A boss would often say, “Carty, what are you doing while waiting?” I disliked this question so much; each time he said it, I would be upset because I thought it was the stupidest question ever. I felt he was asking me this question to see if I had enough work to do, or was I twiddling my thumbs so that he could give me more work. But I missed the point of his question. He didn't want to provide me with more work; he wanted to know my mindset as I waited —what was I doing to prepare myself. Every one of us has waited and continues to wait on God. So, as you wait upon the Lord, I ask you —what are you doing while waiting on Him?
Waiting on God can be challenging. The first question many of us ask is, God, how long? How long till you answer my prayer for a spouse, for healing, financial breakthrough, miracle, and salvation for my loved ones? How long must I wait? The longer we wait, the more burdened we become. But I am not here to tell you how you can get God to answer you quickly, but to encourage you to continue waiting on God with expectancy and without the heavy burden.
When we look at biblical figures that waited on God, we can all admit that some of them waited years —David waited 15 years to be King. Moses waited 40 years to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, and Sarah waited 25 years for her appointed child, Isaac. And you and I begin complaining when months pass by. But waiting is like a marathon; it takes stamina and willpower not to give up or give in.
Many of us don't like waiting, especially for long periods, and we don't know how to wait most of the time. If you’re headstrong, patience is not your virtue; you have frequent conversations with God about his timing. Not to mention, you might take matters into your own hands. But to wait means delaying action until a particular time or until something else happens. In other words, God does not need your help. On the other hand, if you’re more laid back, persistence may not be your strong point, and your conversations with God may often look like, “well, God, I know you can do all things, but I understand if you don't want to do it for me.” God didn’t ask for your perspective. The key to waiting on God is posture —by this, I mean—an attitude. In other words, what is your mindset while you wait? The question —what are you doing while you are waiting? The answer can be found in the acronym—P-R-E-P-P. Therefore, as you "prepp" yourself to wait on God, here are a few tips to help you accomplish this.
The first P is for Preparation. When we look at pregnant women, as they wait for the birth of their child, they are also preparing for the coming of their newborn. No one waits until the baby is born to buy everything needed; I sure hope not! Preparation and planning are essential if we are to obtain success. I have seen people blessed with money yet have no idea how to save or invest it and instead have squandered it all. God will give you the blessing, but do you possess the knowledge and wisdom to retain it? The same applies to waiting on a spouse; you should research and investigate what makes a good marriage. Not to mention allowing God to prepare a healthier you. Too often, we think —God blessing me with a spouse —automatically means a successful marriage; that's where you come in; you have to work at it. Marriage is a work in progress; trust me, I know.
The next letter is R—Remember what God has done for you and not how long you wait. Do you realize how anxious you become each time you look at the time while waiting? God did not create us to be timekeepers no wonder it drives us nuts. If your focus is on his timing, you’ll be blinded to what He’s planning. Instead, take frequent trips down memory lane to remind yourself of God’s goodness and faithfulness rather than his supposed "lateness." Make it a habit to write down or send yourself voice notes when God shows up during your day or has answered your prayer. Make a journal of each answered prayer and keep re-reading it. God continually amazes us, and we must take note of it. Remembering biblical stories and testimonies will strengthen you to wait on God; this brings us to our next point.
E —Expect God to bring His answers. No one waits for something if they don't expect it will happen. Do you go to the doctor’s office and expect not to be seen? Or what about waiting in line for your favorite meal? No one stands in line waiting for a meal they know has been sold out. Therefore, your expectation allows God to gauge - you still want this. Just like that pregnant mother, not only does she prepare for her child, but she waits with expectancy knowing that soon she will be rewarded with that bundle of joy. Your duty is to keep your expectations high while God brings the answer.
The next P is for Preoccupy. I love the meaning of this word –to dominate the mind to exclude other thoughts. When our minds are preoccupied, other thoughts don’t stand a chance. So too, with waiting, when we are preoccupied, for example, exercising or studying the word of God, we are less concerned about how long we are waiting and become more engaged with what we are currently doing. You and I need God’s word to dominate our minds when waiting on God. What if your mind is preoccupied with the wrong thoughts? Unfortunately, most times, we are preoccupied with the stress of life. The Bible tells us, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You Because he trusts in You." Isaiah 26.3. The enemy will attack and send negative thoughts your way —causing you to doubt God. What are you doing to safeguard your mind? We live in a world full of distractions; our lives are so busy that, sadly, we often miss when God is leading us to His answer. You cannot hear that small, still voice if your mind is preoccupied with life's stressors. The more time you spend with God’s word, the clearer His voice becomes. So, remember, allow Godly teachings to rule your thoughts and leave no space for the devil to preoccupy any part of your mind.
The last P stands for Prayer—the most important of all. You must remain persistent in prayer. I will be pretty honest with you; if you spend more time with social media than God, you will be burnt out waiting on Him. How do you expect to gain stamina if you are too busy to make time for God? Your strength comes from God; you’ll need God's strength to wake up each morning and face the same problems —a broken marriage, a stressful job, loss of income, illness, or disobedient children. I have discovered that what I call urgent and important sometimes can wait when something life-threatening happens. For example, if I suddenly fall ill, all the critical things get pushed aside. Therefore, make time and prioritize what is truly urgent and what is important.
Spending time with God is essential, for only He can lift the heavy burden that we often carry as we wait. And remember, if we don't PREPP for His answer, we won't have the stamina to stay the course. Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart: wait, I say, on the LORD - Psalm 27:14
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Written by: Cheryl Carty-Strachan
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