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Why does God make us wait?

by Elizabeth Cottrell · 3 comments

in Connect with God

My good friend, Cindy Hunter sent me a copy of Russel Kelfer’s poem “Wait” this week, not realizing how perfect the timing was for me to be reminded of this important spiritual message. My journal is filled with the phrase, “Oh, for a burning bush…”  In this age of instant information from a search engine –and instant gratification–we’ve come to expect answers…fast answers. God’s timing is often not ours.

Here’s the beginning of the poem:

Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried;
Quietly, patiently, lovingly, God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate . . .
And the Master so gently said, “Wait.”

“Wait? you say wait?” my indignant reply.
“Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By faith I have asked, and I’m claiming your Word.

“My future and all to which I relate
Hangs in the balance, and you tell me to wait?
I’m needing a ‘yes’, a go-ahead sign,
Or even a ‘no’ to which I can resign.

If this resonates with you, be sure to click the link to read it in its entirety. I didn’t want to run afoul of copyrights by printing it all here. If you enjoy an audio/video format, someone has presented it that way on YouTube too:

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 jackie catterton

Was browsing and went to your website, scrolled down and saw “Wait” youtube and watched it. This is exactly where so many people find themselves this day and just don’t understand why wait when I want answers and problems solved.

Your Heart Spoken really provides outreach, answers and is meeting so many of the needs out there.

Thank you for being open to so many new ideas that the Lord is giving you.

Thank you for having such a variety of books, articles, gifts and interesting discussions and comments. Food for thought and answers for many.

Just wanted to say what was on my heart so much and you are a blessing to many.


2 jackie catterton

Henri Nouwen, author of “The Path of Waiting”
Jackie Catterton encourages this reading:

Waiting is not a very popular attitude, Waiting is not something that people think about with great sympathy. In fact, most people consider waiting a waste of time. Perhaps this is because the culture in which we live is basically saying, “Get going! Do something! Show you are able to mak a difference! Don’t just sit there and wait!” For many people, waiting is a dry desert between where they are and where they want to go. And people do not like such a place. They want to get out of it by doing something. Waiting is even more difficult because we are so fearful. One of the most pervasive emotions in the atmoshphere around us is fear. Afraid of inner feelings, afraid of other people, and afraid of the future. Fearful people have a hard time waiting, because when we are afraid we want to get away from where we are.

Waiting is such an unpopular attitude for many people.

The Psalms are full of this waiting. “Do not be afraid. I have something good to say to you.” “My soul is waiting on the Lord; I count on His Word. My soul is longing for the Lord more than watchman for daybreak.” In the Bible people are waiting with a sense of promise. People who wait have received a promise that allows them to wait. They have received something that is at work in them, like a seed that has started to grow. This is important. So waiting is never a movement from nothing to something. It is always a movement from something to something more.

Waiting is active. Most think waiting is passive, a hopeless state determined by events totally out of our hands. There is none of this passivity in Scripture. Those who are waiting are waiting very actively. They know that what they are waiting for is growing from the ground on which they are standing. That’s the secret. The secret of waiting is the faith that the seed has been planted, that something has begun. Active waiting means to be present fully to the moment, in the conviction that something is happening where you are and that you want to be present to it. A waiting person is someone who is present to the moment, who believes that this moment is the moment. The word “patience” means the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us. Waiting, then, is not passive. It involves nurturing the moment, as a mother nurtures the child that she is carrying.

To wait open-endedly is an enormously radical attitude toward life. It is trusting that something will happen to us that is far beyond our own imaginings. It is giving up control over our future and letting God define our life. The spiritual life is a life in which we wait, actively present to the moment, expecting that new things will happen to us, new things that are far beyond our own imagination or prediction.

Read more about this process of “waiting”, how to and the difference it will make with the right attitude, faith,trust and hope.



3 Elizabeth Cottrell

Jackie, thank you so much for these wonderful comments and deep reflections on the subject of waiting. Two things you said really jumped out at me — the idea that waiting “is always a movement from something to something more” and the concept of “active waiting.” I’m really going to to try to explore actively waiting the next time I begin to get impatient. Thank you for your faithful support!


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