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5 Ways to Use Your Time Well While Waiting on God

5 Ways to Use Your Time Well While Waiting on God

Waiting on God renews our strength (Isaiah 40:31) but is anything except fun.

I should know. Years of waiting have christened me a reluctant expert on the topic. Milestones that have effortlessly graced other lives required fierce praying and standing on God’s Word before they happened in my own life.

Some of them are still in the works—or something like that—because they’re definitely absent from my world.

The details of these things I’m waiting for can fill future posts, so for now, let’s just own the obvious: I’m not a big fan of waiting.

You either?

Unfortunately, waiting is as universal as sales tax. Neither is pleasant although both are, supposedly, good for us. Since nobody has found a way to eradicate waiting, we might as well double-check whether there’s anything we’re doing that unknowingly prolongs it.

The following checklist can help.

Photo Credit: Pexels/JÉSHOOTS 

1. Who’s Waiting?

Are you truly waiting on God, or is He waiting on you—perhaps because you haven’t done what He has told you to do? This is a lesson prophet Jonah learned when God tapped him to preach against Nineveh (Jonah 1:1-2). The prophet not only disobeyed, he also financed his disobedience by boarding a ship headed to another town. God had to steer a forceful gale to intercept his journey, which then convinced the sailors to toss Jonah overboard, which was when a great fish swallowed him alive.

Jonah spent three days and nights in his maritime prison (Jonah 1:17).

But why? Why did Jonah have to wait that long when God could’ve easily freed him the first few minutes instead?

The answer is not because “God’s timing is perfect and Jonah just had to wait for it.” Rather, it was actually the Lord who had to wait for Jonah.

Here is how I know. Throughout the first chapter of the book that bears his name, Jonah never communicated with the Lord. He heard the Lord’s instruction but didn’t acknowledge the Almighty at all. Even when the sailors aboard the ship urged him to pray, there’s no proof he complied (Jonah 1:6).

Then comes the last verse of Jonah 1: “Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.” Notice how the very next verse begins: “Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the fish’s belly.” (Jonah 2:1, NKJV). The flow of these verses makes it clear the first time Jonah prayed was after spending three days and nights in the fish’s smelly belly. As soon as Jonah repented and determined to preach (Jonah 2:9)—as God had directed him to do—the Lord responded by ordering the obedient fish to vomit him out (Jonah 2:10).

Conclusion: Jonah didn’t wait for three days and nights for God to move.

It was God who did the waiting.

Likewise, the Lord will hold us accountable to execute His mandates. He will not answer our other prayers until we finish what He has already instructed.

Is there anything God has told you, which you haven’t done? These may unknowingly delay the fulfillment of your prayers. Ask the Lord to reveal such hidden sins (Psalm 19:12) and just obey.

2. Fortify Your Faith

2. Fortify Your Faith

The passing of time can drive us into doubting: Maybe God isn’t that good after all. Waiting on Him isn’t worth it. And since we’re often clueless as to how long our wait will be, maintaining a full tank of faith is a must. Because faith comes by hearing the Word of the Lord (Romans 10:17), one way to do this is by feeding on the Bible. A steady diet of the Bible will settle your faith that God is so good, it permeates into everything He does: “You are good, and what you do is good” (Psalm 119:68).

Another way to boost your faith? Revisit those dusty old journals and the triumphant stories you’ve penned there. If God got you through murky situations in the past, including those in which you had to wait for Him, there’s no reason He won’t do it again. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

If you don’t have any journals, how about starting one now? Chronicling your walk with the Savior today will help you weather through challenging seasons tomorrow.

3. Remember to Praise

It’s not a coincidence that the book of Psalms features complaints and their cousins—laments—as well as praise. (My personal theory: the Lord received more than 150 submissions to be included in the Holy Canon, but He vetoed any that only centered on suffering without any thanksgiving or remembrance of past victories.)

We ought to praise the Lord even if it doesn’t benefit us. He deserves all our praise for many reasons, not the least of which is plucking us from eternal damnation. But since God is that good, there are a few built-in bonuses when we praise Him.

  • Psalm 22:3 (KJV) explains God “inhabits the praises” of His people. As such, when we praise Him, we’re also ushering in the Lord’s presence.
  • But guess what His presence brings? Times of refreshing (Acts 3:19) and fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11)—just what we need when waiting wears us down.
  • The joy of the Lord is still our strength (Nehemiah 8:10). Praising the Lord, then, will refuel our strength for however long we are to wait.

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Simon Lehmann 

Man sitting still looking at the sunset

4. Rest and Peace

As you’re waiting for the Lord to answer your prayers, “make every effort to enter…rest” (Hebrews 4:11). Instead of fretting about when the answer will come or second guess whether or not God will come through for you, rest.

Practically, this looks like prioritizing peace in our daily operations, including relying on peace to discern His leading (Isaiah 26:3, Colossians 3:15, Philippians 4:7). When the tumultuous times we live in threaten to drench us with anxiety, remember that Jesus left us His personal peace (John 14:27). Speaking of the Son, not only is Jesus known as the Prince of peace (Isaiah 9:6), God is also called the God of peace (Romans 16:20, 2 Thessalonians 3:16).

Translation? We can always rely on His peace and never ever exhaust it.

However, we can’t live in our own calm cocoons without actively pursuing peace with those closest to us. Romans 12:18 and Hebrews 12:14 both emphasize our responsibility to live in harmony with others. But if this expectation is crucial for anyone—roommates, relatives, rude co-workers—it is absolutely imperative for married couples. A peace-deprived couple suffers serious consequences; for instance, a study suggested how a 30-minute spat with a spouse can add a day to the time it takes for a physical wound to heal (The Anger Fallacy). Moreover, strife also forfeits spiritual breakthroughs. No wonder 1 Peter 3:1-7 explicitly states that husbands and wives won’t get their prayers answered unless they get along.

Photo Credit: © iStock / Getty Images Plus / kieferpix 

5. Pray and Repeat

Perhaps you share my frustration at having to wait for God and still, nothing seems to shift. Contemplating how long I have been waiting—with zero results—depletes the last trickle of my patience. God has been stalling from delivering, and it’s time for a reckoning. Why hasn’t He answered years of praying and waiting?

Half sobbing and half furious, I flip my Bible to John 14. I jab at verse 13 and turn it heavenward. “It says here no matter what I ask, You’ll do it. Well, where is my answer? Where, God?”

I wish I could say the Lord’s response always arrives instantly, but you wouldn’t want me to lie, would you? This time, though, He replies rapidly, “that verse doesn’t have an expiration date.” Meaning, although John 14:13-14 assure us of the Lord’s affirming answer, they don’t specify when it will come.

Which means we are to keep waiting until His answer materializes.

Perhaps that’s why Jesus exhorts us to never give up in prayer (Luke 18:1). Pray always (1 Thessalonians 5:17), both because we’re petitioning God to move on our behalf, as well as while we’re waiting for Him to do so.

When God finally delivers the manifestation of my prayer requests, in accordance with Revelation 12:11, I will proclaim His wonderful works. Knowing me, I’ll likely write about it.

When it’s time for your waiting to wrap up, would you also testify about it—in your own way?

I can promise you this. If you share it with me, I’ll rejoice with you.

Laurent, S., & Menzies, R. (2013). The Anger Fallacy: Uncovering the Irrationality of the Angry Mindset, Australian Academic Press

dr. audrey davidheiser bio photoAudrey Davidheiser, PhD is a California licensed psychologist, certified Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapist, and IFSI-approved clinical consultant. After founding and directing a counseling center for the Los Angeles Dream Center, she now devotes her practice to survivors of trauma—including spiritual abuse. If you need her advice, visit her on www.aimforbreakthrough.com and Instagram @DrAudreyD.