Do you pick the longest line in the grocery store checkout or the shortest line? I pick the short-est line, and my reason is that I do not like to wait in line. But have you ever picked the shortest line and then had the “light” go on at the checkout because the person in front of you was having an issue with their order? You decide to wait it out, hoping that it will be quick. Mean-while, people in other lines are sailing right through the checkout. If you are anything like me, I’m very tempted to grow frustrated and impatient as I wait. Waiting is not something that I like to do, seek to do, or want to do.
As I looked outside my office window on April 19th with snowflakes falling from the sky and snow still covering most of the ground, I reflected on hearing in recent conversations a growing frustration of waiting for the weather to warm-up. Many of us were beginning to wonder if Spring would ever come! This reminded me again to the reality that waiting is hard. Even though we might not like to wait, waiting is a reality of life and it is important for us to learn how to wait in a manner that pleases God. So, as I was waiting for the weather to turn to Spring, I found some principles that will help us wait in a manner that brings glory to God.
The first principle is to believe the promises of God in the all things of life. Genesis 8:22 proclaims, “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease.” God has promised that winter and summer, and therefore spring and fall will not cease as long as the earth remains. In times of waiting, it is good for us to reflect on the promises of God. The promises of God encourage us with what God has done or will do. Remembering these things will help us fight the temptation of being frustrated when we have to wait for something we would like supplied.
Another principle is to believe the purpose of God in the all things of life. Romans 8:28-29 begins with this statement, “we know that all things work together for good.” The “all things” includes our waiting! But verse 29 defines the “good” that the “all things” produce. That is for believers to be conformed into the image of Jesus Christ. Our sovereign God is at work in the all things of life so that we will be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. You see, when we are forced to wait, it often reveals areas in our lives that need to be conformed to Jesus Christ. James 1 speaks about trials and times of testing and how they produce patience. Patience means we remain under and wait. And we are to “let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” The next time you find yourself waiting, ask: “How is God using this to accomplish His purpose of conforming me to the image of Christ?”
A final principle to help us wait in a manner that brings glory to God is to pursue a priority from God in the all things of life. That priority is a life of contentment. Our flesh tempts us with greediness. And in times of waiting we have to ask: “will my life be marked by contentment or will I be marked by greediness?” Paul said, “and having food and clothing, with these we shall be content” and “godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6). The writer of He-brews commands us, “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” When we, as believers, do not wait in a godly manner, we are really saying we are not content with having Christ. The priority for the believer is Christ. And in times of waiting, He has not left us.
By the time you read this article the weather will probably have warmed up at least a little. But you and I will both have other opportunities to wait for the glory of God. May these principles help us wait in a manner that brings a smile to our Savior’s face.