Tag Archives: wait training

30 Days of Hopeful: Day 1

“How do I hold onto my hopes and dreams when God seems silent?” The question came from a good friend and  a sincere follower of Christ.  Her question hit a chord. How do we handle those times when we have prayed and prayed, but the answer is so slow in coming?

Perhaps we sense that a particular dream is God’s plan for us.  But the days, weeks, months, and even years go by.  How can we keep this dream alive?  Over the next few weeks, we’ll explore some ways to stay full of hope–30 Days of Hopeful.

I think back to what I refer to as my season of “wait training.” In our early years of marriage, David and I looked forward to the day we would have children.  But our hopes for a baby stretched into six months, a year, two years, and eventually four years.  Forty-eight straight months of drugs, surgeries, tests, tests and more tests.  And still no baby.  In time, we eventually had our three children.

But the years of waiting proved to be a good time to seek God.  Strength came as I rested in the Lord, studied His Word, and held fast to His promises…day after day. I learned what Jesus meant when He encouraged us to “abide” in Him (John 15:5).

 I drew special strength from Psalm 37:5:  “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”  I began to believe that God would either fulfill my heart’s desires or change my desires to reflect His will for me.

I also found comfort when I stepped out of my own pain to serve others. I explored ways to serve the least and lost in my own community.  Opportunities opened to travel to Africa on my first of what would be many missions trips.  I discovered that when I poured my life out for those hurting worse that I was, an unexplainable joy began to spring forth.

Seeking God and serving others while waiting for my own dream gave birth to a larger purpose.  And “not getting what I wanted when I wanted it” turned out to be  one of the best tools to sharpen my hearing of God’s voice.  I discovered what it means to “delight in the Lord.”

Friends, our seasons of waiting can open the door to deeper intimacy with Jesus. What’s more–those times we thought were barren–can  become our seasons of great fruitfulness.  Let’s decide today to take joy in the journey.

Day Eight: Pray and Walk Away

When our children were small, I taught them a practical lesson in prayer using what I called the “Secret Mailbox Club.” I made a mailbox out of construction paper and encouraged the children to write out their secret prayers on a piece of paper.  We sealed them in an envelope,  put the prayer requests in the mailbox and raised the flag.

“Now let’s go about our day, trusting God to answer our prayers in His time.”  The children would be surprised to discover later that some of their prayers had been answered while they weren’t looking.  I explained that our little mailbox game was similar to mailing a real letter. “When I put a letter in our mailbox, I’ve done my part, right?” “I have to trust the United States Postal Service to deliver my mail to the right place.  So I raise the flag and walk away.” I added, “Wouldn’t it be silly for me to camp beside the mailbox anxiously waiting for the response to my letter?”

When we pray to God, we’ve done our part by giving Him our request. The Bible says it this way: Commit your way to the Lord; trust Him and He will do this (Psalm 37:5). “Genuine faith hands its circumstances over to God, allowing him to work. He will never work until we commit” (from Streams in the Desert).  There are times when genuine faith means we pray and walk away.

This is Day Eight of our 21 Day Watch. We’ve been watching daily for signs of God at work. It seems odd to say “don’t watch” when we’re so focused on watching.  But I have learned that sometimes, when I am gripped by a really big problem, the best way I can show God I trust Him is to pray and walk away from the problem.

I’m talking about those painful and stubborn problems which, short of a miracle, are not going away soon. I battled with infertility for many years before God answered our prayers for children. Perhaps you’re wrestling with a debilitating disease, a rocky marriage, an unpleasant job situation, financial hardship, or a wayward child.

Perhaps we have confidence that God is working in these troublesome situations.  But if we watch too closely, we can get discouraged by the sheer magnitude of the problem and the seeming slowness of the answer.  That’s when it helps to put that prayer in the “Secret Mailbox” and walk away.

I discovered there are lots of ways to find joy while our prayers are in the “Secret Mailbox” awaiting God’s perfect timing:

  • Use this “waiting time” to learn something new or start a new hobby
  • Grow in your knowledge of God’s Word; be part of a Life Group
  • Experience a missions trip
  • Further your education
  • Work on you eating or exercise habits
  • Clean out the clutter in your home and give things away
  • Explore your life’s calling
  • Take time for fun and laughter
  • Serve those who are hurting worse than you are.

Over the years, I’ve found that some of the largest prayers I’ve entrusted into God’s hands, my “big asks,” have been answered in the most surprising ways while I am not watching!

Now I know who I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I’ve entrusted to him until that day (2 Timothy 1:12).



all i want is what i want…

Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4).

“But Mommy, all I want is what I want when I want it,”  howled my friend’s three-year-old daughter in the middle of a tantrum.  Like little Molly,  all I want is “what I want when I want it.”  Who doesn’t?  But life doesn’t always work that way, does it?  Truth is, I’ve had to wait for my most fervent prayers to be answered, sometimes for a very long time.

I’m not a patient person by nature.  But I’ve discovered that not getting what I want when I want it is one way God gets me ready for whatever it is I most desire.  Waiting gives my character a chance to mature  as God prepares me for promotion.  When our character doesn’t grow as fast as our calling, look out!  Yet I’m tempted  to walk away from my dream altogether than wait for it.  Why?  Because waiting is painful.  Grinding. Frustrating. Boring. Out of my control.  In short, waiting is hard work. 

Continue reading