How Long Must I Wait, Lord?

Years ago, I was approached by a publisher who wanted to know what God was doing in my heart. I shared with him how I was waiting on God for answers, but found none. As we talked further, he seemed intrigued by the subject and asked if I would consider writing a book about “waiting on God.” I laughed. Then, I made a confession. I’m not a very good at “waiting.” He asked me to pray and get back to him with an answer.

I spent some time in prayer over the next several weeks seeking God’s direction. I felt God urging me to write it. But, I resisted.

“Lord, if You haven’t noticed- I’m not very good at waiting.” The Lord affirmed that and then said, “That’s exactly why I want you to write about it.”

I was stunned. Where do I begin? What business do I have writing about something I’m terrible at? I made another attempt at bargaining with God: “Lord, okay I’ll write it only if you will give me the outline of the book in advance.”

He did. I awoke one morning with a series of “W’s” on my heart. They were coming to me in rapid fire like an automatic weapon expelling its bullets:

·      When Waiting Brings Wondering

·      When Waiting Brings Wandering

·      When Waiting Brings Whining

·      When Waiting Brings Wallowing

·      When Waiting Brings Wrestling

·      When Waiting Brings Weeping

·      When Waiting Brings Willingness

·      When Waiting Becomes Wisdom

·      When Waiting Becomes Wellsprings

·      When Waiting Becomes Worship

I had no other valid excuses so I contacted the publisher who sent a contract that I signed and returned, promising the book in a year. Months went by without a word written. I would cloister myself in my office and stare at the outline without a clue. Friends were praying and still nothing was flowing. Humorously, several friends suggested I contact the publisher and just tell him, “I am waiting on the book on waiting.” I’d already used up that excuse. An editor was scheduled to meet with me in 3 months to check on my progress and I was panicked.

I called a dear friend and prayer warrior who asked me a pivotal question: “What has God said to you about this book?”

I said, “The only thing He’s told me is to read my journals.”

“Well,” she asked, “have you done that?”

“No, I don’t have time!” I said rather dismissively.

“Jan,” she said in a matter of fact tone, “you might want to start by reading them!”

She was right. Little did I know that as I read through about ten years of my journal, I discovered the treasure. Embedded within several entries were the concepts or the exact words in the outline God had given me from the beginning.

The book was completed and titled, A Graceful Waiting: When there’s nothing more that you can do, God’s deepest work has just begun.

I was reminded of all of this as I’ve been exploring Joseph’s process of waiting over these last several posts. I must confess that Joseph was much more “graceful” in his waiting than I am.

But, both Joseph and I have something in common. We have a Gracious God who works within us while we wait and He is faithful to bring about His sovereign purposes at just the right time.

In Joseph’s story, the time is approaching. Take a few minutes to read Genesis 42-44. What do you think Joseph is up to with regard to his brothers? Is he seeking revenge? Is he testing them? Is he purposely making them jump through hoops for his own gratification?

We will look at Joseph’s motives in my next post. Until then, think about waiting seasons in your life. How have you weathered them? Are you in a waiting season now? Do you identify with any particular “w” in the listing of the chapter headings? Take some time- sit with your journal and record your thoughts and any words or scriptures that God places on your heart. You might not write a book about it, but I can guarantee you that you’ll need those words and thoughts during another waiting season! Trust me, I know!