I Waited Patiently for the Lord

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When we beg God to change our circumstances and things don’t instantly change, there’s great temptation to feel discouraged.

A few years ago, I found myself in a difficult situation in my career. What seemed like a good opportunity at first later turned out to be a total bust, and I found myself waking each morning with a feeling of dread.

As the situation became more adverse I began to pray, “Lord, please change my circumstances! Please provide a new job.” As I spent time with Him and poured my heart out to Him, I sensed that He was telling me that my tough job was His will for a season.

I had faith that He would provide something else, but until then I knew my role was to wait patiently and be faithful to do the current job with excellence.

I obeyed. And while I was glad when God finally did change my circumstances and provided another job, I was also grateful for what He taught me through that difficult process of waiting in anticipation for Him to move.

If you have a pulse, chances are good that you don’t like to wait, either. And waiting in discomfort makes the waiting all the less tolerable. So when we beg God to change our circumstances and things don’t instantly change, there’s a great temptation to feel discouraged.

But if your walk with God is anything at all like mine, He loves to make you wait on Him, too. He doesn’t make us wait because He’s slow. His timing is perfect. He makes us wait because waiting has a way of building character and Christlikeness in us. It also has a way of making us feel powerless. And when we are weak, He is strong.

Paul did his share of uncomfortable waiting. He begged God to change His circumstances, but God had something better in mind. Paul says:

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.’” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Note two things here: First, God did not answer Paul’s request to change his circumstances. God responded with something better. God gave Paul grace to endure. Second, note Paul’s response. As much as he dislikes his circumstances, he rejoices that God is making him more like Jesus through them. He sees this as infinitely more valuable than God simply changing the situation.

So whether it is in your career, marriage, in a relationship or other circumstance, as long as you are called wait, know that the waiting is the best thing for you. As sin is revealed in your life through the process of waiting, confess it and repent of it. Most importantly, as the waiting makes you feel powerless, embrace that weakness as Paul did so that you may learn to depend completely on Him alone.

“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.  He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.” - Psalm 40:1-3

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