Waiting reveals whether we truly believe that God is wise and His timing is perfect. There is no crucible like the waiting room to sanctify us and make us more like Jesus, our Saviour.

But waiting on the Lord is not an easy activity for a believer. When God seems slow to act on our behalf, we may be tempted to take matters into our own hands, then look to God for his blessing. Alternatively, we may see waiting as a passive activity, like the period between writing an exam and getting the results. Fixated with the outcome we desire, we are blind to the valuable work that God is doing in us during the process of waiting.

Godly waiting requires active dependence on the Lord and obedience to Him. It’s a spiritual discipline that we must practice. If we seek God in ways that honour and please Him, the waiting room will yield many benefits for a Christian. Moreover, God will be glorified in and through our waiting.

Waiting in the Psalms.

In many heartfelt prayers, David shows us how not to waste our waiting. He teaches us to wait with hope, patience and trust, as we continue to do the things that please God.

Wait hopefully.

In Psalm 130, David cries out to God from the darkness of trouble, as he waits for the Lord to act. As a night watchman waits for a dawn that he knows is coming, the Psalmist waits confidently for God’s mercy, unfailing love and redemption. He puts his hope in the truth of God’s word, not his own feelings or his circumstances.

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
    and in his word I put my hope.
I wait for the Lord
    more than watchmen wait for the morning,
    more than watchmen wait for the morning (Ps 130:5-6).

Wait patiently.

In Psalm 37, David urges us to wait patiently for God’s justice, especially when we’re tempted to fret needlessly or take revenge. What should we do while we wait? Keep trusting the Lord, and do good (Ps 37:3); delight yourself in the Lord (Ps 37:4), and commit your way to the Lord (Ps 37:5).

Be still before the Lord
    and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
    when they carry out their wicked schemes.

Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
    do not fret—it leads only to evil.
For those who are evil will be destroyed,
    but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land (Psalm 37:7-9).

Wait trustingly.

In Psalm 33, David points to the object of our faith, as we wait. Our hope is rooted in who God is– His power, kindness, faithfulness and desire to bless his children. It is a hope based on solid ground, not wishful thinking:

We wait in hope for the Lord;
    he is our help and our shield (Ps 33:20).

Benefits of the waiting room.

In contrast to instant ‘name-it, claim-it’ theology, the Bible describes many benefits of waiting that a Christian can embrace.

The dependence of the waiting room will grow our prayer life, as we replace worry with trusting, thankful prayers (Phil 4:6). In a period of forced inaction and uncertainty, our hearts are quietened before a sovereign, wise and caring God. We learn to humble ourselves under the mighty power of God and cast all our cares on Him, waiting for him to lift us up at the right time (1 Peter 5:6-7). It is the place where we may experience God’s peace which exceeds anything we can understand (Phil 4:7).

The desperation of the waiting room dares us to ask for great things in prayer, as Elijah did (James 5:17-18). But it is also the place where we become a living, breathing example of the phrase, “If the Lord wills” (James 4:13-16). Christ Himself showed us what this humble submission looks like in the waiting room of Gethsemane (Luke 22:42).

Many years of waiting honed the perseverance, character and hope of a long line of Biblical heroes, including David, Moses, Job, Joseph, Paul, Esther, Hannah, Ruth, Abraham, Jeremiah, Mary, Daniel, Noah, Anna, Simeon and many others. Paul writes,

And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Rom 5:4-6). It is in the hard process of waiting that we begin to know the Father’s love in a unique way.

Tests of the waiting room.

Of course, as in the case of all affliction, waiting doesn’t always produce good fruit in a believer. Waiting was one of the greatest tests that Abram and Sarai had to face after God promised them a son in their old age. But, instead of being willing to let God work in His own timing, Sarai suggested a sinful, wilful solution, and Abram agreed. Instead of waiting on the Lord, Sarah took matters into her own hands by offering her maidservant to Abram to produce a baby (Gen 16:1-2). Through her manipulation, she made herself God. The result was confusion, contention and division.

And so, if our attitude to waiting is self-directed and presumptuous, we will be like the self- confident man whom James describes, intent on bringing his own plans to pass without taking God into account. His egotistical plans are described as “arrogant schemes” and “evil boasting”:

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil (James 4:13-16).

Your own waiting room.

In this season of your life, you may be waiting for God to restore justice, for crucial test results, or healing after many months of distress. You may be waiting for a spouse or a job offer after sending your CV to every contact you can think of. Or you may be waiting for God to save a loved one, restore a precious relationship, or turn your finances around. All the while, you are praying fervently for God to act.

But God does not want us to waste our waiting. Godly waiting involves staying the course of faith even when we can’t see the hand of God at work (Heb 10:36-39). It involves resting in the Lord today, as we wait quietly for his daily mercies and compassions (Ps 62:5-6; Lam 3:25-26). It requires us to take one day at a time, and not borrow tomorrow’s trouble (Matt 6:34). And it also requires us to accept God’s answer when it isn’t the answer we long for.

Fruitful waiting involves being faithful now in what God has called us to, even in small things such as work, singleness, taking care of children, undergoing treatment, or making every effort to find a job. Godly waiting involves obeying God’s Word and living holy lives, as we grow in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and wait for the world’s final redemption (2 Peter 3:14, 17-18).

After all, every Christian is waiting for Christ to return and for all wrongs to be made right (Rom 8:24-25). Every day we’re alive is a waiting room of faithful stewardship that Christ has entrusted to us (Matt 25:23; 1 Cor 4:2).

How can a follower of Christ ensure that our waiting is not wasted, but fruitful instead? Since most of us are action people and don’t like to stand still for long, here are some biblical steps we can take while in the waiting room—

  1. Pray expectantly.
  2. Walk by faith, not by sight.
  3. Trust in the promises of God.

Join us in the next week as we explore these three steps.


Lord, we acknowledge that y0u are sovereign over all circumstances, and perfectly wise in your timing too. Thank you that Jesus is our High Priest who understands our weaknesses, for He faced all the same testings we do, yet He did not sin. And so, we approach your throne of grace with confidence. We humble ourselves under your mighty power, knowing that you will lift us up at the right time. We give you all our worries and cares, because you care for us. Help us to use our waiting well by holding firmly to what we believe and by finding rest in you alone. We do not lean on our own understanding, but trust you with all our heart and acknowledge you in all our ways. Whatever the outcome, we know that you will make our paths straight. In Jesus’ name.

(Prayer based on Heb 4:14-16; 1 Peter 5:6-7; Matt 11:28; Prov 3:5-6).

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