Three lies to overcome in seasons of waiting

Sep 25, 2019

The majority of my adult life, I’ve found myself in seasons of waiting. When our twins were born prematurely, we found ourselves with long nights at the NICU waiting for our girls to grow and learn to breathe and eat on their own. When we were in the process of adoption, we found ourselves, week after week, month after month, waiting for the call. And then after the call, we waited months for our adoption to be finalized. When our marriage hit rock-bottom, we spent years working and waiting on the Lord to restore what the locusts had eaten away. We’ve waited on jobs, waited on moves, waited on people, and waited in limbo on prayers to be answered. 

We’re currently in a season of waiting again. We’re in the “waiting” stage of adoption once again, we’re waiting on the Lord to provide a house for our growing family, and we’re waiting for answers on a few other big prayers we’ve been praying. And I’ve found that the sins that I thought I had overcome during our previous seasons of waiting have slowly started sneaking back into my life. 

So, I want to share three lies about waiting that I’ve found myself flirting with over the last few months and how I’ve been combating them with truth. 

1. My timing is better than the Lord’s

During seasons of waiting, I’m often quick to look at the calendar and assume that I know best. For example, I already have narrowed down the months that would be ideal for welcoming our next child. I also have weeks blocked off where I’m praying that we don’t get that life-altering call. And yet, although a little planning doesn’t hurt, the truth of the matter is I act as if my timing is better than the Lord’s. I assume that my limited viewpoint is greater than my Creator and Sustainer’s. I would never proclaim that I know best, but a spirit of unrest and my desire to control my calendar say otherwise. 

When I find myself overwhelmed by my lack of control, I remind myself of the famous words from Charles Spurgeon’s sermon on Matthew 20:15, 

“There is no attribute more comforting to His children than that of God’s sovereignty. Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most severe trials, they believe that Sovereignty has ordained their afflictions, that Sovereignty overrules them, and that Sovereignty will sanctify them. There is nothing for which the children ought more earnestly contend than the doctrine of their Master over all creation – the Kingship of God overall the works of His own hands – the Throne of God and His right to sit upon that throne. . . . It is God upon the throne that we love to preach. It is God upon the throne whom we trust.” 

Those last two lines serve to soften my heart toward the truth that I often proclaim. My God is a sovereign God who sits upon the throne, and I can trust him in all things, even my timelines. 

2. Once the waiting is over, my life will be so much better

The answer you’re looking for can never be found in a thing. Instead, what we’re all looking for is contentment in Christ, and we have access to that now.

We have three children, and thus far each new season has brought its own challenges and joys. But one thing is certain: the idea that the next season will fill the void that we’re feeling currently is a lie. It’s tempting to believe the lie that once we reach the next season or get what we’ve been praying for, our life will be so much better. But we aren’t called to seasons of ease; we’re called to faithfulness in all seasons. 

In Psalm 27, the psalmist tells us to wait on the Lord. Right before that he says, “Your face, Lord, do I seek. Hide not your face from me” (Psa. 27:8). Our end goal shouldn’t be to get all our prayers answered. Rather the one thing we should seek is the Lord (Psa. 27:4). So whether you’re waiting on a relationship, a job, a child, a diagnosis, or something new, be sure to remember that the answer you’re looking for can never be found in a thing. Instead, what we’re all looking for is contentment in Christ, and we have access to that now.

3. There is no good that can come from waiting

I am by nature an impatient person, so it’s no wonder that I despise seasons of waiting. I remember bemoaning to a godly friend about how fruitless the season of waiting felt. Her response, “Hard and holy work is done in this season, not just in the situation we’re praying for, but within you! The Lord is growing you in ways you could never be stretched, all through waiting.” I didn’t like it, but she was absolutely right. The Lord has used these seasons of unknown and waiting to help refine me in ways that could not be done in seasons of plenty. 

As a result, rather than rushing through the waiting and constantly begging the Lord for an answer, I’m asking a different question. When seeds of doubt and frustration set in, I’ve learned to ask, “Lord, how can I become more like you in this season of waiting?” I’ve learned to not run away from discomfort but to seek to trust God in the midst of it. Plenty of good can come through waiting, and although it might not be in ways that we’d prefer, if we allow it, waiting can give birth to a beauty and a type of good that only it can produce. 

Waiting can be a hard season, but it also presents the opportunity to trust our sovereign and good God who works all things for our good and his glory. It presents the opportunity to choose, like the apostle Paul, to be content in all circumstances. And it uniquely stretches and grows us in ways that waiting and the unknown can. If you’ve found yourself in another season of waiting, rather than bemoaning the wait, my prayer is that you’ll see this season in and of itself as a gift. Because after all, if we’re believers we’ve already received the greatest gift of all: Christ himself. 

Brittany Salmon

Brittany Salmon is a freelance writer, an adjunct professor of Global Studies at Liberty University Online, and an editor for the ERLC. She is also an orphan care and prevention advocate, and a doctoral student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.... Read More