Thursday thoughts: There is a purpose to waiting


I take my 10-year-old granddaughter, Liza, to school every morning. About two weeks ago, we scheduled our summer family vacation with our kids and grandchildren. Every morning she counts down the days and tells me how she is going to have to wait SO long until we can go. She is not even the least bit excited about school being out because she is so focused on waiting for vacation.

To be perfectly transparent, I am not fond of waiting either. I looked up the definition of waiting and according to what I read I definitely do not have waiting mastered at all. The definition said, “to remain stationary in readiness or expectation or to look forward expectantly.”

I have been thinking about the things I don’t like about waiting and honestly, it all boils down to impatience. Don’t tell my husband, but I am not a patient person, although I’m pretty sure he knows that after 46 years. When you are impatient you can be annoyed by anything that impedes or delays the result. Basically, it's just saying it needs to be my way and in my time. That truth hurts just to type it out!

I think the things I struggle most with on waiting are answers to questions or situations that are really out of my control, and they usually involve someone I love. It normally concerns my husband, my children, grandchildren, or friends and family who are dear to me. It’s hard for me to remain stationary when I want to help solve the problem or fix the situation. It’s difficult to stand still and just wait. I have friends who are waiting for test results, my husband who has been waiting on an answer from disability for over 14 months now, family and friends who are struggling with grief or finances, and many other things.

However, I thought of how many verses I know in the Bible that address “waiting.” I’m sure God is trying to teach us something with all these verses. Psalms 27:14 says, “Wait for the Lord, be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD.” Waiting teaches you courage. I think my tendency is to be frightened and scared when I am waiting. I’m scared of the outcome. I’m frightened about what “might” happen. God is telling me I don’t have to be afraid or frightened about anything. I just need to trust HIM to provide the courage I need to face anything.

If you look up the definition of courage it says “a mental strength to persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.” I totally believe waiting with courage takes mental strength. When I am waiting I have to fight off all the distractions. I have to resist the temptation to take things into my own hands. I have to internally battle fear and uncertainty. It’s work physically and mentally to obtain courage.

I have discovered that in the waiting God builds my courage. The first verse of Psalms 27 says, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” I can conquer fear in the waiting and receive courage because I am a child of God. I pray I will be able to courageously wait, knowing He is in control.

I have also discovered that waiting builds my strength. The only way I can endure waiting is to allow God to provide me the strength to wait. One of my favorite verses is Isaiah 40:31: “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

Waiting renews and gives us fresh strength to handle anything this life might send our way. Our job is to trust and seek the Lord during our waiting period. We have to stand firm and dig deep into the Word of God, especially when we are overwhelmed with the difficulties and trials of life. True strength only comes from God. He is our strength and refuge during difficult times. Our job is to not look inward to rely on our own strength, but to look upward to God who supplies everything we need. He is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

I pray I can trust God for the strength to wait on His timetable not mine. I would not consider myself a courageous person nor would I say I was extremely strong. I do, however, know that I am a child of God and HE provides me with the courage and strength that I need in this life. Waiting does not mean you are doing nothing. Waiting is God doing everything while He allows you to deepen and develop your courage, increase your strength, and practice patience. Waiting has a purpose and I want to learn to wait well.

I might not enjoy waiting but I will look for the lessons God is teaching during the wait. And, just so Liza knows, I’m excitedly waiting for the beach vacation just like she is but I also have opportunities to trust God while I’m waiting. I don’t want to miss anything God has while I wait because He is still working. I just need to focus on living faithfully and trusting God while He works in the wait.

The bottom line is the choice is ours. Do we choose to try and work things out ourselves, or do we choose to wait on God? The definition of “choose” is to select the best or most appropriate of two or more alternatives. In that case, I choose GOD while I’m waiting!! Who will you be choosing? I pray it’s the same choice.


Jill Johnson, a staff member at the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, finds spiritual applications in her everyday experiences as a wife, mother, grandmother and Georgian. She is available to speak to your church's women's gatherings. Reach her at