When you wait for the Lord to direct you in what to say or do, and you have been waiting for His direction for some time, you learn several things.
First, you learn not to daydream; you stop imagining and predicting the ways in which He will appear. You no longer expect Him to come in the same manner He arrived before. You stop applying former signs of His arrival and former confirmation of His direction to your present situation. Instead, you look for Him to come and do a new thing (Isaiah 43:19), and you lay the past manifestations of His presence (though good reminders of His faithfulness) in the past and keep them there.
When I find myself predicting His appearance, I remind myself of what Oswald Chambers says in My Utmost for His Highest: “Do not look for God to come in a particular way, but do look for Him.” So, instead of convincing myself that He waits behind a particular door that seems to be wide open, I walk toward that door, seeking the presence of God, which confirms to me that He is there and that this is the way and I should walk in it (Isaiah 30:21). If His presence is not there, I return to the path I know and keep looking.
The path reminds me to keep living life. To stop putting things on hold because I don’t want to begin anything new just in case the Lord comes along the next day and switches things up. While I wait, I plan and prepare for the future as best I can, but I also remain engaged in the things the Lord has set before me right now because He is not done yet even though I am.
Those times when the wait is longer than predicted, I learn to submit everything to His plan, saying, “Lord, I do not know, but you know. I do not know if this is the right thing to do, but I submit the outcome to you as I take a step. Even though I’m moving, I am listening for your word that will cause me to stop in a moment.”
When I wait with as much patience as I can muster, a smile on my face, and diligence for the days ahead, waiting is less painful. It even becomes a bit exciting because each day holds the potential of a present housing the untapped presence, power, and promises of the God whom I love for His kindness, faithfulness, and goodness to me even when I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow.
As usual, I enjoyed your devotional—“The Wait.” Indeed waiting on the Lord is inundated by lifelong lessons, and through that we learn that His plans for our life are perfect. You wrote: “Those times when the wait is longer than predicted, I learn to submit everything to His plan…” Amen! Submitting everything (the very self) to Him is what Lord requires us—that He can manifest His perfect plans on us. It is amazing that as I read your devotional, I run into Isaiah 49 (as my daily devotional readings). Particularly, the last sentence of verse 23 caught my attention. It reads, “Those who hope in me will not be disappointed,” NIV. May the perfect peace of the Lord be with you.
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