Waiting on God

“Truly my soul silently waits for God; From Him comes my salvation.” (Psalm 62:1 NKJV)

Everyone seems to be doing Christian commentary videos these days on social media. Yeah, you have seen them.

I know you have.

More often than not, some of these videos remind us how the scriptures warn, “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness” (James 3:1).

But I have to say also that some are very good.

Some… not so much.

I recently came across a video by a young woman who professed to be a Christian. She discussed in the video our need to “wait upon the Lord.”

But the example she used was instructing women NOT to pray for a husband.

She immediately caught my attention, so I listened intently to her message.

The young woman’s advice to other women, who I assumed was her target audience, was NOT to pray or seek out a husband and to “work” for God… and if it were God’s Will, He would “send” a husband to the woman at the appropriate time.

I was perplexed why she would tell other women not to pray for a husband when the scriptures clearly say that we can ask God for anything we need (Matthew 7:7; John 14:14).

Moreover, scripture says that God will give us the desires of our hearts when we delight ourselves in the Lord (Psalm 37:4) and live for Christ (Luke 12:31), placing Him first as head and Lord of one’s life.

But I left a comment for the young woman because wanted to understand what she meant. She appeared to imply that waiting on God meant that a person should do… nothing.

And that is simply untrue.

To my surprise, she responded.

In her reply, she asked me, “What did Abraham and Sarah do?” Referring to them waiting on God for the promise of a child.

I simply responded back… “Abraham and Sarah continued to have relations.”

I wasn’t trying to be flippant or provocative with my answer.

As I explained to her, I wanted her to understand that sitting idly by is not the biblical definition of waiting on God.

Even when God gives us a promise, or we desire to receive something from the Lord, it doesn’t mean we don’t have a part to play in our own blessings.

That means continuing to live a life daily for God, as the center of all our heart’s desires. But it also means to act in faith by committing to Godly activities while faithfully cutting out the ungodly.

Either way, waiting upon the Lord to fulfill the promises He made or actively waiting on a prayer request, waiting on God still maintains us to act in a manner that will bring about the desired result.

The following four points are what helped me to maintain an attitude of living for God as I waited for what I asked for.


1. Living for God:  A Definition

It seems nowadays that many do not understand what it means to wait upon the Lord.

Living for God is different than living for ourselves. Many often believe that we can live for ourselves, and that God will simply give us whatever we want.

But that is NOT the case.

The Psalmist says, “He will choose our inheritance for us…” (Psalm 47:4a)

Again, the scriptures tell us, “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So, I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20 NLT)

The Christian life is a life lived for God.

That means our purpose and desires stem from living a life that is not only pleasing to God in general but one that is focused wholly on realizing how to use our gifts, talents, and abilities to further God’s purpose in our lives and the communities in which we live.

What is God’s Purpose?

God’s purpose is to bring others to Him through us:

      • by loving Him, and
      • by loving others

Every job, vocation, or even hobby we engage in should have as our primary motivation to love God and show God’s love to others.


2. Beginning with Relationship

I have never met a married couple that became a married couple by not spending any time together.

Similarly, I have never met a strong Christian successful at living out Christian values who never (or rarely) spent time with God.

Understanding God’s Will for our lives is based upon the relationship we have with Him. Having the ability to wait upon God stems from trust in God that only develops from spending time with Him.

Many years ago, during a time of unemployment, I asked God for help in finding a job. I continued to do all the things people should…: send out resumes, talk to people, apply to jobs I thought I might qualify for, etc.

I know I’m dating myself here, but back then, there were no online job postings or social media accounts to network from.

There were just good ole’ Sunday Newspapers and phone calls to everyone I knew, letting them know I needed a job… fast!

Ahhh… The good old days!

But I also did something else.

I continued to live my best as a Christian by being my best, attending church regularly, prayer service, and bible study. I often volunteered to help others and continued to stay active socially.

Ironically enough, my prayers weren’t answered through sending out resumes or applying to Sunday classifieds.

My prayers for a job were answered through participation in bible study.

While attending a Tuesday night bible study at my church, I had the pleasure of meeting an associate minister who didn’t attend my church but attended our bible study regularly.

He approached me after the bible study and said that he heard that I was looking for work. He told me that his cousin was a manager at one of the local colleges and that he was looking for a reliable person.

He said that he would give my name to his cousin if I was willing to meet with him.

I was both ecstatic and thankful for the reference!

Long story short, I gave his cousin a call and was hired a week later.

My point here is that waiting on God still requires us to stay in fellowship with God and His people because sometimes our prayers are answered through others.


3. Obedience in the middle

Obedience to God, as exemplified by faith that encourages a willingness to live as God has directed us to live through His word.

“But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the LORD: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.” (1 Samuel 15:22)

Obedience requires honesty.

We must be honest with ourselves in the ways we resist living for God. Many of us, even of the house of faith, wish to live for ourselves. Regular self-reflection and prayer asking God to reveal it to us will go a long way to helping us to become more aware of it.

Many of us struggle in this area because obedience to God’s word requires us to die to ourselves (Romans 6: 1-23). That is to say, we continually put aside the things we might desire to have for ourselves, in favor of what God wants for us… whatever that may be.

I have heard many believers state how difficult it is to avoid things they know are wrong.

That can sometimes be a problem that stems from perception, but it is also a very common struggle. Even the Apostles, including Paul, struggled with doing what he knew was wrong (Romans 7:15-20).

However, things get dicey when we don’t have a clear perception of sin.

Not understanding how our actions are viewed through the lens of scripture, can cause us to miss opportunities for repentance and change. It’s not that WE have to necessarily do the change, but submitting that area of our lives to God, He will do the change in us.

Sin is not something that always “feels” wrong.

As Adam and Eve found out… a bit too late… the destructive power of sin cannot always be realized by our senses.

Sin is most reliably RECOGNIZED through God’s word and obedience to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Likewise, sin is AVOIDED by obedience to His word… our feelings notwithstanding.

Obedience is key.

An active relationship with God is most helpful here.

A relationship with the Father, through faith in Jesus, empowered by the Holy Spirit gives us the ability to:

  • Be sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit
  • Ability to know God’s will for our lives
  • Helps us not to be led by our senses, but better rely on our knowledge of God

Daniel is a person who didn’t lead the most exciting life in the Old Testament.

In fact, if it were not for the intrigue of his time in the lion’s den preceded by his three friends being thrown into the furnace, the Book of Daniel would be a bit dry (unless you’re one of those who get a kick out of his prophetic dreams).

The point here is that the scriptures portray Daniel as a very DISCIPLINED person. He prayed three times a day without fail. His obedience to God, as a captive in a kingdom often hostile to his faith, is an inspiration even to the casual reader.

It was only after a life of many decades of obedience and faithfulness to God’s precepts that God used him to relay his prophetic dreams. God used Daniel to show how future events are ordered by God and how God uses Kings and nations to bring about our salvation.

Greater obedience is something we should all strive for. When we are obedient, God can use us to a greater extent to bring about our fruitfulness.


4. End (that never ends) with Relationship

Knowing what God wants for us requires our submission.

Without submission, we will not hear when God speaks to us. However, when we submit to God, He can use us for His divine purpose as His instrument. Then and only then will we know we are doing the will of God and can confidently wait upon Him.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,” (1 Peter 5:6)

Hagar had a pretty good deal… until she didn’t.

Hagar, being Sarah’s handmaiden, was in a very nice position. She had the benefit of working with one of the richest women in the land due to Abraham being a wealthy man.

By a strange twist of circumstances (and disobedience), Hagar was selected by Sarah to have a child with Abraham because “someone” (i.e., Sarah) got impatient and didn’t WAIT on God (Genesis 16:2).

Hagar got the child, but she didn’t get the memo: having a child with your mistress’ husband is NOT something to flaunt… even if it was her idea!

So, to make a long story short, Hagar got a first-class lesson on what it means to be humble. But that’s not the most interesting part of the story.

Astonishingly, when Hagar sought to flee from Sarah’s abuse toward her, an angel of the Lord visited Hagar. Scripture records that, “The angel of the LORD said to her, “Return to your mistress and submit to her.”” (Genesis 16:9)

Wait… what???

Why would an angel from God instruct Hagar to go back to Sarah and possibly suffer more abuse???

Scripture is not clear on the reasons, but the instructions are more than clear: submit. It’s also important to note that the angel’s instructions to submit were also followed by a promise of provision and blessing for her and throughout the generations of her offspring.

There are times when situations will not be favorable or ideal.

But when we fall back on the relationship we have with God, He will speak to us and help us navigate the trying times of our lives. Jesus promised that He will never leave us nor forsake us in our times of need (Deuteronomy 31:6; Hebrews 13:5)


Final thoughts

My prayer and hope is for you to have a closer walk with the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Hopefully, this article will give you some insight and a picture of what that means and what that looks like.

Waiting upon God is a necessary application of our faith walk and Christian growth.

Be encouraged that God knows what you are hoping for and what you desire. But even more than “things” or a better situation, our desire must be to live for Him… only then will He give the desires of our heart.

Loving Your Neighbor (When It’s Hard)

Some time ago, my next-door neighbor began a major renovation on his home.

Not a new driveway. Not a new bathroom. We are talking about a total demolition of his home from the first floor up!

There was a constant parade of contractors, deliveries, and construction equipment on our block for months.

One morning as I was taking my wife to work, one of the delivery trucks was blocking my driveway as they parked to make a delivery for the construction project.

Of course, these things ONLY happen when late for work.

We asked the guy to move…. and he did… reluctantly.

However, upon returning, the same truck was blocking my driveway again, which prevented me from entering.

I blew my horn… no response.

I blew it again… still no response.

I drove to the front of my neighbor’s driveway… (yes, you read that right… they only blocked MY DRIVEWAY, but the neighbor’s driveway… was unobstructed)!

I blew my horn again to get someone’s attention… all to no avail.

After several minutes of this, I admit that I was a bit aggravated.

At that point, I drove up my neighbor’s driveway to see if I could find my neighbor or the delivery person. As I arrived at the top of the driveway, the driver was speaking to my neighbor in the middle of all the construction.

Once they saw me, the driver immediately recognized who I was, apologized profusely, and ran to move his truck.

My neighbor, realizing that I was a little upset, just waived “hello”… I waved back, got in my car, and backed out of his driveway.

We have been neighbors in this community for over four years, and that was the closest we have ever come to a squabble.

 Importance of Love

Remembering this situation the other day got me thinking.

More than any other time in recent memory, we are experiencing tense situations.

People everywhere are dealing with festering racial tensions, systemic inequalities, differences in political ideologies, growing fears of a global pandemic, and loss of freedoms (for health reasons) many took for granted.

As Christians, it can be easy to forget that our primary role is to win others to Christ… through word and deed.

Considering all that is going on, our focus can quickly shift from showing love to others to our self-interests.

And that’s the real challenge.

  • Showing Love when faced with inconsideration.
  • Showing Love when faced with disrespect.
  • Showing Love when being mistreated.
  • Showing love when we feel others don’t deserve it.

What does such a love even look like?

In a word: Jesus

In the scriptures, we see Jesus was often accused, mocked, tested, and scoffed at. Yet, the scriptures record that He maintained control by speaking factually, resolutely, and calmly.

More than His example, we also have the warning that those who follow Him will be persecuted as He was (John 15:19,20; 2 Timothy 3:12).

While there are and probably always will be tense situations where people will do or say things we don’t like, it’s still advisable to maintain both physical and verbal control.

Some of us are better at the former than the latter, but control over ourselves and our tongue is essential to walking circumspectly in our society.

The bottom line is that self-control is essential to our witness as Christians.

We will not be successful at leading others to Christ, the Great Commission unless we lead with love. The Apostle Paul emphasized just the importance of love as it pertains to our attitude and outward demeanor.

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NIV)

Nothing we say or do as Christians will be influential, let alone effective unless it is done with love.


Difference Between Love and Acceptance

It is necessary to understand that Christians should always show love to others to win others to Christ and avoid accusations and negative attention by unbelievers (Titus 2:7,8). In this way, we can live peaceably and circumspectly in the world.

However, it is also essential to understand that showing love to others is not equivalent to accepting bad behavior.

One standard definition of acceptance is a “general agreement that something is satisfactory or right” 1

Christians can and should call out bad behavior and sin for what it is. To not do so is a dereliction of our duty to stand up for righteousness and justice (Deuteronomy 16:19,20 Psalm 94:16; Proverbs 25:26; James 4:17).

In pursuit of justice and righteousness, love must not be obscured or put aside.

No, love must be front and center in all that we do in our quest.

The Apostle Paul reminds us, Love is patient and kind; Love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails; (1 Corinthians 13:4-8 ESV)

We again turn to scripture to understand how to speak to others who may not agree or understand how they have offended us.

“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 7:12)

So, we see here that Jesus commands that we always use how we would want someone to speak to us (or any action towards another) as the standard of speaking to others.

And to put this principle into practice requires us to think very carefully about what we are to say in a situation and how received if someone spoke to us that way.

A careful action is a thoughtful action… a thoughtful action is a controlled action.

Being thoughtful and considerate fosters greater self-control in all that we do so that we may live out our faith as we should (Ephesians 5:15).

A Personal Witness That is NOT About Us

What often gets in the way of showing Love has to do with our heart… It’s a heart problem.

Upon being questioned if He could heal when His disciples could not Jesus clarified that it was not His power but his lack of belief (Mark 9:14-29).

Similarly, what prevents us from being a powerful witness of the gospel is not a lack of power in love but our willingness to extend the love we received from God to others.

A common snare of the Christian is pride.

Oh, we talk a good game…

We know how to act the part of the dutiful Christian.

We pray powerful prayers…

We tithe a tenth of our goods, but like the young rich ruler, we lack something. There is something we refuse to let go of. But letting go is essential to be an effective Christian witness.

We must surrender all.

The Master can use only the surrendered soul.

Only those who surrender can be a tool of Love God uses to pry open an unwilling ear, leading to a change of heart and mind.

Suppose we are to be effective witnesses for the gospel of Jesus Christ. In that case, we cannot use as our weapons pride, egotism, sexism, racism, homophobia, xenophobia, nationalism, exceptionalism, or the like.

Our tool must be the same as Jesus’ tool

and Jesus’ tool is and always has been LOVE.

No wonder that Jesus, upon His ascension, told His followers that the world would know you by love. Love is the distinguishing characteristic of a disciple of Jesus (John 13:35).


Not by Might; Not by Power, but by My Spirit…

The Holy Spirit empowers one who has been born again to display the same love to others that God has shown him. Acting in love is not optional but a central part of living out the Christian faith.

Only those who are born again have the courage, born of the Holy Spirit, to love as God loves.

Only the spirit-filled disciple of Christ desires to love as God loves.

Only a true believer has the power to love as God loves.

  • An unselfish love … you may not be loved in return.
  • An unwavering love … you may not see the benefit of your love.
  • An everlasting love … no bounds, no limits, a love without end.
  • An unmerited love … Jesus went to the cross while we were sinners
  • A sacrificial love … Jesus sacrificed Himself for us

In the parable of the Unforgiving Servant, Jesus tells us of a person who was forgiven an outstanding debt by a benevolent King only to turn around and harass and threaten a person that owed him much less (Matthew 18: 23-35).

When the King heard about what had happened, he called the servant wicked for not having the same compassion for others.

Jesus ends the parable by clearly stating, “In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should repay all that he owed. So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.” (Matthew 18:34,35 NKJV)

Remembering the importance of love in our everyday interactions will help us to keep the command to love God and love our neighbor as ourselves.