#TellHisStory: When Waiting is Hard

July 15, 2014 | 20 comments

So there is this thing I have been waiting for.

The “thing” isn’t as important as what we humans do while waiting for our “things” to happen. My thing is a thing I have been praying about — begging for really — like a red-faced toddler before a holy God. I may or may not have thrown myself on the living room floor, and then stiffened my limbs.

I also have demonstrated more rational, grown-up responses, like daily surrendering it to God, reading Scripture and asking trusted friends to pray.

Just the other day, a friend, who knows about my thing, sent me a text with a Spurgeon quote:  “Stand still—keep the posture of an upright man, ready for action, expecting further orders, cheerfully and patiently awaiting the directing voice; and it will not be long before God shall say to you, as distinctly as Moses said it to the people of Israel, ‘Go forward!'”

My friend knew it. Spurgeon knew it. Scriptures are super-clear about it:  Wait on the Lord.

Wait. Not run ahead, manage outcomes for God, set an alarm on the Lord’s iPhone to remind Him of your deadline. He is not in a hurry like we are.

Elisabeth Elliott once said that waiting on God is a “willingness to bear uncertainty, to carry within oneself the unanswered question.”

Waiting is a persistent, but sometimes painful, expectancy. It makes your soul itch. And you swear, the clock ticks slower. It really does feel like the watched pot never boils, the stalked phone never rings, the traffic never moves, the prodigal tarries.

Except that the wait will end. One way or another, the wait will end with an answer — maybe not the answer you want, but an answer. Watched pots actually do boil.

I don’t know what your “thing” is. But I’m guessing there’s a thing: an unreturned phone call, a job application being reviewed, an uncomfortable silence between you and a good friend.

But maybe, like my friend said, the best thing to do is to stand still until you sense God saying: “Go forward.”

I messaged my friend back:

“OK. I will ‘stand still.’ Though He may have to tie me to a tree. With really good knots.”

And she responded: “And maybe a padlock or two. I’m standing with you.”

Today, may you be granted sturdy padlocks and a good friend who’s willing to wait with you.

The water will boil.


So, what’s your Story?

A #TellHisStory is any story that connects your story into the story of God.

You’re invited to tell that story right here, in community with us.

Share your narratives, your poems, your Instagrams tagged with #TellHisStory, … your beautiful hearts. You are the chroniclers, the people who help others make sense of the world with your words and your art.

Story is how we know that, no matter what happens, we can get back up again.

Visit someone (or two) in the link-up to encourage with a comment. Then, Tweet about your posts, and the posts you visit, with the #TellHisStory hashtag. Come back on Friday to visit our Featured #TellHisStory, in the sidebar.

A final note: This is a safe place to tell your stories. You don’t have to be a professional writer to join us. Story is built into every single one of us. Your story matters, because it’s part of God’s story down through history, not because you punctuated everything correctly. Deal?


For more details on the #TellHisStory linkup, click here. Share the love of story by visiting someone else in the community!

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by | July 15, 2014 | 20 comments


  1. Cheryl Smith

    Your post couldn’t have been more timely…we are at a crossroads concerning a certain issue in our lives…waiting…feeling like something needs to happen, but not sure what? I have prayed so hard…begging God for an answer. He has given me one small thing to DO while waiting…and that’s it. No long-term plan, no further instructions. Just this. So I wait…and I cling…to those promises that tell me that while waiting, my heart is being strengthened, my strength is being renewed, and when it is time, I will run again and not become weary. I trust your season of waiting will soon end with the hoped-for result! So thankful for you and this post. 🙂

  2. Candace Creates

    I’m so impatient. It is an issue I have been really working on lately. Thank you for this beautiful lesson on waiting. I love this: “The water will boil.” Such an encouraging reminder!

  3. A Little R & R

    Waiting can be so hard…sometimes it feels passive, but true biblical waiting is active…actively claiming God’s promises and trusting that He has our best at heart. Thank you for the post and a great party!

  4. Leah Adams

    Waiting…waiting. One of the things I want to know about when I get to heaven is how Jesus dealt with the wait….that 30 year wait before God said, “Go!” on His ministry.

  5. Michelle DeRusha

    I’m waiting on “a thing” too. Not very patiently. Your post and that quote reminds me of the verse from Exodus 14:13: “Stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today.” Though I think the word “today” might be used a bit loosely. 😉

  6. Katie Kump

    Oh yes, this. In the middle of my own waiting, He’s been whispering, “Rejoice because I’m the only One who knows. Rejoice because I’m good no matter what.” Love the way Elizabeth Elliot framed it–thank you for sharing, Jennifer. Always grateful for your words and the Spirit who times them just right.

  7. Theresa @ Heavenly Glimpses

    Beautiful words, here, Jennifer! I love how you bring this waiting alive and real for everyone. Thank you for sharing your gift with us.

  8. soulstops

    Yes….to bear that uncertainty as E. Elliot says requires trust in God…Thank you, Jennifer, for sharing your lovely heart 🙂

  9. Lisa

    “…painful expectancy” yes, that is just how it is. I gathered much solace from this today. Thank you for the post.

  10. Lyli Dunbar

    I am in a waiting season as well. Last wee, I was reading Psalms 5, and the phrase “wait expectantly” jumped off the page. I am trying to live that way — some days it’s hard!

    Praying for you today as you wait, Jen. Hugs

  11. DeanneMoore

    Waiting is so active even when we are standing still. It takes a lot of focus to be still…I needed to know I am not the only one Jennifer. Thank you for sharing your journey and reminding us we need others committed to standing beside us in the waiting.

  12. Janet

    Oh! Me too! Ergh – bring on the padlocks and knots…and prayers. Thank you for sharing – I pray you get clarity soon!

  13. Lynn D. Morrissey

    I so resonate with this Jennifer. Sometimes I don’t think it’s even so much how long I wait as *how* I wait . . . patiently? full of anticipation? expectantly? . . . or grudgingly, agitatedly, despondently? I try to encourage myself to wait on the Lord, and not just wait.
    Here’s another Spurgeon quote for good measure (and I loved the one you shared): “If the Lord Jehovah makes us wait, let us do so with our whole hearts; for blessed are all they that wait for Him. He is worth waiting for. The waiting itself is beneficial to us: it tries faith, exercises patience, trains submission, and endears the blessing when it comes. The Lord’s people have always been a waiting people.”

    I also suddenly thought of the play on words–wait or weight? And I thought how God is worthy and weighty with glory, and how He is glorified when we wait on Him. He is worth waiting for. And then I thought of this Bible passage:

    2 Corinthians 4:16-18 “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

    So I ask myself: When I wait, do I lose heart? Do I just waste away waiting? Or do I let the Holy Spirit renew my spirit day by day? I know I often consider waiting an affiction. Could I ask the Lord to help me to see it as momentary one at least, and to realize that He is using the wait to prepare a weight of glory as I look to His eternal purposes in it?
    I don’t know. . . . these are just random thoughts, but I do appreciate your sparking my thinking, I always appreciate anything you share!

  14. Ashley Tolins Larkin

    This rings so true, Jennifer. Waiting makes me soul itchy for sure, but having this posture of readiness before God while also resting in him…yes, that’s where it’s at. Thank you for opening up your heart, as always. I appreciate you.

  15. Karrilee Aggett

    I love you friend! It seems there is always a bit of waiting going on… for one ‘thing’ or another! But oh how we have learned that jumping ahead rarely if ever really works out in our favor! His timing really is always best, it’s just that it almost always feels oh so slow, you are right! But I love that you are right also when you say a watched pot DOES boil… (it just looks like it takes longer!) 😉 When you mentioned being tied to a tree, two Scriptures came to mind from Psalms… how sometimes He MAKES us lie down… and this, from Ps 1: “That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in seasonand whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.” Praying with you!

  16. JViola79

    I am so grateful I read this today. I am waiting for a “thing”. Know what is harder than waiting for your own “thing”? Waiting for that “thing” to happen for your child. There were words which you have written which spoke specifically to our situation & for that I am grateful. Know our God directed you to write on “waiting”. Earlier this morning I read, “Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:13, NLT). Who knew it took courage to wait patiently? Or perhaps it is in the waiting, we become braver, more courageous. Praying for both of our “things” today! I so appreciate this post! May His blessings abound today in your life!

  17. Jillie

    Such a timely post for me as well, Jennifer. Your words are just what I needed to hear. You have a wonderful friend there, standing strong and waiting with you. I love the quotes & scriptures you wrote. This one goes in my file as well. Something so good to read over & over…while I wait on the Lord for direction regarding my Dad. Cannot thank you enough.

  18. Nancy Ruegg

    Wow. Twenty-five comments already, and most of the participants are waiting for a “thing” or two. Am I jumping to conclusions when I think, God must do important work in us during wait times, otherwise why would so many of us be in that place? So, thank you, Father, for what you are doing in us. May we be willing participants!

  19. Jean Wise

    Reading all these comments does make me wonder if everyone is always waiting for something. Now that puts a new perspective on waiting doesn’t it? I have even tried the God Box idea. Writing down my prayer and putting it into God’s hands, literally into a box, hoping to let go more easily. Worked for about 24 hours, then back to begging. pleading. stomping my foot and scream when, Lord? Guess we all aren’t a patient bunch are we?

  20. Melissa R

    Yes, I have “a thing,” too. Uncertainty and waiting are so hard to accept! But to paraphrase something I once read, “There is a God, and you’re not Him.” (Deep breath.) “Be still and know ….”



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