If life were a puzzle, how would you react to the incomplete picture and missing puzzle pieces?
Last summer, I watched my mom tackle two different jigsaw puzzles. The first puzzle was a challenge but certainly seemed doable. She worked at it in her free time, allowed others the joy of helping and then voila! It was done. We celebrated the victory and moved on.
But the second was a 3D puzzle of ocean creatures with slightly varying shades of blue on the majority of the pieces. To us it was the BIG DADDY of all puzzles with the added challenge of a few missing pieces, even a few from the border. I walked away after five minutes, choosing the tranquility of reading a book instead of the dizzying sea of pieces. My stepfather did the same. Not mom. She never gave up. She worked at it the entire week of vacation.
What about the missing puzzle pieces in your life? Are they stealing your peace? Zapping your strength? Do they make you want to walk away from your dreams?
Is the hope for a spouse the gaping hole in your life? Are you tired of waiting and wondering if you will ever have that opportunity to feel whole? Maybe your unfinished puzzle is the unmet need in your heart, your finances, your career or your relationship with someone.
What to Do While You are Waiting
Waiting might feel like doing nothing. But according to God’s Word, waiting well involves action. Look at the activity God recommends in Proverbs 3:1-6:
1. Store God’s commands in your heart so you will never forget them. When you do, God promises to add years to your life and make your life satisfying (verses 1-2).
2. Remember to always be loyal and kind (steadfast, merciful, faithful). When you are, God promises to give you favor with Him and other people (verses 3-4).
3. Trust God with every hopeful and destitute part of your heart, resisting the urge to take His place as captain of your life. When you do, He will show you the paths to take.
Those are amazing rewards to waiting on God (waiting His way) to come through for you. He offers a long, satisfying life, favor with Him and others, and assurance of the direction you need. Can you imagine a life so good, so rich?
With those promises, we tell ourselves we can wait. We know God is compassionate and kind, and surely He will not make us wait too long. But the months and the years roll on and we are still waiting on God to complete the picture—our puzzle with the gaping hole.
Waiting Results in Strength
Waiting for answers can make you tired and leave you feeling hopeless if you let it. We’ve all experienced the person who has given up—the barrage of bitterness and hopelessness that seems to taint everything they do and say. Draining, isn’t it?
God promises that when we wait on Him, He will renew our strength (Isaiah 40:31). Why would waiting on Him for a spouse or a breakthrough in your finances strengthen you?
Waiting Strengthens Humility
I’m learning that humility is born from a heart that recognizes God is infinitely more powerful and wise than me, and He is always right. Wanting a “now” solution or immediate relief to the discomfort of waiting is the offspring of pride. Pride says “I deserve” and “God promised.” Pride stomps its foot at waiting and pouts when its needs are denied. And pride always precedes disgrace (Proverbs 11:2).
Remember God’s promise to give the very elderly Abraham a child and to make him the father of many nations (Genesis 17)? It was a magnificent promise to a man who had likely lost the hope of having a family. According to scholars, Abraham waited 25 years for God to fulfill His promise. Can you imagine waiting 25 years to to get the answer you are waiting for?
Did Abraham and Sarah wait well? The test of waiting took its toll on Sarah. She tired of waiting on God to give her what she had been promised. She gave her husband a mistress, and Ishmael was born. He was named by God so that all would know he would be wild and always at war with his relatives (Genesis 16:12). Sarah’s decision not to wait delivered a war that is still being fought between Israel and the Arab countries. Generations of God’s people were influenced by her decision. Centuries of dissatisfaction, crooked paths and the very opposite of favor with God and man were born out of that decision to go her own way.
Have you made a hasty Hagar decision that resulted in Ishmael consequences? Me too.
Waiting Strengthens Faith
Isaac was born to Abraham and Sarah, proving God was faithful despite their wavering faith. God strengthened their confidence in Him as a Promise Keeper. And He is using their experience to strengthen yours and mine today.
God didn’t waste the waiting or the hasty mistake. He used both to reveal Himself as supremely in charge, faithful to His promises, generous and merciful.
May He use all of our waiting to strengthen our perspective of Him and cause us to grow in humility.
Voice Your Humility and Faith
It takes courage to admit that God is wiser and more faithful than you. It takes faith in Him to proclaim that He will come through for you as He did for Abraham and Sarah. You are not alone in your waiting. You are not unique in your need for encouragement. Even the psalmist encouraged himself while he waited. He knew God held the missing pieces to his satisfying life.
As you wait on God, make the psalmist’s courageous declaration (prayer) your own.
I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!
Psalm 27:13-14 ESV
Can you name two people in the Bible who successfully waited for the Lord’s satisfaction and found favor with God and men?