Waiting? An agent of transformation

wait patientlyWait. It is the theme God emphatically presses on my heart these days. I’m at a place of unknowns, obstacles, and blocked paths. There’s nothing I can do. My hands are tied, and I feel like this has been the trend for a long time.

And God says, “Wait.”

Now, I admit that I don’t always wait well. For some folks, taking a step into the unknown is challenging, but for me it’s when I can’t take a step forward that makes me crazy. I’d much rather be able to step boldly into God’s plans, than be stuck on pause. I’d rather be able to take risks, than be stopped in my tracks.

Because I can’t see what God is doing, sometimes fear of the future creeps in. When wait is the theme, sometimes I gravitate to worry and anxiety.

Yet God says, “I’m doing more than you understand.”

Sometimes waiting seems purposeless. I’m not always sure what I’m supposed to learn. I guess I want to distill the lesson to a succinct sentence and move on. But perhaps that’s the point. Sanctification takes time; transformation isn’t always instantaneous.

Wait a sec, let me define our terms. When I believed on Christ for salvation, I was justified. I was declared innocent by His blood. I was saved. Think of it this way, justified means, “God sees me just as if I’ve never sinned, just as if I’ve always obeyed.”

Sanctification, on the other hand, is the aspect of the gospel in which God is transforming me to be what He already declared. I am being saved. It is lifelong. God initiated it, He’s passionately committed to it, and He will complete it. (Philippians 1:6, I Thessalonians 5:23) Sanctification is also corporate; God is sanctifying His church, creating a people for Himself.

Then there’s glorification. I will be never ending new. One day, I’ll be removed from even the presence of sin, perfected, with Christ forever. I will be saved.

So, for the girl who hates to wait, wouldn’t it be nice to skip over sanctification completely? I mean, let’s get straight to glorification, baby!

However, I know God’s thoughts are so much higher than mine, His ways past understanding. (Isaiah 55:8-9) I know I want to be more like Christ. I want to be set apart for HIm. I want to be the stone with all its rough edges smoothed away by the tumbling of the sea. I want to say with Charles Spurgeon, “I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages.”

Sanctification, then, is a necessary and beautiful thing. God is committed to my holiness because He’s committed to drawing me closer to Himself. Keeping this perspective teaches me to embrace the waiting, and reminds me that waiting teaches me to trust, to rest, to relinquish control of my faulty plans, and to surrender my desires to Him.

I’ll admit, perspective doesn’t alway make it easier. I often fail. Yet because Jesus fully surrendered to the will of His Father, set aside His own glory for a time, and waited perfectly for it to be restored to Him, I can wait. The gospel of Jesus empowers me to do what He commands me to do.

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him.” Psalm 37:7 ESV

Therefore, when waiting is the pervasive theme, I’m learning to praise God for it. I recall that waiting is one agent of transformation.

“Praise the Lord, I tell myself, and never forget the good things He does for me.” Psalm 103:2 NLT

While I’m waiting, I remember the realities of Psalm 103:3-5

  • He forgives iniquity.
  • He heals all my diseases; Jesus took my spiritual leprosy, saving me from the all consuming nature of sin.
  • He redeemed me from the pit.
  • He removed my blindness and made my ears to hear.
  • He took away my paralysis.
  • He lifted the weight of sin that crushed me.
  • He raised me from death to life.
  • He crowns me with steadfast love and mercy.
  • He satisfies me with good.

If God has done all this, then surely He is working through the waiting.

And God says, “I’m doing much more than you understand.”

kiss the wave

This post appeared first at aNew Season Ministries

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6 thoughts on “Waiting? An agent of transformation

  1. Thank you for these very heart encouraging words. I feel these things deeply as well about waiting in regard to sanctification. I feel like I have been in a “wilderness” season the past year or so…not because of trials but rather because of discouragement in faith. Maybe these times when it seems God has forgotten me and is ever so quiet…maybe really it is his work of sanctification. You have given me courage to wait on.

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    1. Sara, I’m so thankful that this post was encouraging to you. Yes, I can relate to the wildernesses of discouragement as well. I have battled that also. And I agree with you, I think the times when God seems quiet is part of sanctification. And some beauty in that is that God is so passionately committed to sanctifying us! Someone reminded me this the other day when I was discouraged. God says “You’re mine. And I will finish what I started.” (Philippians 1:6) Some other things have come to mind just now. Isaiah 49:16 “Behold I have engraved you on the palm of my hand.” How could God forget you? You are His very handprint. Also, one parallel that has always been striking to me is that of wine grapes. Now that may sound weird, but let me explain. I learned that wine makers will intentionally cause distress to their vines, such watering the plants just outside the reach of the roots. The “distress” causes the roots to have to dig deep to reach the nourishment. The most expensive, most flavorful wines are those that have been distressed. I think there is a parallel to walking through wildernesses-Wildernesses teach us to trust when we can understand or see what God is doing, and they make us like those grapes that have been distressed. We have to dig deep to get the nourishment, but oh how sweet it is! Oh how much we can learn to know God in them. I would encourage you to keep preaching truth to yourself through the discouragement. What do you know about God? What has Christ accomplished? I don’t always preach truth to myself well. But I want to. And I know that when I tell my mind what is true, at some point my emotions follow. I hope these thoughts strengthen you also! Praying for you! ~Ami

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  2. This is awesom @-Psalm 37:7.I have been asking a lot of questions on why God’s promises seem delayed, most especially now that l am fully ready to walk according to his devine plan for my life. Here comes the long awaited answer! Thanks for posting I’m richly blessed.

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    1. Charity, I’m so thankful this post could be an encouragement to you. It’s something that God continues to work in my heart. After the death of my husband, it was tempting to think that I should have experience my “quota of sanctification” for awhile. At times I’ve wanted to say, “Oh, God haven’t I had enough?” But I’m learning to embrace the ways God is sanctifying me. I guess one way God is sanctifying me right now is to cause me to see it’s necessity. That seems like something I should know. Duh. But, I suppose sometimes the surrender to sanctification in any form is part of the process. Let me know if I can do anything else to encourage you! Praying for you today! It’s a beautiful thing to be ready to walk according to God’s plan of your life. I have no doubt He will lead you. ~Ami

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