What does it mean to wait well? I ponder this question quite a bit because I have a tendency to be very impatient. My lack of patience, frustration, tears, and disappointment are evidence that I am still a work in progress when it comes to waiting well. Thankfully, I have a God who is so patient and loving. He continues to teach me what it means to wait well and to trust Him in the process.
I don’t know about you, but I feel like my entire life has been one long wait after another. Of course, this may be a little dramatic, but sometimes life certainly feels that way. The funny thing I’ve discovered is that when I get what I’ve been waiting for (whether it be that pair of shoes, a spouse or a home) it seems that I am only satisfied for a time until I want that next thing and have to wait. Part of this journey for me has been learning to be content with what I have and where God has me.
In Philippians 4:11-13 the apostle Paul says this, “Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Paul knew what it was to wait well. He found contentment in whatever circumstances he faced, including shipwrecks, prison, ridicule, and physical pain. Paul knew that in order to wait well He had to be content wherever God had him and whatever God gave him. His secret was that Paul trusted in the Lord. He trusted that God was with him and would bring him through.
What an example for you and for me! Does this mean that when we struggle in disappointment or hurt that we should beat ourselves up because we are not content? By no means! God is so gracious to know that our suffering matters and He wants to hold us through the wait and through the struggle. He wants to empower us and change us in the waiting. While our circumstances may not fully change, rest assured that when we are content in Christ, He may in fact be changing us.
Another key to waiting well is trust. We can be content when we fully trust in God’s plan and purpose in our waiting. Many of the things I have prayed and waited for came much later in my life than I anticipated. Looking back, I can see the purpose in the wait. God was changing and refining me. He was making me who I needed to be to handle what He had next. If there is one way I can help you in your waiting it is to learn from my journey to trust God before anything else. Laying down your wants and needs before Him, entrusting them to His care will allow you the freedom to wait well. It won’t always be easy, but it will help your load to not feel so heavy.
One of my favorite scriptures is Isaiah 26:3, “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast because he trusts in You.” My friends, waiting isn’t easy. Waiting can be downright painful at a times. But I encourage you today to learn contentment and allow yourself to trust in the Lord’s perfect plan and timing. This will help you to wait well. Don’t worry if you don’t have it all figured out. I know these things, yet still have to practice daily the art of waiting well. Staying close to Jesus (reading His Word, prayer, and worship) makes every wait well worth it.