Not long ago, when my boys and I were driving back from a long day of wrestling in Nebraska, I was fixated on what I saw in the distance which was our town’s water tower and grain bins. I was so focused on the frame ahead that I almost missed my turn into the gravel driveway of our property.
“Mom!” My seven-year-old yelled. “Don’t miss our house!”
I slammed on the breaks and barely made the right-turn in. Good thing my son was paying better attention than me.
That little experience reminded me of the temptation to look too far in the future when we’re waiting on God’s perfect timing. We can be so consumed by not having answers now that we miss out on life’s blessings right in front of our faces.
Our family has been in an intense period of waiting for a year now. It’s been like a roller coaster ride, and we’re not smiling yet because we’re not off the ride! We’re still experiencing the ups and downs, twists and turns, and bellyaches of the “adventure.”
In times of waiting, sometimes we don’t know what to do with our faith. We may feel far from God because he hasn’t answered our prayers in our timing and how we would like him to. We may even be mad at him – constantly questioning what he’s doing.
Seasons of waiting can be extremely trying. I’ve even heard that waiting is a form of suffering.
You don’t have what you’re praying for. You think about it all the time. Your mind and body are affected by exhaustion. You’re constantly telling friends and family, “We’re still in the process. We don’t have answers yet.” The in-between stage is humbling, to say the least.
I’ve always loved this quote by Elisabeth Elliot,
“Sometimes life is so hard you can only do the next thing. Whatever that is, just do the next thing. God will meet you there.”
I know it sounds simple, but it’s so very true. Whatever it is you’re waiting on, simply put your next foot forward. Be proactive in your next task. When it comes to your relationship with the Lord, include him in all your frustration, pleading, and groaning. Tell him how you really feel. Be open about what you need. Thank him for all that he’s done and will do in your future. He knows about it all and cares deeply.
The next right thing for you might be to reach out to a friend for support and encouragement, get involved in a Bible study, serve in your local church, get up early and read your Bible instead of the news, text or call a friend to check in, listen to a faith-based podcast, begin sharing your faith with a co-worker, schedule counseling, and more.
Your next right thing might simply be to do nothing except to be still so you can better hear God’s voice.
Most of all, know how deeply loved you are in this time of unanswered prayer. Know that there’s purpose in the pain of “not yet.” Know that God’s timing is always better than we can imagine. Your desires aren’t forgotten.
Hold onto your faith, enjoy the crazy ride, and know you’ll learn new lessons and see beautiful things you might even miss after God has answered your prayers according to His will.
Samantha Krieger is a pastor’s wife and mom to 4. She is the author of Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches. Her writing has appeared on The Today Show, Her View from Home, Cafe Mom, and Love What Matters. You can follow her work on Instagram and Facebook.