Let's be honest, if you’re anything like…well, anyone, you want what you want and you want it now. Is God holding out on you? What’s his deal? Has he forgotten you, or is he just plain mean? Or is it that he’s pretty busy, and doesn’t really care?
The answer is none of those, but without the right truth to fight against lies that find their way into your mind, it's easy to crumble when "hope is deferred (Proverbs 13:12)." The Bible even says it "makes the heart sick."
We know you're a fighter, tho. And with the help of God's Spirit, his people and his word, you can make it through anything.
Here are 16 verses to help you in the waiting.
1. “No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.” Psalm 84:11b
When you’re waiting for something, you need to know and remind yourself often that God’s not holding out on you. If he hasn’t given it to you, it’s not what’s best for you right now. He is good, so you can trust him.
2. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
God is pulling levers you can’t see. Behind the scenes, he’s working things out. And you can trust that in the end, God’s working it for good.
If it’s not good now, God’s not done yet.
Pro-tip: Our definition of good and God’s definition of good are usually different. You can trust him in that too, even when you don’t understand (see point 3).
3. “Jesus answered him, ‘What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.’” John 13:7
This is what Jesus told one of his disciples as he (Jesus, the Son of God) stooped down to wash the disciple's feet. It was before he gave his life on the cross to be raised to life again and offer salvation to the world. Allowing Jesus to wash their feet didn't seem right. Dying for them–that seemed like something they should try to prevent. They didn’t get it. It didn’t seem fair. But God knew this is what had to happen, and he knew that one day they would understand.
The same is true with you. You may not understand what’s happening, but one day you will. If not on this side of heaven, at least on the next.
See also Habakkuk 1:5.
4. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9
Believe it or not, God’s ways and plans are higher and better than yours. This truth paired with the fact that he loves you and has your best interest in mind should comfort you when your plans aren’t working out the way you expected or as quickly as you thought.
5. “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’ As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.” James 4:13-16
It’s easy to become disappointed in the waiting. It might be because subconsciously, you’re expecting God to work on your timeline, assuming that he should, and thinking that you know the future. His word kindly says that’s arrogant.
6. “He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.’” Acts 1:12
Truth moment. If we’re really honest, we all want God’s job. We want it because we think we can do it better. The reality is that if we knew what he knew, we’d do exactly what he’s doing and ask for exactly what he’s given us.
7. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses…” Hebrews 4:15a
God understands. When you’re sad, he grieves with you. He isn’t cold or distant. And he doesn’t turn a blind eye to your pain. He really cares about what you’re going through. He wants to talk with you about it.
8. “Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” Psalm 121:4
For real. God’s not sleeping on you. He’s working around the clock, pulling levers you can’t see to make things happen you don’t know. When you feel helpless, hopeful, or tired, you can trust that God is always on the move so that you don’t have to be.
9. “Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!” Psalm 27:14
Instead of waiting for what you want, wait for God. At the end of the day, you don’t want something that he doesn’t want for you.
10. “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness…” 2 Peter 3:9a
Memorize this one if you question whether God made a mistake. Everything in your life is right on schedule.
11. “The LORD is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works.” Psalm 145:17
Remind yourself of this when you feel like you’re getting jipped. Everything God does (or doesn’t do) is an act of kindness.
12. “See how the farmer awaits the precious fruit of the soil—how patient he is for the fall and spring rains. You, too, be patient and strengthen your hearts, because the Lord’s coming is near.” James 5:7b-8
Be patient, because waiting often brings good things. We get it, growing seasons can be really hard. But it’s the difficult seasons of waiting and growing that God uses to produce blessing. Even through hardship, God is working. Wait for the Lord to fulfill his promise of making all things right, because one day he will.
13. “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Sometimes we wait in life for things God never promised. It leads to frustration, despair and doubting God. It could even lead to walking away from Christianity altogether. Hope for a Christian is in heaven–not in this life but in the life to come. Instead of staking your hope in getting what you want, stake your hope in heaven that’s coming.
God has not promised us health, wealth or prosperity. This is really important. There are many “false teachers” sharing that this is the case.
Scripture is clear that on this side of heaven, we’re promised trouble and pain (thanks Adam and Eve), but also supernatural strength to get through it. On the next side of heaven, we’re promised a life free of suffering.
Before you get disappointed in God, stop and consider if he’s holding up his end of the bargain as scripture says.
14. “For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.” Habakkuk 2:3
Even things God has promised can sometimes feel like they are taking forever. God has a plan, and nothing will stop him from accomplishing it.
15. “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” Job 42:2
Live faithfully, surrender your whole life to God daily, and let him do the rest. You can trust that none of his plans will be “thwarted,” ¬or prevented from happening.
16. “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1
If you’re waiting right now, God has a plan—not just for the future, but for the present. Embrace the season that you’re in, be honest with him when you’re getting impatient or unsettled, and search for the “good” that God has in your current season. There is a time for everything, and right now, the all-powerful, all-knowing, loving God has your life right on schedule.
Waiting can be incredibly difficult. You’re not alone, and you’re not forgotten. Make the waiting count for something by asking God what he wants to teach you, by thanking him for his sovereignty and goodness in it, and by being honest with your community about what you’re going through.
For more, check out last week's blog, 8 Ways to Thrive in Transitions or dive deeper into one of these 20 Christian Books That Will Ruin Your Life (for the Better).