This post was written by author, speaker, and teacher Wendy Pope, who has written multiple Christian books for women, including Wait and See: Finding Peace in God’s Pauses and Plans, Yes, No, and Maybe: Living with the God of Immeasurably More, Hidden Potential: Revealing What God Can Do Through You, and Jesus Everlasting. When I read her book Wait and See: Finding Peace in God’s Pauses and Plans, I really related to the stories she shared about seasons of waiting (especially her season of waiting to become an author). Soak in her uplifting words and be encouraged by her transparency.
We prayed for healing. We anointed with oil. We believed. We waited and waited…and waited some more.
Have you been there? Have you done that? I should probably back up a bit so you can get the whole picture.
On November 23, 1991, I married the man of dreams…literally. Tall. Blonde hair. Blue eyes. Drove a fast red sports car. (Okay, I know this is little vain. But I was in my late teens!) A Christian.
Yes God, that kind of guy will do just fine, I thought.
That was him—the man I wanted to marry. So, standing before Scott on our wedding day, you can only imagine how divine blessedly I believed my marriage would be since God answered my prayers right down to eye color. With great confidence, we danced into our life of bliss.
Fast-forward to our early 40s. You know, that time when we start noticing lines around our eyes, loosen our belts to the next hole, and grunt when we stand up. These are the typical signs of normal wear and tear that come with age, but my healthy husband seemed to have aches and issues beyond the norm. Without warning, we were thrust into a season of sickness and revolving doors of medical experts.
We started this health journey with hope, but for 18 months, doctors probed, prodded, and stuck the body of my once strong and healthy husband. This specialist treated his symptoms with that medication. That specialist treated his symptoms with different medication.
The seemingly never-ending roller coaster of meds and doctor visits finally stopped when we heard two life-altering words to my weary husband: rheumatoid arthritis. Finally, a diagnosis…finally, an answer. Oh, how we wanted our medical wait to end. But sometimes our wait doesn’t end as we expect. Sometimes it seems our wait will never end.
The wait is more about experiencing God than enduring the delay. Instead of getting distracted by the object of our wait—a medical diagnosis—we can grow closer to God, the Person of our faith. Here are three truths we can tuck deep into our hearts to help us handle the wait without losing faith:
1. Maintain your spiritual strength through prayer and reading God’s Word.
I realize this is the Sunday School answer. I also realize that when waiting has stolen your peace, praying and reading your Bible aren’t at the top of the to-do list. Long waits can drive a wedge between us and God. Even though I didn’t feel like spending time with God, that was exactly what I needed. Peace will fill our circumstances when we push through our feelings to stay close to God and allow His Word to guide us through our wait. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (Psalm 119:105 NASB).
2. Fight for praise.
On the days that Scott could barely walk, praising God felt like a huge sacrifice. I wanted answers from God. I didn’t want to offer applause to Him. But through my Bible reading, I fell in love with Psalms. David knew about suffering and waiting, yet he praised God. We can be certain that even on the bad days, God is still good. He will carry us through our seasons of waiting. Although it’s hard to praise God when the future is unknown, there’s always a reason why we can praise Him. Because of his strength I will watch for You, for God is my refuge (Psalm 59:9 NASB).
3. Find small and simple ways to love people.
Our churches, neighborhoods, and communities are full of individuals who need a touch from God. It’s only when we have immersed ourselves in God’s Word, spent time with Him in prayer, and made praise part of our routine that we can help others well. Scott and I don’t have to look far to find someone in need. Our troubles seem to be minimized when we focus on others. A generous person will be prosperous, and one who gives others plenty of water will himself be given plenty (Proverbs 11:25 NASB).
When we find ourselves in a holding pattern, it’s easy to ask, “What am I doing wrong? Is God holding my past against me? What do I have to do to earn His favor?”
Rest assured, God never presses pause out of spite. Sometimes waiting has less to do with the strength of our faith and more to do with the perfection of God’s timing. God makes us wait at times so we can glean valuable lessons. In the wait, He is preparing us for what He has already planned for us. Waiting isn’t wasting time; it’s training time.
Wendy Pope is the author of Wait and See: Finding Peace in God’s Pauses and Plans. She writes devotions for Proverbs 31 Ministries’ Encouragement for Today and is a content provider for the free online devotion app First 5, as well as a member of the Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker team.