EXPOSE | Stay Focused When God Makes You Wait
“I was always amazed to watch them sit there. Flies crawling into their eyes, sweat burning their bodies as it seeped through their clothes and dried in layered cakes of salt. Pure misery and pure focus. The ones who progressed through training were the ones who were able to remain completely focused on what really mattered while ignoring the things that would have to wait.” – Eric Davis, Navy SEAL sniper instructor on “beating distraction”
EXPLORE | Stay Active When God Makes You Wait
A Navy Seal sniper is probably the only person that could give God a run for his money in a staring contest. Nothing comes between the purpose and the prize. Giving any real consideration to emotion, desire, or physical need isn’t an option.
When God makes us wait, we too must lock on to what matters most, while ignoring our nagging questions and lingering doubt, which multiplies the longer we need to wait, and is further compounded when an answer is most urgently needed. But we’ll also see that it is neither a solitary or sedentary endeavor.
“Quietness without diligence can make us passive, lazy, negligent, and lead to escapism. But diligence without a quiet heart is just thinly disguised self-reliance.” – Brian Hedges
EXECUTE | What to do When God Makes You Wait
Why God Makes You Wait
Because I want to focus mainly on what to do while we wait, I will only highlight the consensus around the important reasons why God makes us wait. It is a necessary support for our maintaining the focus and endurance in our remaining active while we wait. If each of these were reasons were measured by a meter, God is committed to moving us from where we are now, to “burying the needle”. So, where are you on the dial?
– Sanctification – where are you on the ‘milk vs. meat’ maturity meter?
– Motives – where are you on the ‘my motives are true and pure’ meter?
– Faith – where you on the ‘oh ye of little faith’ meter?
– Appreciation – where you on the ‘I deserve this vs. everything is a gift’ meter?
– Patience – where are you on the ‘I’m a brat’ meter? “Never having to wait makes you a brat.” – Jim Butcher
– Intimacy and dependency on God – where are you on ‘I’m all in–I can’t get any ‘more in’ than this’ meter?
– “Fit” to receive His mercy or grace – where are you on the “God delays his mercy because you are unfit to receive it” (Tim Challies) meter?
4 reasons why God makes us wait
5 reasons God makes us wait
4 things you need to remember when God makes you-wait
why God makes you wait (Tim Challies)
5 reasons why God calls us to wait
why does God make us wait (Jim Butcher)
What to do While You Wait
As you can see, there are some very good reasons for why God makes you wait. But what to do with that time? There is a line from the movie Facing the Giants that properly frames the approach to waiting:
“… I heard a story about two farmers who desperately needed rain; and both of them prayed for rain. But only one of them went out and prepared his fields to receive it. Which one do you think trusted God to send the rain?” – Facing the Giants “prepare your fields”
There are two ways to approach waiting: passively or expectantly. Waiting, should be an active process. We should approach waiting with eagerness. Here are some suggestions for “active waiting”:
Be present and keep your eyes open.
Staring toward the sky waiting for an answer is not going to be good for anyone. “Stop and and love those around you.” In other words, if you can’t be working on what you’re ultimately waiting for, then be useful to those around you.
Rehearse God’s faithfulness.
Part of our being so easily distracted is that we’re taken away by the ‘not yet answered’ questions. Reminding ourselves of God’s past faithfulness can level the impatience.
“Waiting on God is a regular refrain in the life of faith. It is an expression of the healthy heart’s desire: “O Lord, we wait for you; your name and remembrance are the desire of our soul” (Isaiah 26:8). Few things will pass the time as effectively and richly as counting your blessings and naming them to God.” – David Mathis
Push the weight of faith back onto God.
Our faith doesn’t stay put, so check back frequently to see that it hasn’t moved from where it should be (on God).
“Move the weight of your trust off self, where it keeps gravitating back, and consciously reorient on God.” – David Mathis
Is this a crisis or an inconvenience?
Confirm that you’re asking about, and waiting on, a need, not a want.
“When I’m frustrated that I’m not hearing from God, I ask myself if my petition is a want or a need.” – Lori Freeland
Like we mentioned above, we need to be actively swatting away those distractions that will get in the way of our waiting properly. Not the least of which is to put us in the best position to listen.
“When you get quiet, you can focus your mind on God and what he wants to say to you.” – Rick Warren
“…we need quietness. This is the opposite of a fretful mind, a troubled, anxious heart.” – John Owen (17th century pastor)
Remain faithful while we wait.
In the same vain as what was mentioned above, but even beyond our families, we need to remain faithful in doing right and doing good.
“Quietness doesn’t mean passivity, lethargy, or spiritual sloth. Waiting also involves faithfully following the Lord in everything we know to be right. As the Psalmist says, “Wait for the Lord, and keep his way” (Psalms 37:34).” – Brian Hedges
Waiting can be one of God’s most effective tools. The timing can be just as prescient as the substance of His response. Indeed, the longer we need to wait, the more attentive we become. With our being properly active while we wait, is when God goes to work.
Don’t waste the waiting. God doesn’t.