What Happens While We Wait


“So, what are you going to do this afternoon?”


“What do you like about school?”


Earlier questions had received similar answers, and Natalea and I were running out of questions for entertaining the six-year-old in the car. I had given him and his mother a ride home from church, and we were stopped at the store while she made a quick trip in.

In the hot car with a restless six-year-old, quick was seeming pretty long.

“I know! Let’s play a game—let’s see who can see your mom first when she comes out of the store!” (Yes, I know that is a boring game. I was at the bottom of the barrel—“I Spy” was next.)

But to my surprise, this was the moment Nicholas finally had something longer than a grunt to say.

“Maybe we should just be quiet and wait patiently.”

Obviously, the we was editorial—it was a kind way of saying you.

It was hard not to laugh. In fact, I think Natalea and I may have stifled an exchanged smile. I’m guessing Nicholas had heard this phrase a time or two himself—probably when he was the one forcing conversation.

So, we quietly sat and waited patiently. Fortunately, I soon spotted his mother (yes, I won the game) coming.

Let’s fast forward several weeks.

I’m on the floor in my living room with an open Bible and an empty paper. I’ve slotted significant time to fill the paper with answers from God. But instead, I’ve filled a few Kleenexes with tears. Many questions, no answers.

And then, in desperation, “Lord, why don’t you speak to me? Why no answers? I’d do anything You say. Why are You silent?”

And then He spoke—one word: “patience.”

My heart sank. That wasn’t what I was wanting to hear. I wanted action items—the kind you can list and check off.

Patience. I repeated it quietly in my heart as I resigned myself to this being the only answer I was going to get.

But then He spoke again, words of promise and hope:

Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.—James 5:11

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.—Isaiah 40:31

I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.—Psalm 40:1–3

I grabbed my pen and the empty paper.

“What Happens When We Wait”—and then I jotted the three answers God had just given me:

  1. We see God’s character—James 5:11
  2. God renews our strength—Isaiah 40:31
  3. God brings deliverance—Psalm 40:1

Patience—it’s not such a bad answer after all. When our patience is settled on hope in God, He works while we wait.

Are you desperate for answers? Scrambling to make something—anything—happen? Frustrated?

Maybe you should just be quiet and wait patiently. While we wait, God works.