Just over two weeks ago, our church hosted Spiritual Leadership Conference Egypt. The Lord blessed the conference in amazing ways. We were able to see nearly fifty people come to Christ through outreach in conjunction with the conference. And the Lord used the conference itself to encourage and equip faithful servants of God from across the Middle East.
After the conference, Terrie and I took a few days to see sites in the Middle East related to biblical and ancient history. We were excited to come home and grateful for God’s hand of blessing throughout our entire trip.
Just before heading home, we were required to take a final PCR test for Covid. Terrie hadn’t felt well, but we assumed it was the strain of travel and exhaustion of the conference. The test showed otherwise. We both had Covid and were ordered back to our hotel room for isolation quarantine.
It was a remarkably-challenging time and not at all what I would have planned. Honestly, I struggled with it. I just wanted to get home, and I hated being confined to a single hotel room in a foreign country.
But the Lord used this time to teach me some truths about waiting on Him.
Thankfully, we were finally able to leave, and we even made it back just in time to celebrate thirty-six years of ministry with our church family at Lancaster Baptist Church.
But a few days before we left, I found myself jotting down a list of things the Lord was teaching me about waiting on Him. I was surprised how many there were. And I was grateful to step back and see how significantly the Lord had used this experience in my life.
I don’t know what situation you may be in that is requiring you to wait on the Lord. But I hope these lessons the Lord recently taught me can be an encouragement to you.
1. God will sometimes ordain a pause. I don’t like waiting, and I don’t like pauses, but I can trust God’s sovereignty. Next to the verse that says “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord,” George Müller wrote in his Bible, “And the stops also.”
The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. (Psalm 37:23)
2. Impatience doesn’t help. I spent the first few days of this forced isolation calling everyone possible who might be able to help. In time, I realized that while there is a time for action, this was a time for trust. Impatience only exasperates our spirit and does nothing to solve the situation.
Impatience only exasperates our spirit and does nothing to solve the situation. Click To Tweet
But the fruit of the Spirit is…longsuffering… (Gal 5:22)
3. Look for the spiritual lesson. God will teach us through these times of waiting if we will be still and listen.
I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. (Psalm 32:8)
4. Be kind to those God places in your “waiting room.” Wherever you are waiting, there are others near you who need to see the kindness of Christ through you. Terrie and I were in a foreign country where language and culture are barriers. But I was often reminded that kindness is a shared human language, and, when done in the name of Christ, it can point others to the kindness of God.
Wherever you are waiting, there are others near you who need to see the kindness of Christ through you. Click To Tweet
But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. (Luke 6:35)
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:32)
5. Use every opportunity to witness. As I advocated for Terrie (who had more symptoms than I had), I was able to witness for Christ to medical personnel and hotel staff. I added many to my outreach prospect list, and God deepened my burden for Muslim people. Wherever you are waiting, seek to share the gospel.
And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; … Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. (2 Corinthians 5:18, 20)
6. It is a joy to be in isolation and serve someone you truly love. The incredibly bright spot for me in this situation has been extended time with Terrie. It makes me thankful that after over forty-one years of marriage, we truly enjoy each other.
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; … So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. (Ephesians 5:25, 28)
7. Be grateful for friends who understand and patient with those who don’t. Some of your friends will understand what you are going through better than others, and some are better at expressing their care than others. That’s okay. All of us have times when we misunderstand that challenges our friends face. Instead of being frustrated with those who don’t understand, allow this experience and time of waiting to make you a more understanding friend to others in the future.
Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. (2 Corinthians 1:4)
8. The work of God goes on if you have invested in training others. One of the early concerns for me was the “what abouts” related to ministry back home. It was good to remember that it is God’s work and that I can trust the Lord with His church. But it was also a tremendous blessing to see our staff and church family carry on in our absence. It made me thankful that through the years we have placed a priority on training leaders—not just on accomplishing tasks. (I wrote about this at length in Guided by Grace.)
And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. (2 Timothy 2:2)
9. Wait on the Lord. Over the years, I’ve waited on many people who have let me down and for many events that have disappointed me. I’ve never waited on God and regretted it.
I’ve waited on many people who have let me down and for many events that have disappointed me. I’ve never waited on God and regretted it. Click To Tweet
Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord. (Psalm 27:14)