If you’ve been in evangelical circles for a while, you will no doubt have come across the inevitable phrase: “Waiting on the Lord.”
It’s a good thing. The Bible is awash with stories of people who prayed and waited on God before making decisions. Jesus waited for 33 years, surely one of the longest waits in the Bible.
But, here’s the thing: Often, waiting on God is an active process. It’s meant to be a time of prayer, taking small steps of faith and sometimes even leaping out in crazy faith.
So, why is it that sometimes, when I look around church circles, it seems that we have made careers out of “waiting on the Lord?”
Of course praying and waiting on God before making decisions is a responsible Christian act. However, “waiting on the Lord”—a process that is meant to reassure us of God’s presence in our lives—is sometimes used as an excuse to be fearful of taking risks and avoiding failure. And that’s not biblical.
Remember, God has not given us a spirit of fear. Waiting on God for the perfect opportunity—or a sign from God—to do anything is pretty much a disastrous recipe for life. Think about it. You would never make any decisions, because you would be so fearful of getting it wrong.
So, here, in no particular order, are five reasons why there is more to “waiting on God” than just waiting.
Sometimes You Just Have to Move Forward.
Some decisions you just have to go with. You’ll never know until you’ve tried. Every good and perfect opportunity comes from God. If you’ve prayed about it, it doesn’t clearly contradict God’s desires as revealed in His Word and everything seems to say yes, then go for it.
Honestly, what’s the worst that could happen? If you believe that God is the creator of the universe and that your life is in His hands, then you have nothing to fear.
If all goes wrong, God will still be good and in control. You can always start again.
Sometimes, You Won’t Hear Directly From God. And You Have to be OK With That.
After you’ve prayed and waited. And waited. And waited. And, yet, nothing seems to happen, go forth as per point one above.
The Bible is littered with stories of people who waited on God, sometimes for a lifetime, for His promises to be fulfilled. And some of them did not even get to see the fruition of what they waited for.
In such instances, they made peace with the waiting period, knowing that, ultimately, God is in control. When things don’t work out like we thought they would, it doesn’t mean God doesn’t care, it just means He has a bigger plan than we can see.
Have you made peace with your waiting period?
Let Common Sense Prevail.
God is interested in our daily lives and wants to be involved in everything we do—He’s our Father.
But we can take things too far by expecting a pillar of fire with every decision.
Big life decisions such as a move to another city or country warrant waiting on God. But waiting on God to reveal whether you should go to the 8am or the 10am service is not.
If your church is teaching Truth and you’re finding an encouraging community there, just go to a service. Job done.
There is a Time and a Season for Everything.
The Bible says there is a time and a season for everything.
Perhaps, you believe God made you a promise. Maybe you made a decision, based on what you believe you’ve heard from God, and it’s not going the way you envisaged.
Perhaps, it’s not that you made the wrong decision, it’s just God wanting to get you to the right place so that things can continue moving on your behalf (remember Joseph?).
Maybe God Wants to Spend Time With You.
We’re a serious lot, aren’t we? Always doing this or that for God. But here’s another view. No one likes waiting for anything. But, maybe, just maybe, in this waiting season, God wants to spend time with you, to enjoy being with you.
So, while it’s not always a good idea to sit on your hands “waiting on the Lord,” the waiting may just be God’s way of getting your attention and, you know, forcing you to take a break and just hang out with Him for a little while.