When I sense God leading me into something new, I immediately want to go into planning mode. I pull out my journal and I start dreaming. Yet after years of walking in faith, I’ve come to understand that just because God has spoken that dream or promise doesn’t mean it’s going to unfold the next day.
Maybe, like me, the season of waiting between the time God speaks and the time you cross the finish line is challenging for you. For many of us, this is the way God wired us. The good in this trait is that we are not afraid to dream big. The challenge is when days, weeks, and even years pass and it hasn’t happened, it’s human nature to either think we’ve heard wrong or maybe we did something wrong.
What if waiting is part of the plan?
Waiting seasons are found all through Scripture. Joseph heard from God in a dream and then there was a waiting season. Noah heard from Him and then there were several steps between that word and the flood.
Hannah, Sarah, Abraham, and many others experienced these same waiting seasons. I imagine each experienced the same emotions we do. Yet when we see the whole story, we see the value. Waiting prepared Joseph to lead a nation. Waiting allowed Noah to build a magnificent boat that would hold through the storms. Hannah and Sarah and Abraham and others experienced God’s faithfulness as they waited for God’s promise and plan to come to fruition. Waiting wasn’t an indefinite interlude or a punishment.
It was a part of the plan all along.
Can we just be honest? Waiting is hard.
Sarah and Abraham were so frustrated with the timing of God’s promise that they made their own plan. Their impatience threw a kink in the plan with ramifications that spanned generations.
I wish I could say we learn from their example, but there have been many times I’ve been tempted to do the same. A few years ago, I sensed God leading me to write my next book. This message burned inside of me. I prayed. I prepared. I wrote. I was accustomed to presenting my manuscript to the publisher and receiving a green light. This time was different. I was surprised by the no I received.
For the next six years I presented this same message to other publishers.
The rejections were almost always the same.
Suzie, while we love this message, it’s not time.
Not yet. Not yet. Not yet.
There were times I wondered if I had heard wrong. There were times I was tempted to take this into my own hands and do it another way, a quicker way. There were times I wanted to abandon it and just move on to the next project – one that would receive an enthusiastic yes. Every time I prayed and asked for wisdom and direction, I sensed God assuring me that I was exactly where I needed to be. When the door finally opened, the book was much different from the first draft. I had not only written it, but I had lived the words within the pages year after year.
When God says go and nothing happens, it may feel like a “no.”
That’s not true. If he spoke it, the plan has already started. It began the moment He spoke it. It will continue from those first shaky steps all the way to the last, including the waiting seasons.
Even as He asks you to trust him, He’s doing something beautiful in you.
When God said “go” and we are in a waiting season:
You are not alone in that waiting place. There is comfort and clarity to be found. These are things I’ve discovered that help in the waiting season.
Live where you live.
This simply means to appreciate right where you are. Take your eyes off the finish line long enough to notice the people in front of you.
Look for the miracles around you. Acknowledge the growth that is taking place inside of you. Ask God what he’s trying to show you in this waiting part of the plan. God often works in us before working through us.
Remember that it’s all part of the plan: The start line. The running with wind in your hair. The waiting. The falls. Getting back up. These count too.
Talk to God every step of the way.
The following questions can lead to comfort, direction, and hope in the waiting season.
- Lord, is there a miracle you’re trying to perform right where I am?
- What is my assignment in this waiting season?
If you sense that you are waiting and it’s not because you’re supposed to, ask the Lord that as well.
- Is there a step you’ve asked me to take, and I’ve hesitated?
The answer may be, “Take that scary step.”
There’s no guarantee that you won’t fall or fail. But that doesn’t mean that it’s a failure. Instead, it’s a journey of faith and discovery.
You may not always hear the answers right away, but perhaps there’s one thing he’s showing you that day. Perhaps it seems small, but it’s integral to the journey. As you talk to God in each part, it takes your eyes off the timeline, the plan, and you start to see the power of his work in every part of the process.
Waiting time isn’t wasted time.
You are His. You are seen. You are not just passing time in the waiting season. You are living expectantly. You are living fully. You are no longer trying to make things happen or waiting for the “if only’s” to drop in place but actively trusting in God, growing spiritually, and listening for His voice.
The destination of that dream isn’t what makes it “successful.” God’s plan isn’t about success or failure, it’s about obedience and listening to Him. It’s trust. It’s intimacy. Timothy Keller reminds us that our identity is never about the final destination, but being His.
The waiting has the potential to teach us that God is greater, more powerful, and that the waiting season wasn’t a dry period, but an active part of the plan all along.
What is waiting for you and me in the wait?