Is there something in your life that you are waiting for?
In church contexts we often hear testimonies and stories of people that are waiting (or were waiting) faithfully for something that God has promised them.
It could be the wait for a spouse, a baby, a house, a job, a relationship, healing, financial breakthrough or a career opportunity.
I don’t profess to understand the intricacies of God’s timing. I’ve watched people wait and hope for their promises for a long time, while the wait for others seems less than a layover.
Take me for example. I’m 28-years-old and single. God has certainly put a husband on my heart, but where this is concerned, I’m currently in the midst of a glorious-God-wait. In a Christian context, single in your late 20’s sees you encroach on a minority group. I’ve watched over the years as my beautiful friends have met their men and married them. And I’m still here, as single as ever.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining! Merely making an observation and giving you an example from my life. I understand what it’s like to wait, and I can empathise with the challenges that come with a patient and faithful wait.
How do I reconcile my hopes with God’s timing? For me the answer comes down to this: I trust God!
I trust that He loves me and only has good things for me (see John 3:16). I believe that His timing is perfect and that every season, irrespective of whether you’re waiting for something that’s on your heart, serves a purpose.
David says it well in Psalm 16:5 (TPT):
“You are my prize, my pleasure and my portion. I leave my destiny and its timing in your hands.”
I believe that while I am waiting for something, I can still be an effective agent for the cause of Christ. Waiting for something is not permission to sit on your hands, being inactive and inefficient!
And when doubt tries to creep in [because the patient and faithful wait can sometimes be plain old HARD], I choose to remain in God, trusting in Him and His promises over my life.
I believe that all of this is true because I see it over and over in the bible. The bible is full of testimonies that required some serious patience.
Case in point: Abraham. Isaac. Joseph. David.
Trusting God and His promises.
And we’re called to do the same!
DIGGING DEEPER INTO JOSEPH’S ‘WAIT’
Continuing to dig into Joseph’s story, we can see that he spent his latter teen years and all of his twenties waiting patiently for the dreams in his heart to manifest.
Joseph was 17-years-old (Genesis 37:2) when God first gave him the two visions of his family bowing down to him (Genesis 37:6-7 and Genesis 37:9).
Joseph was 30-years-old when he became governor of Egypt:
“Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh…” (Genesis 41:46).
Then, after another seven years had passed, Joseph was reunited with his brothers. This is when they bowed down to him.
That’s a 20-year wait!!
20-years from the time the seed of vision was planted in Joseph’s heart, to the time it manifested in the physical realm.
BUT IS IT REALLY A WAIT?
I was at Hillsong’s Colour Conference recently and one of the speakers – Bob Goff – made a comment that has stuck with me.
He said that we should be slow to title the ‘chapters’ in our lives, because what we want to title them at the beginning of the chapter, may be different to what we would title them when we come to the end.
Let me give you an example…
At the beginning or in the middle of a season you may be inclined to title that chapter of your life: ‘The Wait’. But, as you travel further into the chapter, with the insight that hindsight and the Holy Spirit brings, you may consider changing that title to ‘Preparation.’
Rather than title Joseph’s 20-year season ‘A Wait’, when we look closely, a more appropriate chapter title would be ‘Positioning and Preparation’. God was using that time to position and prepare Joseph for the manifestation of the dreams on his heart.
Scour scripture from the moment Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery, through to the time Joseph’s brothers come and bowed down to him, and not once do we see Joseph complain, question God, sulk, scoff, be bitter or angry.
Joseph was immensely patient in his preparation season and its trials and tribulations.
What a legend!!
If we look at our ‘waiting’ seasons through God’s lense, and see them as positioning and preparation, what are the ramifications?
The bible tells us! Look at Romans 5:3-5 (MEV):
“Not only so, but we also boast in tribulation, knowing that tribulation produces patience, patience produces character, and character produces hope. And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
See, so much good can come from the preparation seasons! While the season can carry trials and tribulations, look at what it produces when we wait steadfastly and faithfully on God: patience, character and hope!
When we wait faithfully in the preparation seasons, the Holy Spirit develops these qualities in us. This, in turn, equips us to live out the vision on our lives.
Imagine stepping into the manifestation of your vision, armed and equipped with patience, character and hope! This power trio enables us to outwork the dream to the fullest, in a way that brings God all the glory and honour.
VISION MANIFESTATION: NOT TIME TO KICK BACK AND RELAX
The fruits of the preparation season are so important because, when the vision manifests, the work is just beginning.
It’s not time to put your feet up and say ‘I’m done.’
Rather there’s still work to do. That’s why patience, character and hope will serve you well as out outwork the vision.
Look at Joseph for example. Once he was appointed second-in-charge, his work for Egypt was just beginning. He had to store up seven-years of harvest throughout Egypt to ensure there would be supply for the seven-years of famine that were to follow (Genesis 41:46 – 57).
In the famine season Joseph is reunited with his brothers. The same ones that sold him into slavery 20-years prior. I can only image the patience and character that this demanded of Joseph!
GOD’S NOT SLOW
Can you see it now? That the waiting season serves purpose and produces good fruit when you submit and entrust your life to God?
I love the way the Message translation puts it:
“There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling short-changed. Quite the contrary – we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!” (Romans 5:3-5)
So, if you are like me and find yourself in a season where you’re waiting for a promise on your heart to manifest in your life (shout out to all the single girls and guys), shift your mindset and see this season for what it is – preparation and positioning.
It doesn’t mean that you’re any less than those who already have what you’re hoping for. No way! God has an entirely different plan for your life and when you trust Him and His plan, He will never let you down. Don’t compare your journey to that of others. It’s like apples and oranges; and, it’s futile!
God’s not being slow. It’s all a matter of divine timing. Trust Him and be obedient. He knows what He’s doing!
2 Peter 3:8-9 (The Message) says:
“Don’t overlook the obvious here, friends. With God, one day is as good as a thousand years, a thousand years as a day. God isn’t late with His promise as some measure lateness.”
God operates in the time spectrum of eternity. Therefore, his concept of time is very different to ours. You may think He’s being slow but entrust your life into His hands and you’ll see that God’s not slow. His timing is divinely perfect.
Remember this next time you’re tempted to think God is dragging His feet on the promises over your life. Consider your current chapter and what its title could be when the time comes to enter the final full-stop.
And if you find yourself at the beginning, or mid-chapter, let me encourage you with my one of my favourite scriptures:
“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 MEV).
That is what we ought to do in the preparation season (and always!): Hope in the Lord and let Him renew your strength.
Where does this hope come from? From character, which comes from patience (remember, Romans 5:3-5).
So, don’t sweat the ‘wait’ my friend. God is asking you to trust Him and be patient in the preparation. Its fruit is good and He strengthens you all the way!
Let me leave you with this thought from Psalm 32:8-9 in The Passion Translation (TPT):
“I [King David] hear the Lord saying, “I will stay close to you,
Instructing and guiding you along the pathway for your life.
I will advise you along the way
And lead you forth with my eyes as your guide.
So don’t make it difficult; don’t be stubborn
When I take you where you’ve not been before.
Don’t make me tug you and pull you along,
Just come with me!”