovereignty in any area.
In ministry, it is vital to understand that waiting is not an interruption of God’s plan. It is his plan.
The church is being carried on the capable shoulders of the Savior Shepherd, King of kings. All I am responsible for is the job description of character and behavior that this King has called me to in his Word. The remainder I am free to entrust to him, and for that I am very, very thankful! He really does have the whole world in his hands.
4. Celebrate God’s Commitment to His Work of Grace
As you are waiting, reflect on how deeply broken the world that you live in actually is. Reflect on how pervasive your own struggle with sin really is. Then celebrate the fact that God is committed to the countless ways, large and small, in which his grace is at work to accomplish his purposes in you and in those to whom you minister.
When it comes to the ongoing work of grace, he is a dissatisfied Redeemer. He will not forsake the work of his hands until all has been fully restored. He will exercise his power in whatever way is necessary so that we can finally be fully redeemed from this broken world and delivered from the sin that has held us fast.
To be called to wait is to be called to the activity of remembering: remembering who I am and who God is.
Celebrate the fact that God will not forsake that process of grace in your life and ministry in order to deliver to you the momentary comfort, pleasure, and ease that you would rather have in your time of exhaustion, discouragement, and weakness. He simply loves you too much to exchange temporary gratification for eternal glory!
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