Last year my wife and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. And as Tammy and I enjoy the Lord's blessing upon our journey together, I also realize that the 7 years of persistent prayer before we met were just as crucial as the past 25 years of marriage.
During those "waiting years," I often asked the Lord to bless me with a wonderful Christian wife. Those years were a time of trusting, growing, listening, and being prepared for my future assignment as a husband and father.
Perhaps you are waiting on the Lord today for some special blessing in answer to prayer. As you wait upon God, there are plenty of things you can do to "be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power." (Eph. 6:10) And so don't view your time of waiting as "wasted" time. In fact, it can become just the opposite if you will "walk by faith and not by sight." (2 Cor. 5:7)
Here are 10 things you can do as you wait upon the Lord in your specific situation. These 10 spiritual practices help to prepare us to fulfill our calling as followers of Christ:
1. Be still.
Scripture speaks highly of what can happen when we become "still" before the Lord. It is often difficult for us to "chill out" and stop trying to rush God's plan in our life. And yet, when we choose to be still before God, the blessings are immense. The Lord instructs us, "Be still, and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10)
2. Be in the Word.
It is tempting to spend our time of waiting in worry, rather than in the Word. Worry leads to even more anxiety, while the Word is "the sword of the Spirit" (Eph. 6:17) that can defeat the enemy of worry. Waiting on the Lord involves spiritual warfare. God can deliver us from the ominous enemy of worry as we keep our heart and mind occupied with Scripture.
3. Be assured.
Jesus said, "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand." (John 10:27,28) The Lord who saved your soul for eternity is more than able to deliver you in your present hour of need. As you continue to wait on God, be assured that the Lord "will never leave you nor forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5)
4. Be serving.
Paul instructed Timothy to "be prepared in season and out of season." (2 Tim. 4:2) In other words, stay active using the spiritual gifts God has given you. As you serve others with Christ's love, your heart will find it much easier to wait on the Lord. Those who are busy serving others experience much greater peace than those who neglect to use the gifts God has given them.
5. Be encouraged.
There are many reasons to remain encouraged during a period of waiting. But it often requires "courage" to remain "encouraged." We must choose to reflect upon all the things God has done for us in the past. God's faithfulness is unwavering even when our current situation seems terribly confusing. Encouragement comes when we focus on our Savior's love and continue to trust Him. After all, He has promised to always be by our side.
6. Be faithful.
You already have enough pressure on you when you are going through a time of waiting. You don't need to add any more weight to the equation. And so it is critical to be faithful to the Lord during a time of testing.
Disobedience weighs down a disciple both spiritually and mentally. By choosing to remain faithful to God and His commands during your period of waiting, you receive even more power from the Holy Spirit and more endurance to press on in faith and not give up.
"We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him." (Acts 5:32)
7. Be prayerful.
Waiting on the Lord isn't for the faint of heart. It requires spiritual power, and prayer is one of the best ways to receive the much-needed strength to endure. Jesus said, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." (Matthew 7:7) God is greatly pleased when His children don't give up praying even though the answer seems slow in coming.
8. Be wise.
Impatience can lead a person to make foolish choices. Whenever we feel rushed, it is natural to make snap decisions that lack wisdom. This is why Scripture instructs us, "Be very careful, then, how you live - not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity." (Eph. 5:15,16) Periods of waiting need not turn into periods of impatience. "The fruit of the Spirit is .... patience." (Eph. 5:22)
9. Be expectant.
"Anyone who comes to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him." (Hebrews 11:6) In other words, be expectant as you wait upon the Lord. Believe that God has a wonderful plan for your future, and that He is more than able to bring it to pass in His perfect time. The reason a believer can expect great things from the Lord is because He is indeed a great and mighty God.
10. Be thankful.
No matter what you are waiting on God to do in your life, you can choose this approach:
"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thess. 5:16-18)
Giving thanks changes our perspective. And it makes the journey far more joyful than when we are anxious and stressed out over the details and the timing.
God has your situation under control my friend. And "the Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord." (Lamentations 3:25,26)
"Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." (Psalm 27:14) And as you wait, these 10 spiritual practices will enable you to experience more peace, more power, and more patience.