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