What to Do While You’re Waiting

This is a guest post by Daniel Darling. He is Senior Pastor of Gages Lake Bible Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Hs is also the author of iFaith: Connecting With God in the 21st Century. You can read his blog and follow him on Twitter or Facebook. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

If there is one thing people in our generation hate to do, it is to wait. And why should we? We can Google questions rather than wait for an answer. We can order shoes online rather than suffering the long weekend lines at the retail store. We can even book reservations ahead of time rather than waiting for a table at our favorite establishment.

Girl in a Waiting Room - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/dra_schwartz, Image #7858250

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/dra_schwartz

But God doesn’t operate any faster in the twenty-first century than He did in the first. And so while we rush ourselves, we can’t rush God. In fact, much of life is spent waiting.

  • Waiting for a response to a book proposal
  • Waiting to hear from a potential employer
  • Waiting for a medical diagnosis

While our natural inclination is to hate waiting, this period of uncertainty can actually be a time of great personal growth. Here is are three lessons I learned in the “Waiting Room” of life:

  1. Recognize that God is in control, even when it seems He has forgotten you. I love the words to the Old Testament prophet Habakkuk:

    Look around at the nations; look and be amazed! For I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn’t believe even if someone told you about it” (Habakkuk 1:5, NLT).

    Often when it seems nothing is happening is when everything is happening behind the scenes. You just can’t see it.

    For a few years, I felt God calling my wife and me to another ministry, but it seemed every door was closed. At times I grew restless and wondered if I had fallen into some kind of Godless abyss. What I didn’t see was the circumstances God had to work out in order to put me where I am today, senior pastor of a growing church.

    The machinery of God’s sovereignty was at work, unbeknownst to me.

  2. Renew your faith in God’s quiet, steady providence. A few years ago, my wife and I were waiting on several important family and career developments. To quell my anxiety, I did a study on waiting in the Scriptures. I was amazed to find that every major figure in the Bible was forced to wait long periods of time before God brought them to a place of success.
    • Abraham waited twenty-five years before his wife Sarah gave birth to their first child.
    • Joseph slogged through thirteen years of betrayal, false imprisonment, and abandonment before assuming the leadership of Egypt.
    • Moses spent forty years tending sheep before God called him as a deliverer of His people.
    • David spent fourteen years before the throne of Israel would be his.
    • And in Jesus’s own ministry, he often told his disciples “My hour has not yet come.”

    Waiting is not incidental to faith. Waiting is the DNA of faith.

  3. Redeem your time in the waiting room of life. A few years ago, my wife endured some terrible health challenges. So I’ve literally spent hours in waiting rooms all over Chicagoland. This was before the age of iPhones, so I was forced to read three-year old magazines with outdated information. I hated that.

    We often do that in our own waiting periods. So anxious are we for that “next step,” we languish in despair. But James 1:4 reminds us to “let patience have her perfect work.”

    Times of uncertainty and doubt are useful periods in which we can draw into God, hone our skills and prepare for the time when that big promotion comes.

    • A single man or woman should ready him or herself for marriage while he is single by reading good relationship books.
    • A future employee can get a leg-up on the position he covets by taking a few extra college classes or reading important books on leadership.
    • A writer might continue to hone his craft while he’s waiting the big contract.

View your time in the Waiting Room as a season of growth and development and you’ll find you’ll be that much more ready for your moment on the stage.

A final thought: Waiting for answers can be one of the most grueling seasons of life, but with the proper perspective, you may look back as you’re most formative.

Question: What are you doing while you are waiting? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • Jaime Espiritu

    I got laid off from my job in December 2009.  Since that time, I had the desire to hone my God given skills in video producing. I’ve been doing pro bono videos for non profit organizations to help them so I can forget about my circumstances. 

    I’ve been seeking God and waiting for Him to make my next move in the video world.

  • Mysty Cain

    I like waiting as an active term versus the passivity we usually assign to it.  I’m currently in a waiting season.  I’m using this time to memorize scripture – meditating on it to keep reminding myself that God is at work.  I’ve also been exploring books of the Bible that have frequently stayed closed as I read the more affirming faith-building scriptures.  The books of Kings alone have me in constant amazement. 

  • Wanda Jeanne

    I appreciate this so much Pastor Daniel. I’ve been filling up my days with unceasing prayer, study of the Word, serving, and fellowshipping with my brothers and sisters anywhere we meet…especially in church, Barnes & Noble and places like this :-) And please everyone (if you are so guided by the Holy Spirit), as Kristina shared check out Andrew Murray’s book Wait On God. It is a gem indeed. I see the blessings and the privileges of waiting. Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!

    • Wanda Jeanne

      Waiting On God by Andrew Murray

  • http://profiles.google.com/sequoiajoy Connie Brown

    I love this line: “View your time in the Waiting Room as a season of growth and development
    and you’ll find you’ll be that much more ready for your moment on the
    stage.”

    I like how you challenge us to focus on the opportunities in the moments (hours, days, years) of waiting, instead of fuming about a future answer. Great advice.

  • http://profiles.google.com/sequoiajoy Connie Brown

    What am I doing while I”m waiting? A Kindle is handy to take on trips. Now when I’m waiting on flights, I can read, and my bag is filled with fewer books.

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      I agree… I take my Kindle everywhere.

  • Sirr8504

    thanks to the creator of this site…you’ve helped tons…may the Lord Jesus Christ bless you for your obedience

  • jude

    It is hard to believe God still care about me;i have failed so many times in business,although i know i have a call to preach.The lord told me 11yrs.ago about going to a bible college;i finally found one after eight years and invest my life savings into making sure i didn’t only get an admisison but also a visa to travel.What happened?Two times i got admissions and was denied visa after two trials.And being the type of person who never make any major moves until I hear from God,i was devastated.Now am starting all over again;with no money and with so many family responsibities.I love the lord so much and i still want to preach.I don’t know where to start;Then i finally decided to do a bible training here in Nigeria but the only one i have confidence in ,i don’t have enough funds to sponsor myself.Am now 27  I am dying to know what God want me to do…

  • Loureeves5

    I have spent many hours in hospital waiting rooms with my daughter, and at first I hated it I would became frustrated at having to wait, and would sit there thinking of the all the things I could be doing instead, such as the washing preparing tea, ironing etc.
    However I now look at these lengthy waits as an opportunity to sit and enjoy some time for me some peace away from the everyday hussle and bussle of a busy life. I actually find that I enjoy waiting for my daughter to be seen and realise that these things I was thinking of before would still be done once I had had some quality time sat talking to my daughter (which I otherwise probaly wouldnt find the time to do) So thank you to all you consultants who I know and understand are very busy. Whilst learning how to wait patiently I have also realised that if you are kept waiting to see a consultant it is not they are busy drinking tea and eating cake, it is infact that they are being very thorough and showing concern and understanding for each and every atietn they see.

  • Tereasaknicely

    I just finished Bible College, and while waiting on God for my next step, I spend much time in prayer and the Word. While I am in prayer, the Lord gives me things to look up in the Word, and it is a good time to jot things down in a journal. In the past, I have found that when I go back to the  journal months or years later, what the Lord has told me back then is really encouraging and also confirming when I see what the Lord tells me He is going to do… This waiting period is much longer than any other waiting period, so I fill it up with prayer, writing, reading, getting projects done, and keeping my spirit open 24/7 to the Holy Spirit. I can hear Him more clearly when I am not so busy. Orders from Headquarters for the next step in my life… 

  • Queenie

    Believe that GOD IS IN CONTROL and HE will make all things beautiful and meaningful in HIS TIME.:)

  • jetski_07

    i am always reading God’s word about waiting. it gives me hope every time i read the people in the bible who experienced waiting for God’s answer. i always listen to joyce meyer’s message about PRISONERS of HOPE.. and claiming that God will do great things in my life… :)

  • Ramona442003

    After I lost my job, I was running to and fro looking for another one, eyes firmly fixed on my circumstances.  As time went by, little by little I began to realize that God was in control and was taking care of every need in my life.  This knowledge did not come easy, but after diligently seeking God and deciding to allow Him to take over because I did not have a clue as to what I was doing or what to do, everything became clearer.  God reigns supreme in my life now and I know that he has my best interest at heart at all times.  What am I doing while I am waiting?  Honestly, I pray more, read my Bible more, and help others when opportunties present themselves.

    • Jim Martin

      Ramona, what a great reminder of God’s care and control of our lives.  It is good to hear this from someone who is going through something as difficult as a job loss.  It is encouraging to hear what you are doing as you wait.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Ramona, losing a job can be tough. You’re doing things right by helping others and focusing on God.

  • Jdaesq91369

    I was injured in July 2011. I lost my job and my house. Before I lost my home, I re committed my life to Jesus. I am currently living in my friend’s 1 bedroom apartment. I sleep upon a twin bed that has a broken box springs. Not very good while trying to recover from a back injury. I have made several attempts to  obtain the medical care that I need. I even  asked from several faith based organizations. Nobody seems to be able to help me. They will pray for me and that is all they will do. I need to continue my chiropractic treatments so that I can get back to work. Each treatment only costs $55 . I have been praying and I know that God has heard me.  I have been dealing with my own temptations, including lusts of the flesh and doubting God. My faith in the Lord waivers sometimes. I repent and move on. I don’t need to know my whole future, but I would like to see some progress. Something  that shows me that He has heard me and is bringing me out of this.

    James in Houston. Contact me @ jdaesq91369@yahoo:disqus .com. Prayers are nice but I need 
    real help.

  • Glenda

    Praying, studying the word of God, fasting, trusting and believing that God will make a way and direct me to where he wants me to go.I must say it has been almost7 years, but God has blessed me in spite of the storm I still have my health, home and maybe not the best food I am not hungry.  At this point all I can do is wait I realize there  is always a wait associated  when a humongous blessing is on his agenda.

  • Garciavk27

    its hard to wait but i know i must …thats what brought me to this site…i was looking for what to do while i wait…how should i go about it…waiting is hard but if it is God’s will then so it must be.

    Very informative well written article…thank you

  • guest

    As I look back at my life 

  • guest

     As I look back at my life I can see how many valuable time I have wasted not knowing what to do when my plans for something were thwarted and allowing myself to wallow in self-pity and sink into depression.When instead I could have done something much wiser and for example learn some new skills which may be necessary one day because you never know.And as it turned out the time came when those skills became necessary though not developed in their full-scope.Sadly,at this point in my life;middle-aged,I still find myself compelled by my outward circumstances and other people(yes,other people can become obstacle to achieving your ends;I’ve lived long enough to know that)to wait and repeatedly find it next to impossible to pull myself out from the pit of depression and despair.But,I will try to use this time the best I can and to resist the bouts of depression and hopelessness.It certainly becomes more difficult in life as you are becoming “older in the Lord”,but what’s the alternative;wallowing in depression and self-pity or having hope in the Lord and start doing something that may become usable in the “future”,such as learning new skills or working on your physical fitness and improvement of your health?

  • annoyed

    damn i get to this page by typing in what to do while i wait cuz i was high and waiting to go into work and i ended up on some religious bs website…..fuck me runnin

  • Felixroyg

    It is a process of learning to Trust God completely in all areas of life.    

  • Pearl Gepte

    I am praying. I worship and I stay faithful to my Lord.
    I remember  a song about waiting.
    I am waiting on You, Lord and I am hopeful
    I’m waiting on You Lord though it is painful.
    But patiently I will wait.
    I will move ahead bold and confident
    Talking every step in obedience.
    While I’m waiting, I will worship.
    While I’m waiting, I will serve You
    I will not faint, I’ll be running the race, even while I wait.
    _Pearl from Philippines_

  • Pingback: on waiting (wish I’d written it myself) « inspiration-driven life

  • Chozn4u

    I pray all the time and plunge into the word of God. Waiting is good but when you have to wait lonnnnnggggg periods of time, it can be tempting to just give up and live life in the fast lane. I think the hardest thing is not knowing how long you have to wait. When days turn into weeks, weeks turn to months, months turn to years and yeart to decades, that can be very spiritually and physicall draining. During those times we have to rely on God for renewal of strength and refreshing cause it can be depressing as well.

  • Natty

    Amazingly i have found myself connecting with God and reading books that i know are preparing me for the great future ahead. and i have recognised that i feel more worthy trying to start my own NGO and helping the youth than having a high paying cooperate job. thank you

  • Kyle Harper

    I’m new to this blog and not waiting got me in serious trouble but God is faithful as promised. I have found so much of God ironically in the darkness. I have found that just because God delivers you does not mean that the same mission to wait is not waiting on you to wait, we must still wait. The good thing though is that waiting is not common knowledge it is taught and who better a teacher then a patient God.

  • vibrant77

    I’m at the point in life sitting in the waiting room. Its been such a challenge because this is the first lengthy ‘rest stop’ I’ve ever had in life. I’m waiting impatiently, kickin and screaming at times but always knowing that despite the complaints, Ill keep waiting on Gods timing because he knows best. Job searching for months-yet nothing. God told me ‘do nothing’. But how can a Go-getter personality like mine do nothing and simply expectt an employer to come find me without putting in effort?! It defies logic and reason right? But, that’s simply the case- faith defies logic and our own limited understanding. Choose to keep believing that God has not abandon you. Heaven’s silence does not mean they dislike you or left your side. It may be a test of faith, to strengthen your faith. You have to know that you are where you need to be in life, on the predestined path. You deserve a breather before embarking on that next great chapter, so quell your fears and just leave the details in Gods hands. The universe will work for you, get out of the way :)

  • Cielo_mibc

    Thank you so much for the post. =)

  • Mmwross

    I’m cooking!  Using all these recipes and cookbooks I’ve been collecting for years!  I am finding my inner bakeress, churning out cookies and cakes for former students who have been sending requests.  I’m crying, because it hurts to be here right now. I’m reading, The Word and other inspirational books.  I’m listening to gospel music seeking to “Encourage Yourself” in the Lord.  I go to the library.  Tomorrow I’m going to the art gallery.  Hey, it’s free!  I log onto and search several career sites.  I filled out a volunteer application.  I fill out job applications.  I cry some more, it’s cleansing! I take my time shopping for groceries.  I watch funny shows so that I can laugh.  I stand in church and cry while we sing “Amazing Grace”.  I play Midnight Club video games with my son which helps me focus on him.  I create note templates for him to copy his school notes onto for an organized way to study.  I’m praying for God to remove this thorn from my side.  I’m sitting in my back yard looking at my beautify gardens which invite birds, bees, wasps, hummingbirds, cicadas, racoons, fox, ants, and a lizard this week while I watch the trees fan us to create a breeze.  I listen to God, argue with what he is telling me, “Be  still”, and then I say ‘ok’…. and just be still.  I’m looking for other things to do.  Any suggestions!

  • S. London

    Well I have been waiting for quite a while to be married. My plan was to have had this settled by the age of 21, but it didn’t happen that way, and I’m happy that it didn’t. There was so much I needed to work on and out of my life; that’s exactly what I’ve been doing while I wait for him. I’m 26 now, and he has came into my life. He hasn’t proposed yet, but I’m preparing myself for marriage by reading different books concerning marriage, and soon I will be attending marriage counseling. I really hate the idea of waiting, but waiting has made me into the person I am today. I’m better, much better. This article has really helped me to remember the benefit of waiting. At this present moment, I’m becoming impatient concerning him not proposing, but I must WAIT…. anything that’s easy to get, ain’t worth keeping; that’s what I always say. I just need to remember that when I become anxious.

  • Beasleylawanda

    Thank you for this post. Lately, God has me at a stand still for such a time as this. I started off waiting with patience, fasting and praying for my new promotion and relocation. I felt the presence of God in every aspect of this new journey. Still do. But now I’m still and anxiety would try to kick in every now and then. But Gods word reminds me to be anxious for nothing and in with prayer and supplication let my request be known unto God and He will give me peace that surpasses all understanding. I began to research leadership in the bible and their waiting periods. I also improve my relationship with God and ask if He could give me a sign every once in a while until my final offer letter arrives. Well He is doing just that. I love God. He is elshada, Elohim and Jehovah rafa which are only a few names to describe His power. Reminding myself at all times that Gods word is true and just. No weapon form against me should ever prosper. That God knows the plans and purpose for my life… This daily action plan strengthens me in mind, body and spirit while I wait. Trust God, Ms. Beasley

  • Nike Olawepo

    I BELIEVE IT IS A TIME TO RENEW OUR COMMITMENT TO GOD AND SLAM THE DOOR ON DOUBT AND EVIL THOUGHT. IT MAY NOR BE ESY BUT HIS GRACE IS AVAILABLE. WE CAN TAP IT.
     

  • Bereket Tekeste

    God ordered the prophet Samuel to anoint David to be king over Israel and David had to wait 14 years before was made king. During these years of waiting, Saul, the then king of Israel, wanted to kill David and therefore he was on the run to save his life.  What chance does a poor man like David has against the king of Israel and his whole army? 

    But David trusted in God! “His difficult circumstances did not separate him from God but brought him closer to his master as described in his Psalms. At times he cried to God; at times he danced and praised God; at times we see him lavish his love to God; at some other times we see him boasting in the name of God.

    These waiting years were years were the character, integrity, honesty, kindness and mercy that David showed during his kingdom were formed. Why? Because it was during those testing times that he saw the salvation of the Lord, that he learned to wait for the Lord, that “victory is not for the mighty nor the race to the swift” but to those that hope and wait for the Lord.

    I believe each and every one of those that the Lord has called to serve Him in one way or another, will pass through times of waiting. It is very difficult period in our life time but we cannot be effective witnesses of the Lord if we are not refined, tested, cried, laughed and come out shining like a gold and boasting in the Lord.  We need our own time of waiting and overcoming because in this evil times it is through our testimony that we can overcome the works of the devil and not through the experience of the saints alone!

    Tekeste Bereket

  • Maria

    I am action person and I am running my nutrition bars business. I like what I am doing. I am patient with what is happening now. Looks like all doors I am knocking  are closed. Why? Ok, I still trust and have faith. Because I live books I will do it. And I love painting, so I will do it. Thank you, I still have a lot to do!!!!!!!! God, give me one sign, talk to me. i do not know what to do.!

  • Philip Mulcahy

    Phil

     God has called me to church leadership I am waiting on God’s timing so while I wait I read and study my bible. I also call to people and evangelise to them. God is tugging on my heart  he is giving me hardships to cope with, so that I have to trust on him more to get through them, my faith is growing stronger with every trail and my church leader has told me that when my time comes I will be ready for whatever God has planed for me.

     Yes it is hard waiting not knowing what is coming around the corner but I know that God is in control and the road may be rocky along the way but when I get their it will have been worth the trip.

     God Bless all those who are waiting, God is working in many ways getting things ready for us.

  • Rebecca

    Well the reason why I was asking you did you remember my case because, I have already seen results. He called me on Jan 4th to wish me a happy birthday, and I called him on the 6th to wish him a happy birthday. We had a nice long conversation, and I expressed to him how he made me feel. He apologized over and over. Then after that conversation I didn’t hear from him until around the 8th of Feb. I started calling my phone, and I kept missing his calls because my phone was on silent. Well that third day of him not getting a response from me, he sent me a heartfelt email apologizing again, and saying how much he missed me and wanted to hold me in his arms. At the end of the email he stated that he loved me, in which he has never said those words to me. I still love him also, but its hard now to be with him because I will be moving 5 states away and I don’t want to start something back up with him, knowing we can’t be together. So I just want to thank you High – Dr madurai of maduraitemple@yahoo.com

  • Mbasa

    Me & my Hubby have been waiting for Gods promises to come to pass, we are faithful tithers, we give, we fast & pray but still broke and our still have not seen any breakthrough in our business. Many occasions i find myself asking God when is He going to open the floodgates as He promised, but today i believe He want us to be still & wait on Him.

  • gus

    im to bored to read

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      That’s unfortunate—for you.

  • Bill

    40 years ago the Lord graciously spoke a word of promise into my body while I was praying fervently as a young man of 21.  The promise still has not been fulfilled.  Waiting is agony.  In my late 20′s the Lord gave me a detailed description of my future wife and he said he would send her to me ‘soon’ but it was 10 years before I met her, then we had to wait a further nine years before we could marry due to circumstances – she lived in a  different country.  Waiting is agony.  What am I doing about it? – simply waiting, and waiting, and waiting…..  I praise the Lord, but I am the very first to admit my despair and great weakness while waiting….. and waiting ….

  • Waiting on God

    Awesome outlook and advice.

  • Maisha

    Trusting God by reading his Word and what HE has to say about my situation and not the worlds reaction. The world doesn’t think like God nor loves him.

  • Landslaus Mulenga

    am doing selfdeliverance as well as praying for my wife to turn away fro things that God dislikes
    while trust god for favour

  • Pastor Nick

    Thanks for your post. I am a pastor waiting for God to show me what’s next. Waiting has been very hard, but as you mentioned, God reveals alot to us during this season. Today on my lunch break a leaf fell into my car window. I asked God if it had any specific meaning. Later a second leaf fell in my window. I think God is trying to tell me that this is just a season of life and it will soon be behind me.

  • nicoletan

    Thank you so much for this short inspiring message. It seems I’m reaching out to move my legs to the next step. It seems even though I have a list of things to do, I lack the wind to sail an inch. I want to write. I want to paint. I want to lift but cannot be lifted. I pray and continue to wait. I’m glad I googled what to do while waiting. Thank you for the Biblical insights. Thank you for the wholesome, common sense direction, and for recognizing so many struggle in the waiting room. God bless you.

  • lalalal

    cool article

  • Zibi John

    God’s waiting room is not the easiest place to be at. I have been out of work for a few months. I have lost count of the jobs that I applied. I continue to trust the Lord for his timing. The Lord has been molding me and I have been spending a lot of time reading the Bible and getting to know “what makes our God the God” that he really is. I have been learning about the true meaning of faith. I know understand it has got nothing to do with me gritting my teeth and reminding myself ten thousand times ” I have faith in God”. Faith does not mean crossing one’s fingers and hoping for the winds of change to blow over us. We just need to believe in a faithful God who say’s ” I will never leave you nor forsake you” .