Which of these answers would be the hardest for you to hear? If you’re like me, you would say the third. The why of a “yes” or “no” isn’t as tough to deal with as the “how long?!” of a wait. But so often that’s exactly where I find myself: waiting. And it’s easy to get discouraged if I keep staring into the dense fog obscuring what’s ahead.
I like how Corrie Ten Boom expressed the futility of it. She said: “Worry is a cycle of inefficient thoughts whirling around a center of fear….Never fear to trust an unknown future to a known God.”
We are exhorted in Scripture to live by faith (2 Cor. 5:7) in light of a living hope (1 Peter 1:3). This is not an empty suggestion, but a vital expression of a life surrendered to Christ. In a culture drowning in the “easier and faster is better” philosophy, it can be a constant struggle to maintain joy and peace in the waiting seasons. Yet, I am convinced that being patient is not sitting around moping, wishing, sighing for something I’m not sure of.
Patience is faith that endures.
It endures the difficulty of known obstacles, the uncertainty of fluctuating variables, the frustration of invisible progress, and the temptation to get depressed with the slow, lingering passage of Time.
And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. ~ Hebrews 6:11-12
Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord. ~ Psalm 27:14
Yet, those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary. ~ Isaiah 40:31
But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it. ~ Romans 8:25
The dynamics of a film set are often described as “Hurry up and wait.” But being in a position to wait a lot doesn’t mean we’ve all chosen to excel at it! When I find myself growing restless or impatient, here is how I take stock:
- Am I being obedient to what God has already shown me?
Many times taking action on the steps I DO know to take is the very key to discovering the next step on my journey. I can’t see around the bend, but if God is with me, He DOES know, and I can rest in that. I need to continue being faithful in the little things. As Paul said it: “Let us live up to what we have already attained” (Phil. 3:16). Slacking on healthy habits I already have in place is something I have to watch for when my focus shifts to thinking about what’s coming down the road.
- Am I spending time delighting myself in the Lord?
This goes deeper than checking off a number of pages of chapters read in the Bible, or a specific amount of time praying. Am I being still in His presence and giving attention to what is on His heart? Am I making music and dancing for Him as an expression of my devotion, or has that slipped in my consternation of not knowing specifics of how, who, when, what, and where that crouch so insistently in my mind? Am I loving and respecting my Lord enough to trust that He will care for me? There is a difference between using our time wisely as we wait patiently and frantically scurrying to make something happen in our own strength.
- Am I being thankful?
Consider how many times God has clearly shown His faithfulness in your life! Try counting them off. Make a thank you list to Him. Share some of these instances with others, and encourage them to share their own answers to prayer. It’s amazing how soon I can forget if I don’t talk about it with my family and friends, or write it down in my journal. That’s why we humans benefit so greatly from memorials—physical reminders of events from the past as a way of refreshing our memories and sharing their meaning with those around us. Not only does this foster gratitude for the past, but it also strengthens our faith and hope for the future. After all, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever!” (Heb. 13:8)
- Am I serving others where I am?
Waiting introspectively quickly becomes a selfish activity. Instead of wasting hours wrestling with possible scenarios and outcomes, use your imagination to meet another’s need. Harness your creativity and mental energy to help a family member, a neighbor, or a friend who could use an extra hand. Instead of wishing for where you will be tomorrow or the next day, embrace the moment where you are. It is a gift. Don’t despise it.
- Am I “preparing for rain?”
So. You’ve prayed. The physical manifestation of your answer has not tangibly arrived. Are you acting in faith about it, though? Or will you wait to see it to believe it? Because that’s not really faith. Faith is the “assurance of things hoped for” (Heb. 11:1). If I’m sure about something, I’m going to be preparing for the time when it comes. A farmer doesn’t wait to see if it rains before he decides to plow and plant his fields. He trusts that the rain will come at the right time to make the crops yield a harvest. There is usually something I can do to prepare for when the “rain” comes.
Let’s take a brief example. If I am expecting a call that would mean a trip somewhere (say for an audition, or a last-minute crew booking), I can already start packing my bag. But what if the call doesn’t come, or it turns out the trip is unnecessary? Well, then I unpack the bag! That wasn’t so hard, now, was it? And yes, I have “been there, done that.” 🙂
Keeping busy by being productive while I’m waiting helps me to maintain a proper perspective even as I prepare for when the season of waiting comes to an end. And it does! When the answer is wait, it is not for an indefinite period of dangling in limbo. Remember, God is always faithful to His promises:
For the vision is yet for the appointed time; it hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; for it will certainly come, it will not delay. ~ Habakkuk 2:3
So for all you fellow “waiters” out there, my prayer for you is that:
…you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. ~ Colossians 1:9b-12
About this Contributor
Rebekah Cook is a Christ-follower, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, team-player, hugger, and nonstop encourager. She lived in Spain for nineteen years before moving stateside to pursue her passion for screen acting. She got her start apprenticing with Advent Film Group, and since 2009 has served on both cast and crew for sixteen feature film productions (and a handful of shorts). Her first lead role was as Virginia Page for In His Steps, a modern adaptation of the controversial and inspiring 19th century novel.
Participating in the casting and production process from both sides has cross-trained her skills in the industry, and enabled her to mentor other rising talent. Rebekah loves working with directors and fellow actors as they develop characters from a script and bring them to life on the screen. Both on and off of film sets, her heartfelt calling is to be an ambassador of Christ and share God’s love with those around her. You can learn more about her film work on her website.