When God Calls us to Wait | by Elizabeth A. Fry | The Joyful Life Magazine

I quietly cried into my arm while my kids argued in the background yet again. A week of dangerously low temperatures had left us confined to the house, and the cabin fever was affecting us all. Exhausted, and overwhelmed by the constant fighting and chaos in the home, I had reached my limit. As a stay-at-home mom, I deeply desired to love and serve my family, but somewhere along the line, I had forgotten who I was apart from home and child care.

I can’t do this anymore,” I thought despairingly. “There has to be another way to love my family without losing myself completely in the process.”

Just days before, I had excitedly shared a vision with my husband that had been on my heart for over a year—a women’s ministry and conference that would accompany the book I had already begun to write. He listened patiently but wisely encouraged me to slow down a little and keep my primary focus on our family and home. After a long, difficult week, I took his advice with frustration, bitterness, and anger. Why would God give me this vision, this heart for ministry, if I was not meant to start pursuing it? Why would He equip me with the skills I had, and instill this dream and passion inside of me if I was not supposed to act upon it? Why would He ask me to wait?


DAVID AND SAUL: A LESSON IN SURRENDER

Before entering into battle with the Philistines, Saul was commanded to wait seven days for Samuel, the prophet, to come and offer a sacrifice to God to seek His favor. However, with no sign of Samuel, and his troops disbanding in fear, Saul took it upon himself to offer the sacrifice in Samuel’s place. When Samuel arrived to find the ritual already completed, he rebuked Saul.

“You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the Lord your God, with which he commanded you. For then the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you” (1 Samuel 13:13-14).

Despite his good intentions to seek God’s favor, Saul was not willing to wait on the Lord’s instruction, choosing instead to take matters into his own hands. His repeated disobedience eventually resulted in the Lord rejecting him as king of Israel and anointing David in his place.

“…Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him [David] in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David. Now the Spirit of the Lord had departed from Saul” (1 Samuel 16:13-14, NIV).

In contrast to Saul, David was a man after God’s own heart. He chose to wait on the Lord to fulfill the kingship promised to him, instead of claiming it for himself, in his own strength and skill. In the midst of hardship, trials, and battles for his very life, David cultivated his relationship with the Lord, which strengthened and prepared him for the kingship ahead. He chose, again and again, to repent and accept God’s grace and forgiveness for his imperfection, trusting that He would use him despite his weaknesses. In spite of the very clear calling God had placed on David’s life at a young age, he chose to be obedient to God’s timing, and after years of faithful waiting, his life and his legacy were richly blessed by the Lord.

WAITING ON GOD 

David’s story reminded me of the need to trust in God’s timing, faithfully waiting on Him, instead of urgently pursuing the calling He has placed on my life. Even Jesus endured thirty years of waiting, living the simple life of a carpenter’s son, before stepping out into ministry. He was in no doubt of His unique calling and purpose on the earth, but still waited until the time was right to pursue it. 

God asks the same of us. He desires our trust and obedience, caring more about the condition of our heart toward Him than what we can do for Him. He has a special purpose for each one of us and will reward us if we simply trust Him, deny our own desires, and surrender our lives fully to Him. He doesn’t promise that it will be easy; instead, Jesus warns us there will be a cross to bear, sacrifices to be made. But through it all, God will use us. 

Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it” (Matthew 16:24-25, NIV).

Sitting in that chair, crying those bitter, salty tears, I felt a gentle tug on my arm as my five-year-old son murmured into my ear, “Mom, you’re the best! I just love you so much!” I opened my arms to envelop this sweet blessing that God has given me and called me to serve. One day, I will pursue the vision He has given me, but not yet. In this season, I have a different calling—faithfully serving my family and home. 

God’s Spirit will always equip, empower, and enable us to do great things in His name. We must surrender our lives to Him daily, pray for the strength and patience to wait on Him, and faithfully follow His calling on our lives.

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When God Calls us to Wait | by Elizabeth A. Fry | The Joyful Life Magazine
10 comments
  1. This is a message near and dear to my heart. Over the decades, I’ve talked with countless women who have been in this exact place – and I’ve been one of them!

    My heart for ministry has been passionately beating for as long as I can remember. In my younger years, I suffered the consequences of going ahead of God and plugging myself into a ministry before His perfect timing. By God’s grace and many hard lessons, I’ve become more patient.

    Seasons of ministry have come and gone. There is beauty in the waiting. I delight in the knowledge that the Potter is molding and shaping me, equipping and preparing me for a purpose and plan in the future. This waiting is part of the process, a necessary season for fruitful ministry. Oh, that I would be faithful to learn and grow in the most effective ways while I wait!

    1. Jana, this is beautifully written – well, said friend! Thank you for sharing your own experience with stepping ahead of God’s timing – such a good reminder to wait and be patient. Yes, there IS beauty in the waiting – He is preparing us for what’s ahead. We will be made stronger in the wait. Thank you so much!

  2. Aw I desperately have been needing to this bit of engagement! Thank you so much for such a powerful outlook on the season of waiting!

  3. This was perfect for my heart today. I’m struggling with the “just wait” from the Lord, when logically it makes sense to me to move ahead now. But your words… thank you, girl! God had you write this for me and soooo many others. Waiting with you. 🙂

  4. Perfect timing on this message! I’m in the process of going from one season into another, coming into the long-awaited vision God has for my life. I’ve wondered if I might be doing something wrong waiting for clear direction and peace about moving forward. I’m eager to step out in faith, but my direction has been unclear as of yet.

    Talking to my sister recently, she said something that gave me comfort in the waiting: “What if you’re in a holding pattern for a reason? Maybe something simply isn’t ready yet?” This reassured me that often seasons of waiting are also times of preparation. Not only am I being prepared, but so are the circumstances and possibly even the people God will align me with to carry out His purposes. Isn’t it wonderful we aren’t sitting around waiting for nothing? He has a purpose for it all.

    Just like a tree can be broken by its own fruit if it’s not strong enough to carry it all, I believe God wants to make sure we’re mature enough in Him, for our own sake, before we bring forth the big fruit He’s cultivating in us today. What a kind and loving Father–He does all things for our good! Thanks for such a reassuring word of encouragement today!

    1. Jennifer, that is beautifully and well-said. Thank you for the reminder that God is always preparing and maturing us even as we wait – I hope that we can grow stronger in the wait together! Blessings to you, friend!

  5. The timing of this piece is perfect for me. I’m literally in week two of meetings for starting a ministry. And these girls I’m working with are EXCELLENT at everything they do. I’m so anxious to get this baby moving and I”m just realizing that what I wanted to be born by the beginning of 2020 is more like a year away. What a GREAT reminder of how important it is to be patient and move forward WITH the Lord in His timing. I needed this.

    1. So happy you were encouraged, Erin! Waiting for clear direction and God’s timing is essential to a fruitful ministry – when we strive our way into something, it will never be as good as it could be if we had just waited on God. Prayers for peace & patience for you, friend! Right there with you!

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