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What You Need to Know When Waiting for God to Answer Prayer

prayer / waiting season / trusting Jesus

When God Asks You to Wait…

Have you ever been through a difficult period of waiting in your life where you just want answers but feel left in the dark? It can be so difficult to wait for months, even years, to see how God will work in a situation.

Waiting has always been especially hard for me because I’m the type of person who likes to get things done quickly. I am a type A personality 95% of the time and feel most fulfilled when I’m doing something.

However, I’m a firm believer that God helps us grow by walking us through difficult circumstances that we dislike the most. 

He’s been teaching me the value in waiting even when it makes me uncomfortable and tempts me to be anxious, stressed out, annoyed, angry, disheartened, grieved, and without hope. I have to put those feelings aside because they don’t help anything. I am put in a place where I have to trust God and put my hope in Him.

My Personal Waiting Seasons in the Past 2 Years

I’ve been through a waiting season recently where God has given me an answer and I’m no longer waiting. And I’m also going through a waiting season that I still am enduring. I haven’t yet received any type of answer or “open door/closed door” type of situation where I’m clear on what God is calling my husband and I to do.

Waiting Season #1 – Answered Prayer:

Long story short I substitute taught for two years until my husband and I were in a place where I could apply for a full time job without the possibility of having to move in the middle of the school year. Lighthouse Christian School was the only school I applied to for a full time teaching job and the only school I wanted to become a teacher at. (fun fact: I went to school at Lighthouse K-8th grade) That answered prayer when I got the phone call that I would be teaching 3rd grade, the grade I had hoped for, brought me so much joy and gave me hope that even if another prayer was still unanswered, God is faithful and doesn’t withhold good things from those He loves in His perfect timing. You can read the more detailed story on the long waiting process and answered prayer regarding my teaching job here.

Waiting Season #2 – Unanswered Prayer:

A few months before my husband, Luke, and I got married, my husband graduated college and simultaneously finished his firefighter 1 certification through the Airway Heights Fire Academy. He had been volunteering for 2 years at the Airway Heights Fire Department while getting his Bachelor’s in Exercise Science and going through the fire academy. He had high hopes of getting hired at the Spokane Fire Department within the first few months of us getting married.

Long story short, Luke has applied and interviewed for many fire departments but has yet to get hired on as a career firefighter. We used to get our hopes up during that first year when he would get an interview, but learned the hard way to not do that anymore. It became too painful when we received each “no”, time and time again, after our hopes had been so high.

Luke has done everything in his power to get hired and my heart is full of admiration and pride for him. From interview coaching, to meeting with multiple firefighters who work at various departments he’s applied to, to spending hours (and hard earned money) to take tests every 3 months (requirement to send test scores to hiring stations), to performing physical tests once a year, to filling out the most detailed applications you’ve ever seen with background history that goes so far as who your preschool teacher was, Luke has put in hard, tedious work.

It’s so difficult to be the spouse in this situation because it can be so painful to watch the person you love most go through rejection time and time again. Especially when you see the immense effort and perseverance being poured into the journey of obtaining a firefighting job. I do my best to not think too deeply about the situation because once I start going down that path, the tears start flowing and my heart aches with the pain and frustration of the past 2 years regarding this situation.

It has been a huge testing of our faith as questions have come across my mind like, “Couldn’t God see how hard my husband has been working? Couldn’t he see the hundreds of hours he’s put in towards applying, testing, and preparing for interviews? Couldn’t He see that Luke was a phenominal firefighter for the 4 years total that he volunteered and would be a great addition to any department he was hired to?”

But always within moments of thinking those questions I am humbled. Because the Holy Spirit reminds me how faithful my God is. And how so faithful He has been to me throughout my life. And He has the right to not answer my prayers and to ask me to wait because He is God, and I am not, and He is all-knowing, and I am not.

So What is God Allowing You to Wait for?

I share all this with you because I felt that you might be going through similar circumstances. Maybe you’ve been waiting for an unanswered prayer for many months or years. Maybe it causes pain or sadness that you carry around with you on a daily basis. I want to remind you that God has you exactly where you are in this season for a reason.

And let me be clear that I do not think that just because Luke desires to be a firefighter and we have prayed for this, that God will answer our prayer in the exact way that we want and he will get his dream firefighting job. He certainly might, but I know that however God answers this prayer, it will be God’s will and what is best for everyone.

PROVERBS 16:1 says:

The plans of the heart belong to man,
 but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.

I want to take a look with you at two important concepts the Bible teaches us when it comes to waiting for an answered prayer from the Lord.

The first concept is why does God allow us to wait and the second is how should we wait on an answer from the Lord?

Why Does God Allow Us to Wait?

God tells us to wait for strength. Isaiah 40:31 says, “But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”

God tells us to wait for direction. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

God tells us to wait for His will to be accomplished. Hebrews 10:36 says, ““You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.”

And finally, waiting renews our faith and strengthens our hope in Him. Psalm 33:20-22 says, “We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name.
May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you.”

How Should We Wait on God?

While we wait, we can talk to God and let Him know our thoughts and needs. He wants us to bring our burdens and worries to Him. It’s good to communicate with God and let Him know what you are feeling. Of course He already knows, but He wants to have a relationship with you and He wants you to come to Him with your needs.

Psalm 40:1 says,I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.

While we wait, we need to read His word in the Bible. A huge sign that we are not saturating ourselves in the word enough is when we can see our emotions getting out of hand. The scriptures tell us truth, but Satan and our own selves tell us lies that will discourage us as we wait. Saturate yourself on the truth so those lies have no room to creep in.

Psalm 130:5 says, “I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.”

These two Bible verses have been huge for me in this current waiting season and I pray they can be an encouragement to you as well:

(Romans 8:28 NASB) And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

James 1:2-4 (NASB) Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Finally, we need to wait without anxiousness. Matthew 6:34 says,“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Being able to give your burdens to God and not carry them with you daily is detrimental to your health and well-being. It’s also what God asks us to do. He doesn’t want us to walk through the hard stuff alone, and dwelling on it won’t help anything. So give it to the Lord.

Finally, let’s look at people in the Bible who God allowed to wait.

It is encouraging to see that is it Biblical for God to allow us to wait. People who God loved and who were called His followers were asked to wait for big prayer requests to be answered. These are just a few of many stories in the Bible of people who had to wait for answered prayer from the Lord.

People God Asked to Wait in the Bible

-Jacob waited 14 years (and worked hard) for Rachel to be his wife. (Genesis 29)

-Noah waited for the rain to come after God told him to build a huge ark and people ridiculed him for it. (Genesis 6-8)

-Sarah waited until old age to have her first child. (Genesis 17)

-Job endured extreme sadness when his entire family died and all his possessions were lost. He endured extreme pain when his body was inflicted with boils and disease. Yet he never stopped trusting God and waited for God to answer his cries to him and his prayers. God did and blessed him with immensely more than before. (The book of Job in the Bible)

Waiting is not a bad thing.

God asks us to wait and we can find hope, strength, perseverance, and even joy in Him while we wait. I find joy in all the ways He has already provided for me and my family. And I find even more joy in knowing that even if our prayers are not answered in the way that we see best, God will answer them in the way that He knows is best. I can find hope and rest in that knowledge.

1 THESSALONIANS 5:16-18

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

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prayer / waiting season / trusting Jesus

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Comments

  1. Emily Myrick says

    I LOVE this, my friend! It is so true… we have joy, comfort, peace – everything we need – not because of our circumstances but because of HIM! I love how you have two examples of waiting – one where you did receive an answer and are glorifying God in such a special way, and another where you are waiting but still glorifying him in a special way as he grows you during this hard season of waiting. Just love it, praise Jesus for being such a good King and worthy Lord!

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