Waiting is hard for me. I read of Sarah waiting for Isaac, Anna waiting for the Messiah, and Elizabeth waiting for John, and I’m amazed. I mean, can you believe Sarah waited about thirty years for a baby? Thirty years? I have a hard time waiting for my nails to dry!
But God’s Word is clear that we’re to wait, to be still, to remain in Him.
- Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14
- Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him. Psalm 37:7a
- Remain in me, and I will remain in you. John 15:4a
We know we need to find time every day to be in the Word. Bible study, word studies, and Sunday school lessons are great ways to grow closer to the Lord, but in order to truly rest in Him, we must learn to wait.
And that’s the hard part. But it’s in the waiting that we hear God’s voice.
I have to admit, there are times I can’t hear God. I pray and pray and read His Word, and yet, I don’t hear a thing.
It’s not His fault.
I realize now the problem is not in His speaking, it’s in my listening. After all, I have my list of prayer requests–all good things, you understand, and most are for other people. I faithfully go down the list one by one, telling God what I’d like Him to do. And then it’s over. I’m off and running, cramming in all the important things I have to do that day.
And God is left alone. There He was, just about to tell me what He wanted me to know, but I didn’t have time to listen. He wanted to tell me to take the job or to turn down the volunteer position or to mentor the young bride at church. But I couldn’t hear Him . . . because I wasn’t there. Because I didn’t have time to wait on Him.
When I was going through a particularly unsettling time in my life, a friend of mine shared an important step to truly hearing God’s voice. She suggested I spend at least an hour a day just waiting on the Lord. She said two hours would be even better! Can you believe it? Well, it took me about half a second to tell her exactly what I thought about her great idea. The truth was, it all sounded well and good, but who has that kind of time? Besides, I knew exactly what would happen if I tried to do nothing but sit for an hour–I’d fall asleep!
So she told me to start small. She suggested I read Psalm 73:23 and then spend ten minutes meditating on the verse, listening for God’s voice. I still thought she was crazy, but I told her I’d try. That first morning, I got up at 4:30, made myself a cup of coffee and settled in my chair. Taking my Bible, I read the passage and then told God I wasn’t sure how to do this, but I was there, just in case He had anything He wanted to tell me.
Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. Psalm 73:23
I read the verse again and meditated on the words, you hold me by my right hand. In my mind, I pictured God and me, holding hands. I sat quietly and waited.
I reread the verse. And waited some more. And then I heard Him! By meditating on that one short verse and then waiting, I heard His voice! Oh, I didn’t hear trumpets or receive any great revelation about my current problem, but I knew He was there. Just God and me, sitting in my chair in the corner of the living room. As He planted thoughts or single words in my mind, I pursued them, searching for another scripture that would whisper His heart.
Rest . . . wait . . . wisdom . . . peace.
I stayed with Him about an hour that first morning, and longed for more. It was a new, sweet experience, and one I now look forward to every morning.
I’ve learned to cherish our time together. And whether I have thirty minutes or an hour and a half, the time flies by. Some days I have to refocus my heart and mind again and again, and some days I hear Him more clearly than others. But I can promise you this–if I’m really there, He’s really there.
It’s all in the waiting. It’s all in the being quiet and listening for His voice. God wants us to rest in Him. He wants to speak to our spirits and let us know He’s really there. He’s just waiting for us.
What are you waiting for? An answer? A healing? A restored relationship? Could you be like me? Could God be trying to tell you something, but you’re too busy to hear His voice? Oh, friends, this is a constant battle for me, and I know it is for many of you. Will you join me? Instead of just “spending” your time reading a quick devotion and running down your prayer requests, will you commit to sitting and waiting on Him? It won’t be easy. It’ll take focus and determination, especially when the days are long and the sleeps are short.
No agenda, no lists. Just us and God, relating to each other. I know we’ll be amazed at what He has to say when we’re quiet enough to hear His voice.
I know it will be worth the wait.
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