Do you have something that you hope for? It might be for yourself, for someone you care about, or both. I do. I’m not ready to spread them out here (yes, I have more than one), but I would like to share with you a way to wait.
It doesn’t have to be something you’ve hoped for a long time, but for many of us, it is. We hope for our work efforts to bear fruit . . . to be married . . . for healing . . . to become pregnant . . . for our child to have a friend . . . for a relationship to improve . . . for a better job . . . for a loved one to receive Jesus.
When the circumstance doesn’t change or even gets worse, or when our effort seems unnoticed or ineffective, it’s understandable that we become discouraged, disappointed, or even question whether we should give up and let it go. I’ve moved through all those phases while hoping for something, and what I’ve learned is this: How we move through them matters.
While we hope, we wait. The best way, the most fruitful way, to wait for what we hope for is to wait for the Lord.
Look at these promises God gives us through his prophet Isaiah, “but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40.3)
Since God made us for relationship with him, he intends that we wait engaged with him. When you or I have a new hope, we tend to invite God into it— and that’s a great beginning. But what do you do with the challenging circumstances and hard emotions that follow while you wait? When you read the psalms, David engaged frequently with God about all the hard stuff and how he felt about it. That’s what God wants us to do because that’s where he meets us with his grace and mercy.
Have you ever talked something out with someone and been surprised by the insights, even as the words fall out of your mouth or the other person asks a question that you’ve never considered? Imagine when God, who sees your heart and knows your hope, is the One you sit with.
We can sit in our words and feelings or learn to sit in God’s presence.
Here are some prayer exercises and examples. You can pray these on your own, or maybe invite someone to pray with you. God listens.
1. Ask God to help you unload and release to him all that’s burdening you about your hope.
2. Pray through each category separately. For example, if you feel discouraged: “God, help me give you all that has discouraged me.” It could be things people say or don’t say, something you read, an experience, or no change in the circumstance. Then, do the same with your questions: “Here are all the reasons that I am wondering if I should let this go…”
3. After you name and describe what comes to mind to God, release all of it into the Lord’s hands: “I give you all of this.”
4. Invite God to cleanse and fill your heart with his love, healing, and peace.
When we wait for the Lord, he lovingly attends our heart and shapes our hope, and he becomes the focus of our hope.
“For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth.” (Psalm 71.5)