Pray: Waiting With Purpose

What are you waiting on?

Sometimes it can feel like you’re just constantly waiting for the “next step.”  Waiting for “the right” job or promotion like we talked about last week; waiting for romance, marriage, or kids; waiting for God’s direction in any number of areas.  Just, waiting.

I’ll level with you: I don’t like waiting.  Patience is hard for a type-A person like me.  It doesn’t sound or feel productive to say, “I’m waiting on ___.”  I always want to be doing, and waiting can seem frustratingly passive.

That’s why I love this verse from James 5:7-8:

Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming.  See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains.  You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.

The verse instructs us not merely to wait patiently, but to wait like farmers.

Having grown up on a farm, I can tell you that farmers don’t “wait” passively.  They don’t kick up their heels and watch the seasons change.  Farmers wait purposefully.  They actively prepare the ground, plant thoughtfully, and nurture their crops carefully.

What does it mean to wait purposefully for things in your life?

Several years ago I went through a period of waiting with my son Christian.  As a sophomore in high school, he started making some seriously bad, and even dangerous, life decisions.  What’s worse, he was living with his Dad at the time, so there was very little I could do on a day to day basis.  I had to wait, and it felt awful.

But, like the farmer in James 5, I didn’t just watch time pass.

I prayed, a lot, and enlisted others to pray too.  Every day I re-committed the outcome to the Lord.  I also studied:  I read appropriate parenting books and talked to other parents who had gone through similar challenges.

Two years later when Christian came back to live with me, I was ready.  All that time in prayer when I was forced to trust in the Lord and nothing else deepened and enriched my relationship with God.   I was better able to discern His will and also better able to minister to Christian.   All of my research helped me to come up with a plan, including taking time off work in order to be where Christian needed me.  Through God’s intervention and providence, Christian came to desire a personal relationship with his Savior.  Now, many years later, Christian’s life is on track and his relationship with the Lord is blossoming.

Praise God!

Oh man, I HATED those years of waiting and worrying, but ultimately that period of waiting helped me grow as a Christian and made me a better Mom.

If you’re feeling “stuck” by a time of waiting, remember that purposeful waiting starts with prayer.  Next, consider what you can do to prepare so that you’re ready when the waiting is over.  Maybe that means reading-up on relationships or expanding your professional skill set.  Whatever it is, know God is at work in every part of your life, even (or maybe especially) in the waiting!