So far in this series about Christian patience, we have learned its role in helping us endure trials, discovered it is something even King David had to learn, and got a glimpse into what it takes to develop it.
Now we will discover why God develops Christian patience within us during seasons of waiting- waiting to be healed, for resolution, for a particular trial to end, for a new season to begin, or even for a dream to be realized. Both good and bad things require waiting sometimes.
Waiting is a difficult thing to do. God’s “wait” is easily confused with His “no” because it’s hard to know what the lack of a yes means. When God is silent, we don’t know if He’s saying “wait” or “no” until something happens. We all know hindsight is 20/20.
But it is in the waiting that we develop Christian patience. Waiting is an essential part of our spiritual development, and I have discovered three reasons through my own journey that God asks us to wait.
First, He wants to develop our character.
Learning to wait is just as important of a role as the trials we endure. They both work to develop Christian patience. The beauty is that we gain a priceless gift while we wait. As we develop trust and find ourselves in a place of surrender, we find the courage to lay down our tightly held control that steals our peace. We discover that God is in control and He’s a good Father, so we can confidently leave the outcomes of our circumstances in His hands. We no longer have to try and micromanage or manipulate our circumstances.
In Acts 1:7, we read Jesus’ response to people trying to gain understanding and control of the world:
So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
It is not for us to know and understand. Our job is to trust that God is sovereign and that He will provide what we need through the Holy Spirit for what God brings to us or allows into our lives. Oh, total surrender to God’s plan for our lives brings sweet peace!
Second, He wants to establish our identity properly in Him.
In the waiting, God stripped away my misplaced identity. I hadn’t realized I had placed my identity in my love of plants and flowers. I thought He had created me thoroughly a plant lady. My interests, passions, hobbies, and career all revolved around plants. And I had all kinds of plans of how I could glorify God through how he made me. Oh, it seemed good and spiritual even.
Through the waiting and the trials, God stripped away my self-decided identity. It required repentance when He showed me my sin of making plants an idol. That was a painful process, and the stripped-away feeling was brutal. I’d say that was rock bottom until, slowly, God began showing me that the life I wanted and considered good was not the great life for which He created me.
My visions of how I could glorify God were shallow at best. We’ll usually find that what we want to do for God doesn’t measure up, but meaningful life comes when the Holy Spirit leads us.
Third, He wants to give us His best Yes.
I’ve heard it said the opposite of great is good. Before we fully surrender to God’s sovereignty and give up control of our life, we tightly grip what we want our life to look like. We dream and scheme, plan, and attempt to execute that plan. It can be very frustrating when God says wait or outright no by closing doors.
For many years, I poured all my efforts into developing my love of plants, flowers, and design to create a business. Oh sure, I thought of all the ways I could serve Christians and bring God glory through my endeavors. That was the problem- I was trying to tell God how I wanted to glorify Him. Looking back, I can see how God was directing those steps and using my ambition, but He knew that was how I would learn what He needed me to learn to fulfill His purposes for my life.
I didn’t understand this until recently, though. Each time I thought I was seeking the Lord and knew what I was working towards, I was confused when God shut doors before whatever it was took off. For years I hit dead end after dead end and became increasingly discouraged.
God had to deal with my misplaced identity before He could reveal my true purpose. I’m amazed at what no longer tugs at my heart because GOd changed my perspective and set my identity right. But I can also see that none of my gifts and talents have changed. I still love plants and have an entrepreneurial drive, but I am a daughter of and loved by the King. All the things He led me to do but then said, “Wait,” had a purpose. It just wasn’t what I thought it would be.
He’s preserving His best yes for you, too.
God preserved me for His best yes. And the same is true for you. Through the waiting, He’s preserving His best yes for you, too. He tells us in Ephesians that He already designated what good works we will do for his glory.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
He loves us too much to let us settle for good when He knows what great looks like.
That, however, requires a fully surrendered life which comes from the seasons of waiting and often through the trials. So like the parent who gives their child what is best, not necessarily what the child wants, God allows seasons of waiting and trials. He wants to give us a priceless gift.
As hard as they are, seasons of waiting and trials in the life of the Christian end up becoming blessings and expressions of God’s goodness. They result in a surrendered life consecrated to the Lord.
Praise God there’s a purpose to the pain when He asks us to wait.