I never wanted to be divorced. Many of my hopes and dreams crumbled with my marriage. I lost my family, my financial security, my ministry. As I faced the days ahead, I was filled with fear. I was looking for hope, for any sign that there was a future for me. I found it in Psalm 37:4-7.

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you. He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun. Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. 

As I meditated on this scripture day after day, my heart began to calm. I knew that if I delighted in God—if I searched for him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength—that he would give me the desires of my heart. He would give me a future filled with hope. He would redeem the mess and make something beautiful from it.

One day as I repeated this scripture yet again, the truth suddenly struck me: While God says he will give us our heart’s desire, he tells us in verse 7 that we have to wait. I wanted God to reach down, intervene in my situation immediately. Instead, he told me that I had to be still and wait patiently for him to act.

Over the last few years, I’ve kept this passage posted on my bathroom mirror. I read it daily. I continue to cling to the promise that God knows my heart and he wants to fulfill my greatest desires. As I’ve pursued him intentionally over the last few years, I’ve seen my desires change. In the early years, my greatest desire was for a husband. As I’ve sought the heart of God and allowed him to change my heart, my greatest desire is now to be used by him. My heart still longs for a husband—and I believe God will fulfill that desire. But, that desire is no longer at the center of my heart.

Through the years, I’ve scoured scripture looking for guidance on waiting. I’ve found four very specific instructions from God.

Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act (Psalm 37:7).

I used to think that I was a patient person. The truth is, I live in a society that values instant gratification. Why wait? Opportunities to obtain what I want now are all around me. Fast food, credit cards, microwaves…much of our lives is designed to eliminate the need to wait.

I recently heard a quote on the radio that struck me: Our willingness to wait reveals the value we place on the object upon which we are waiting. How true is that? How often do we decide to go to a restaurant and find an hour wait time for a table? Are we willing to wait? It depends upon how badly we want to eat at the restaurant. Contrast that wait with a fast-food restaurant where you aren’t supposed to wait. I’m willing to bet the value of the food at the first restaurant far outweighs the value of the fast-food joint.  

The same is true for other desires. I could sell myself short, date anyone who might be acceptable, step into a ministry situation that isn’t designed by God specifically for me. Instead, I find that those desires are far too valuable to short-change. I would much rather wait for God to open doors to the man and the ministry that he has designed specifically for me.

Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him (Psalm 62:5).

Last year, I had laryngitis for seven weeks. I’m not talking about a hoarse voice; I mean no voice. I was put on complete vocal rest. I carried around a white board, and I communicated with my children by text messaging. It certainly gave new meaning to the phrase wait quietly.