Let’s talk today about what we’re supposed to do during times of waiting. First of all, I want to be clear that there are definitely times when we really just need to be still. I think that if we don’t make times in our routines for stillness with God, He will force stillness into our lives. That has been an effect of covid in my life this year– forced stillness, forced rest. However, when God places us in long seasons of waiting, it’s fairly likely that He isn’t wanting us to just sit around all day hoping that stuff starts to happen.
The passage we looked at briefly yesterday in Titus 2 makes it clear that while we wait for Christ’s appearance we are to pursue godliness. And I think that’s just as true for seasons of waiting– we need to keep on pursuing God and seeking to do His work while we wait for Him to guide us, to answer prayers, to relieve a burden, to heal us, even to take us home to glory. God always has good works for us to do.
So what should you do while you wait? Here’s my first suggestion– do what you know you should be doing. Get busy. There are lots of ways to apply this, but it starts with God’s Word, prayer, and simple obedience.
If you are waiting for direction or answered prayer but aren’t spending time in Scripture, you’re not even putting yourself in a place to hear from God. I feel like every time I lead a Bible study or teach a lesson I come back to this very basic thing, but I feel very passionate that God’s people need to be spending daily time with God in His Word and in prayer. Just do it. Make time. Seek and you will find. Don’t seek the skies or your tea leaves or your horoscope or for some kind of sign. Seek for answers in the Book that contains the very words of the God who created you and knows every step you should take.
I think Christians tend to really neglect some of the most basic spiritual disciplines. I know I did for a very long time. Scripture reading is one. Prayer is another. I have been guilty of asking people to pray for something and never once praying for it myself. I have been guilty of telling others I would pray for them and failing to do so. Prayer is such a gift! We have direct access through Christ to the very throne room of God! If you’re waiting, spend some of that time in worship, in confessing your sins, in giving thanks, and in bringing your requests to God.
I have had several times in my life when I have cried out to God that I could not see the path before me. I will tell you that almost every one of those times the answer was not some fresh revelation or understanding of God’s Word. The reason I could not see is because I was not walking in obedience. Sin blinds us. If I harbor sin in my life, I will be blind to where God wants to lead me.
James tells us that if we know what we’re supposed to do but don’t do it, it’s sin. Times of waiting provide us with the opportunity to deal with that sin. If you’re in a season of waiting, maybe God has you here so that you can get serious about your relationship with God, share Christ with a friend, face that alcohol problem, or whatever it is you know God has called you to do. And as we walk in obedience to what we know to do, we make ourselves more in tune with where God may be leading us.
I am a procrastinator, an excuse-maker, and a generally lazy person by nature. One of the things I have to tell myself pretty often is to just do the work. Do the thing. Do the hard thing, the boring thing, the scary thing. Read the Bible every day, even if it feels like you aren’t getting anything out of it. Talk to God every day, even if it feels like your prayers aren’t making it past the ceiling. Obey what you know to do. Do the work and see what God does next. We can let our waiting become an excuse to not do anything, but I believe that as you do the work God has given you to do, He will keep on leading you to the next good thing.
He is faithful. Wait patiently. Do the work.