Tag Archives: Waiting on God

Beginning at the end

I suppose I’ve always been this way:

  • Shaking the presents to guess what’s inside.
  • Reading the last line of a comic strip to see if it’s funny enough to read the whole thing.
  • Reading the last chapter of a book first or the final concluding paragraph of an article.
  • Actually walking down the entire buffet line before I choose “buffet.”

Some of you understand. Maybe you belong to a family where you only tell the punchline and everyone laughs because they’ve heard the story so many times. Some of you are shaking your heads in disdain, saying it’s the process that counts as much as the end result. And you are right. Sometimes the ending is spoiled when we know it too soon. If you knew all along “the butler did it”, where is the mystery?

Whether it’s waiting for Christmas morning, waiting for kids to grow up, or waiting for an answer to prayer, we have this desire to skip to the end.  I’ve heard some say that whether it’s good news or bad, they just want to know so they can move on to the point they can actually do something.

Though it often escapes us, there is purpose in waiting. Waiting provides for us, protects us, and prepares us.

Waiting provides valuable lessons that can’t be learned in the instant gratification lane. Besides teaching me patience, a virtue few of us enjoy learning, waiting provides me with a renewed sense of perspective. It causes me to realize I’m not in control of everything, not even my own life. There are situations where the only control I have is how I respond to the situation. We aren’t always the captain of our own destiny. Waiting teaches us that God is God; I’m not. It provides greater blessing when I would have chosen less.

Waiting protects us. I recall a number of times when my delay was actually the hand of God protecting me from a poor choice, a bad relationship, or an unforeseen accident down the road. Sometimes we have to wait for certain doors to open because we aren’t ready for what’s on the other side. Sometimes, if we push too hard, we open a door not meant for us, revealing real dangers we hadn’t anticipated in our eagerness to pass through. Imagining the consequence of our choice helps us to wait patiently.

Waiting prepares us. Imagine trying to pass a test without studying and learning the material. Consider the consequences of being promoted too quickly to a job only to find you lacked experience to be successful. Reflect on the plight of being thrust into marriage too soon. Waiting prepares us for a future we’re unready for now. It affords the opportunity to build not only our knowledge and skills, but our character.  Just as we wait for a fruit tree to produce good fruit, so waiting produces good results in our lives.

So which is better, waiting or skipping to the end? As with most of life, the best answer may not be “either/or” but “both/and.”  As difficult as it is to wait, especially in the darkest times, it’s helpful to skip to the end of the bible and read the conclusion of the story. “God wins!” Our God who sees you and me right where we are, who knows our pain and every temptation that faces us – this same Mighty God will work good for all those who love him, who are called according to his purpose. He will lead you through the valley of the shadow of death.  He will show you the way to go because you have not been there before. The end of this chapter of my life is not evident just now. But the end of my story – and all who trust God – is clearly revealed. The power of God’s Spirit gives us peace in the middle of the storm and secures our hope, “as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” (Hebrews 6:19)

While you are waiting in difficult times, go ahead and skip to the end of the story and see that it is well with your soul.


Traffic lights


I’m thankful for traffic lights…especially when they are green. I’m guessing you feel the same way. We’re all busy, always going here and there, full of plans and activities and ambitions. We like the green lights that say to us, “Go on your way without any interruption. Please, proceed as planned. There’s nothing to stop you. Have a great day.”  They ought to put smiley faces on green lights.


But of course, it’s not all green lights in our life, is it? There are plenty of red lights that stop us in our tracks. They make us…WAIT! And which of us likes waiting? It often seems pointless, a waste of time. It frustrates our plans to sit at a red light when we want to move forward in the pursuit of our desires.


Then there are the yellow lights that confuse us. Are we supposed to hurry up and get through before the light turns red? Or are we supposed to slow down and be mindful of the circumstances that are unfolding around us?


Just as traffic signals govern the course of our driving, there are life signals that God designs to govern the course of our lives and even this very day before you. There are green lights that allow us to proceed as planned, full speed ahead. Of course some life roads seem to have lots of green lights. We might find we can make good time on those paths only to find they don’t really take us where we really want to go. Maybe you’ve been there, walking through every open door before you, only to discover later it led you to a place filled with emptiness and despair. The paths God chooses us to follow have green lights too, but not always. Sometimes the light turns red.


Red lights stop us in our tracks and impede our pursuit of our own plans. Cancer, chronic pain, a broken leg, the end of a relationship, a lost job, financial calamity… All these (and more) are red lights that put the brakes on life. We’re tempted to get angry and frustrated. But it’s at the red lights of life that we submit to being still before God and waiting for the perfect timing of his plan to be revealed. Red traffic lights test our trust in the orderly control of traffic. God’s red lights test our faith in his ability to maintain orderly control over our lives.  Red lights cause us to really unpack what it means that:

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28


Do you really believe that? ALL things? Do you believe that God can use even disappointments and pain and an endless list of frustrating events to work out for good? Do you believe that God can use the red lights and yellow lights as much as the green lights in your life? You can, if the road you’re one that intentionally leads you ever closer to him, if it is marked with the passion of loving him and pursuing his purpose. And if you do, you may find the red lights that stop you and the yellow lights that urge caution will not lead you to frustration and anger, but to a place of peace where you draw closer to God and find him plenty sufficient for your needs.  It’s quite possible that the red light is not just delaying your progress but keeping you safe from a pending accident further down the road.


When you stop at a red traffic light today, take time to breathe slowly and deeply. Let yourself relax in his presence. Enjoy a moment of quiet peace at his invitation. Ask God to help you trust that his plan will not be interrupted by red lights and that indeed ALL things will work for good for those who love him and are called according to his purpose.


Travel well today.



What do you do when you have to wait? We’ve grown accustomed to instant food, instant access, and instant gratification of nearly everything we want. We live in a “let’s get on with it” world that seems increasingly uncomfortable with silence and mindful inactivity. But waiting provides opportunities for us to GROW and to GLOW (go light our world):
Waiting at a stop light – pray for your fellow travelers. (Keep your eyes open so you don’t irritate them by missing the green light.:-))
Waiting in the checkout line – encourage a stranger in line with you. Share God’s love.
Waiting for someone to show up – pray for them. Ask for God’s discernment about your role in the meeting.
Waiting for an answer to prayer – carve out time to be quiet each day to pray and to listen to what God’s Word says. Say out loud the things for which you already are thankful.


God has a plan for us whereEVER we are, even in the Waiting Room of life. While you wait for a new mission, God has a mission for you right now, right where you are. David waited 14 years between being anointed as king and serving as king. Paul also waited 14 years between conversion and his first missionary journey. Moses of course waited even longer. Do you think they sat on the porch of life and twiddled their thumbs while they waited? No, and neither should we if we really want to seek God’s best in our lives.


God has a plan for each of us while we wait, actually three plans: to PROTECT us, to PREPARE us, and to PROVIDE for us. He protects us by keeping us from rushing into something that may be dangerous for us. He uses times of waiting which often seem like trials, to better prepare our hearts and to equip us for the next part of our journey. And He uses times of waiting to provide for us by ministering to our bodies, our minds, and our soul.


It has been two and a half years since we heard God’s call to serve Him in South America. Then leukemia came. During this time of waiting, He continues to remind us that we have a mission here, even though not completely revealed. But as we wait also for that we know His constant mission for each of us is to have us draw ever closer to Him, in dependence and in surrender. Always, we continue to learn what it means to really behave like a “new creation” in Christ. The answer is always found in submitting our will to the Holy Spirit and responding to that part of the mission that is clearly revealed.

In the still quiet moments of your day, ask him to reveal more of His nature to you. Draw closer to Him and submit your agenda for His, renewing your mind with His Spirit. Then receive His will for you, His good, perfect pleasing, and perfect will. . . Even as you wait.