Three lies to overcome in seasons of waiting

September 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 professor, writer, and Bible teacher. She is the author of the book It Takes More than Love: A Christian Guide to Cross-Cultural Adoption releasing in April, 2022. She has an MA in Intercultural Studies from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, an M.A. in Teaching from NC State … Read More

Article 12: The Future of AI

We affirm that AI will continue to be developed in ways that we cannot currently imagine or understand, including AI that will far surpass many human abilities. God alone has the power to create life, and no future advancements in AI will usurp Him as the Creator of life. The church has a unique role in proclaiming human dignity for all and calling for the humane use of AI in all aspects of society.

We deny that AI will make us more or less human, or that AI will ever obtain a coequal level of worth, dignity, or value to image-bearers. Future advancements in AI will not ultimately fulfill our longings for a perfect world. While we are not able to comprehend or know the future, we do not fear what is to come because we know that God is omniscient and that nothing we create will be able to thwart His redemptive plan for creation or to supplant humanity as His image-bearers.

Genesis 1; Isaiah 42:8; Romans 1:20-21; 5:2; Ephesians 1:4-6; 2 Timothy 1:7-9; Revelation 5:9-10

Article 11: Public Policy

We affirm that the fundamental purposes of government are to protect human beings from harm, punish those who do evil, uphold civil liberties, and to commend those who do good. The public has a role in shaping and crafting policies concerning the use of AI in society, and these decisions should not be left to those who develop these technologies or to governments to set norms.

We deny that AI should be used by governments, corporations, or any entity to infringe upon God-given human rights. AI, even in a highly advanced state, should never be delegated the governing authority that has been granted by an all-sovereign God to human beings alone. 

Romans 13:1-7; Acts 10:35; 1 Peter 2:13-14

Article 10: War

We affirm that the use of AI in warfare should be governed by love of neighbor and the principles of just war. The use of AI may mitigate the loss of human life, provide greater protection of non-combatants, and inform better policymaking. Any lethal action conducted or substantially enabled by AI must employ 5 human oversight or review. All defense-related AI applications, such as underlying data and decision-making processes, must be subject to continual review by legitimate authorities. When these systems are deployed, human agents bear full moral responsibility for any actions taken by the system.

We deny that human agency or moral culpability in war can be delegated to AI. No nation or group has the right to use AI to carry out genocide, terrorism, torture, or other war crimes.

Genesis 4:10; Isaiah 1:16-17; Psalm 37:28; Matthew 5:44; 22:37-39; Romans 13:4

Article 9: Security

We affirm that AI has legitimate applications in policing, intelligence, surveillance, investigation, and other uses supporting the government’s responsibility to respect human rights, to protect and preserve human life, and to pursue justice in a flourishing society.

We deny that AI should be employed for safety and security applications in ways that seek to dehumanize, depersonalize, or harm our fellow human beings. We condemn the use of AI to suppress free expression or other basic human rights granted by God to all human beings.

Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-14

Article 8: Data & Privacy

We affirm that privacy and personal property are intertwined individual rights and choices that should not be violated by governments, corporations, nation-states, and other groups, even in the pursuit of the common good. While God knows all things, it is neither wise nor obligatory to have every detail of one’s life open to society.

We deny the manipulative and coercive uses of data and AI in ways that are inconsistent with the love of God and love of neighbor. Data collection practices should conform to ethical guidelines that uphold the dignity of all people. We further deny that consent, even informed consent, although requisite, is the only necessary ethical standard for the collection, manipulation, or exploitation of personal data—individually or in the aggregate. AI should not be employed in ways that distort truth through the use of generative applications. Data should not be mishandled, misused, or abused for sinful purposes to reinforce bias, strengthen the powerful, or demean the weak.

Exodus 20:15, Psalm 147:5; Isaiah 40:13-14; Matthew 10:16 Galatians 6:2; Hebrews 4:12-13; 1 John 1:7 

Article 7: Work

We affirm that work is part of God’s plan for human beings participating in the cultivation and stewardship of creation. The divine pattern is one of labor and rest in healthy proportion to each other. Our view of work should not be confined to commercial activity; it must also include the many ways that human beings serve each other through their efforts. AI can be used in ways that aid our work or allow us to make fuller use of our gifts. The church has a Spirit-empowered responsibility to help care for those who lose jobs and to encourage individuals, communities, employers, and governments to find ways to invest in the development of human beings and continue making vocational contributions to our lives together.

We deny that human worth and dignity is reducible to an individual’s economic contributions to society alone. Humanity should not use AI and other technological innovations as a reason to move toward lives of pure leisure even if greater social wealth creates such possibilities.

Genesis 1:27; 2:5; 2:15; Isaiah 65:21-24; Romans 12:6-8; Ephesians 4:11-16

Article 6: Sexuality

We affirm the goodness of God’s design for human sexuality which prescribes the sexual union to be an exclusive relationship between a man and a woman in the lifelong covenant of marriage.

We deny that the pursuit of sexual pleasure is a justification for the development or use of AI, and we condemn the objectification of humans that results from employing AI for sexual purposes. AI should not intrude upon or substitute for the biblical expression of sexuality between a husband and wife according to God’s design for human marriage.

Genesis 1:26-29; 2:18-25; Matthew 5:27-30; 1 Thess 4:3-4

Article 5: Bias

We affirm that, as a tool created by humans, AI will be inherently subject to bias and that these biases must be accounted for, minimized, or removed through continual human oversight and discretion. AI should be designed and used in such ways that treat all human beings as having equal worth and dignity. AI should be utilized as a tool to identify and eliminate bias inherent in human decision-making.

We deny that AI should be designed or used in ways that violate the fundamental principle of human dignity for all people. Neither should AI be used in ways that reinforce or further any ideology or agenda, seeking to subjugate human autonomy under the power of the state.

Micah 6:8; John 13:34; Galatians 3:28-29; 5:13-14; Philippians 2:3-4; Romans 12:10

Article 4: Medicine

We affirm that AI-related advances in medical technologies are expressions of God’s common grace through and for people created in His image and that these advances will increase our capacity to provide enhanced medical diagnostics and therapeutic interventions as we seek to care for all people. These advances should be guided by basic principles of medical ethics, including beneficence, non-maleficence, autonomy, and justice, which are all consistent with the biblical principle of loving our neighbor.

We deny that death and disease—effects of the Fall—can ultimately be eradicated apart from Jesus Christ. Utilitarian applications regarding healthcare distribution should not override the dignity of human life. Fur- 3 thermore, we reject the materialist and consequentialist worldview that understands medical applications of AI as a means of improving, changing, or completing human beings.

Matthew 5:45; John 11:25-26; 1 Corinthians 15:55-57; Galatians 6:2; Philippians 2:4

Article 3: Relationship of AI & Humanity

We affirm the use of AI to inform and aid human reasoning and moral decision-making because it is a tool that excels at processing data and making determinations, which often mimics or exceeds human ability. While AI excels in data-based computation, technology is incapable of possessing the capacity for moral agency or responsibility.

We deny that humans can or should cede our moral accountability or responsibilities to any form of AI that will ever be created. Only humanity will be judged by God on the basis of our actions and that of the tools we create. While technology can be created with a moral use in view, it is not a moral agent. Humans alone bear the responsibility for moral decision making.

Romans 2:6-8; Galatians 5:19-21; 2 Peter 1:5-8; 1 John 2:1

Article 2: AI as Technology

We affirm that the development of AI is a demonstration of the unique creative abilities of human beings. When AI is employed in accordance with God’s moral will, it is an example of man’s obedience to the divine command to steward creation and to honor Him. We believe in innovation for the glory of God, the sake of human flourishing, and the love of neighbor. While we acknowledge the reality of the Fall and its consequences on human nature and human innovation, technology can be used in society to uphold human dignity. As a part of our God-given creative nature, human beings should develop and harness technology in ways that lead to greater flourishing and the alleviation of human suffering.

We deny that the use of AI is morally neutral. It is not worthy of man’s hope, worship, or love. Since the Lord Jesus alone can atone for sin and reconcile humanity to its Creator, technology such as AI cannot fulfill humanity’s ultimate needs. We further deny the goodness and benefit of any application of AI that devalues or degrades the dignity and worth of another human being. 

Genesis 2:25; Exodus 20:3; 31:1-11; Proverbs 16:4; Matthew 22:37-40; Romans 3:23

Article 1: Image of God

We affirm that God created each human being in His image with intrinsic and equal worth, dignity, and moral agency, distinct from all creation, and that humanity’s creativity is intended to reflect God’s creative pattern.

We deny that any part of creation, including any form of technology, should ever be used to usurp or subvert the dominion and stewardship which has been entrusted solely to humanity by God; nor should technology be assigned a level of human identity, worth, dignity, or moral agency.

Genesis 1:26-28; 5:1-2; Isaiah 43:6-7; Jeremiah 1:5; John 13:34; Colossians 1:16; 3:10; Ephesians 4:24