Five Things I've Learned About Waiting
From Greg Ingram
Without a doubt, waiting is one of the harshest aspects of human existence. Is there anything more painful than being forced to wait with no course of action? Have you ever had to wait by the phone for test results from your doctor? Each minute feels like an hour as you wait for answers.
Waiting is to feel neglected for a time. As I type these words, my family and I are in a season of waiting. Due to circumstances beyond our control, we have been delayed in relocating to Miami to start a church with Orchard Group.
Here are some of the lessons (many of them painful) I am learning in the waiting process:
- Remember Who is in control. Jokingly, I ask my three-year-old son, “Who is the boss?” This backfired when he responded, “God.” Waiting reminds us Who is in control. James 4:13-15 says, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’”
- Embrace the mess. The more comfortable and confident you become with God and His plan, the more at ease you are with the mess called life. A Christian counselor once wisely advised me to “sit in the mess and talk to God” instead of trying to “fix” it myself.
- Focus on growth. Mark Batterson says, “We’re so focused on God changing our circumstances that we never allow God to change us! If we’re being completely honest, most of our prayers have as their chief objective our own personal comfort rather than God’s glory.” How do we use the frustration of waiting to grow and become a better person?
- You are not alone. Most break-throughs in Scripture required waiting. Without preaching a sermon, here are just a few examples: Joseph (13 years in slavery and prison); Moses (40 years between fleeing Egypt and returning to deliver the Israelites); Joshua (40 years of wandering in the wilderness, then seven long days at Jericho); Paul (three days without sight, and time in Arabia).
- Above all, it’s about God! In John 9, Jesus encounters a blind man. The disciples assume his blindness is caused by sin. They ask, “Who sinned, this man or his parents?” Jesus says it was not the result of sin, “but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” Is my delayed timeline about me or God? I believe it is for the glory of God that His works might be displayed according to His perfect will.
It has not been easy, but I can say with the utmost confidence that God’s timing has never ever been off by a single second. My continued challenge is to surrender my whole self to Him and His timing.
Greg Ingram is the Lead Planter for the Miami Project. He lives in Miami with his wife Whitney and their two children.