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.

Physics Class and the Christian Walk

I didn’t do well in High School Physics class.

In fact, it can be said that Physics and I didn’t get along well at all. It was a troubled relationship at best … and downright abusive at worst!

I had to memorize what seemed like endless theories and principles about the universe by people who have been dead for centuries. And then there were never-ending formulas that seem to be written in another language. I did my best, but it all seemed like “gobbli-gook” for the most part.

I remember specifically one time in class where I became so frustrated with my inability to understand that I basically walked out of class intent on never coming back.

I went to the guidance counselor and begged her to let me drop this class and take another elective… yes, you read that right… physics for me was an ELECTIVE CLASS! Physics was not required for my major. I was attracted to the subject because I wanted to know more about the universe and how it all worked.

I was a glutton for punishment in my youth!

Even from a young child I showed interest in the physical world and was acutely fascinated by the stars, planets and how they all worked and fit together. Little did I know that high school Physics would be much more than I bargained for.

High school physics was more than just looking at pretty pictures of the stars in my set of encyclopedias.*

*Age Myself Alert: For my readers born after 1990, encyclopedias were a volume set of home reference books we used to look up information prior to the invention of the internet.

Similarly, for many of us, our Christian walk is very much like my experience in Physics class. We are attracted to the high ideals of living for Christ, the joy of fellowship with other Christians, serving our communities, and the excitement of spending eternity with God and the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

We are eternally grateful for the promises of God and the many-fold blessings He gives every single day…

but then the hard part comes.

The Bubble Bursts

Things happen to us we don’t expect…

  • We lose a job.
  • Our house gets foreclosed on.
  • We get diagnosed with a severe illness.
  • A close family member dies tragically and unexpectedly.
  • We could not conceive the children we desperately wanted.
  • We go through financial hardship… after hardship… after hardship.
  • A relationship we hoped would lead to marriage comes to a bitter end.
  • We suffer betrayal from a close friend … or worse… a family member!

We turn to our spiritual leaders in the church for perspective, but not all churches are equipped with people qualified with the gift of counseling.

Some may offer a helpful perspective and others… well, not so helpful. Some recite bible verses that “might not” quite fit our situation or even worse, don’t apply at all. It can be challenging to offer sincere advice when we have not been in the situation ourselves.

I’ve been there.

We know to turn to scripture and prayer in times like these… or at least we should.

Many do not. Prayer is an important discipline for the Christian, but it’s also a discipline that is best developed before a tragedy. There is nothing more frightening than looking for the fire extinguisher after the kitchen fire started.

I’m not suggesting that it’s not possible to pray effectively during times of stress, conflict, and tragedy. It’s more the case that if we have not made prayer a major part of our lives when times are good, it is unlikely we will turn to God in prayer as we should when things are bad.

Some will walk away in frustration as I tried to do from Physics class … intending to never return.

 Help from Scripture

In difficulty, we turn to scripture. We recite Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

We recite it like the formulas I tried to make sense of in Physics class and some of the other science classes.

We know it’s TRUE but still don’t understand or know how to navigate the situation. Application is the key, and learning how to apply scripture… the right scripture… to the situation is where we sometimes lack knowledge.

For many of us, knowledge is experiential. We gain knowledge and understanding as we do something. And like prayer, if we are not familiar with God’s word through daily reading and study, turning to the bible in tough times may be like walking into a library for the first time the day a term paper is due.

“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only…” (James 1:22).

The experience of going through something is often the “teacher,” not the knowledge in and of itself. “We’ll understand it better by and by,” as the old Charles Tindley hymn goes.

We learn by doing.

This concept is essential to understand because, like St. Augustine once said, “Understanding is the reward of faith… seek not to understand that you may believe but believe that you may understand.”

Belief, not empirical evidence, must guide our actions until substantiation appears. Christian beliefs are based upon historical facts grounded in the truth of eyewitness accounts of the life of Jesus, death, and resurrection.

However, our actions will determine what and how strongly we believe. Therefore, consistent action in accordance with what we believe is paramount to know where to go and what to do when the need arises.

Relationship Is Key

So, what happened to me and my tumultuous relationship with Physics? My experience didn’t get any better with study, but by communicating with the teacher.

After meeting with the guidance counselor, I spoke to him and let him know about my challenges and frustrations. He told me something I would never forget, “don’t let a little course like this get you down… you are more than capable.”

It was not only the words he said, but his reassuring confidence in me to learn and do well in the course that motivated me to want to try and succeed.

Speaking to my teacher that day solved so much of the apprehension that stifled my learning of the material. High school physics wasn’t greater than me… I was greater than high school physics.

Comparably, God provides a similar message in His word:

“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” (1 John 4:4 KJV)

“No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, And their righteousness is from Me,” Says the LORD.” (Isaiah 54:17 NKJV)

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13 BLB)

 “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6 ESV)

“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13 ESV)

And yet, these verses are but a few. Nothing of this world should intimidate the born-again believer because he/she has the victory over every situation because of Christ Jesus.

We can only be successful living as a Christian by spending time with God.

Just as I was encouraged by speaking to my teacher about my challenges, we should all spend time with God talking to Him and taking to heart the encouragement He gives through His written word.

Christianity does not come naturally… it comes spiritually. Developing a deepening relationship with our heavenly Father through Christ Jesus is the key to overcoming any challenge we may face.


So, what was the outcome of my high school physics class experience?

Well, let’s say that I did well enough on my final exam to barely pass… with one of the lowest grades of my high school career.

I learned one thing in physics that always stuck with me: It isn’t about how well we rise or fall in a situation, but how well we apply what we know.

Christianity is not something we will ever “master” in this life, no matter how hard we try. We will repeatedly need to reinforce even the most basic principles of love, patience, and forgiveness with prayer, studying the scriptures, and practice.

And more than any other principle is to remember that we were created to live relationally.

Spending time with God gives us the ability to know Him better. And the better we know God, the better we can focus on not only what is most important but keep sight of how much greater God is than our circumstances.

With God’s magnificence always in view, nothing of this world can bring us down.