Critical seasons of waiting


IN my previous articles, we looked at the principles of sowing and reaping.
We discussed the principal in the natural, as well as in the spiritual. We saw that we can only reap if we sow. We also looked at sowing in a time of famine; that when we sow in obedience to God, regardless of the season or the soil, God will give an increase.
Today, we will discuss another aspect of sowing and reaping. It is the ‘in-between’ period – from the time of planting our seeds to harvesting the produce – the season of waiting! That is a critically important season that has to be understood.
Indeed, we are all waiting for something. It might be for marriage, a child, financial breakthrough, or even a new house.
We have made plans and after a while, nothing is happening. In a situation like that, it’s easy to feel discontented.
Things aren’t going as planned and our dreams are delayed. We start asking, “How long, Lord?”
God uses seasons of waiting to teach us life lessons. As we wait for the Lord to move on our behalf, we can either get frustrated and discouraged, or we can get closer to God.
Our attitude towards our seasons of waiting will determine the quality of life we will enjoy in the meantime.
Bitterness and impatience may destroy us, while quiet trust in God will encourage us. The Bible is full of stories of people who waited. Let’s have a look at a couple of examples:

Paul’s season of waiting – preparation.
In the book of Acts, shortly after Paul was converted, he spent time with the disciples in Damascus. We are told in Acts 9: 19 that Paul was “for many days” with the disciples.
We may think that the passage is saying Paul stayed a couple of weeks with the disciples after his conversion and then jumped right into ministry, as we read in verse 20.
However, the “many days” in verse 19 in the Greek shows us that it was quite a rather lengthy amount of time.
In analysing and cross referencing with Galatians chapter 1, we see that it might have been upwards of three years before Paul really began his ministry.
We can imagine Paul being eager to start preaching after his conversion.
But, God had other plans for him in that waiting season. He needed to grow in his knowledge, be nurtured and prepared for the ministry.
God was faithful to Paul in the waiting season as He was in the sending season.
Likewise, to one who is being called to full time ministry – If God is calling you to go, He will be faithful to that call. But we need to be patient in the meantime.

David waits to be king
The story of David the shepherd boy is interesting.
We can glean many powerful lessons from the life of this young boy who is pictured with a harp, playing and singing psalms of worship to the Lord as he watches over his father’s sheep.
We are intrigued at how this little boy slays a giant warrior who had been mocking the name of his God, and eventually becomes king.
But in tracing his life, we can also see seasons of waiting as God prepares him for the royal throne.
This can be seen in the threefold anointing of David.
These stages can be likened to how God categorised those whom He predestined, which Paul explains: “Those He predestined, He called; those He called, He justified; and those He justified, He also glorified.” (Romans 8: 30).

CALLED (1 Samuel 16.13)
“Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David from that day forward.”
The first anointing was done in private, just in the presence of family.
Prophet Samuel scanned all of Jesse’s big boys but none fitted the bill. He asked if there was any more.
Soon, David was summoned from the fields where he was with the sheep.
The Bible describes him as “a handsome, healthy young man, and his eyes sparkled.” When Samuel saw him, the Lord said, ““This is the one – anoint him!” (1 Sam 16: 12 GNB). Samuel anointed David.

After his anointing, David returned to the field.
He carried on as normal, worshiping God, composing new psalms while tending his father’s sheep.
He was about 15 years old. He was called to be king but would wait for some time in preparation.

JUSTIFIED (2 Samuel 2:4)
“Then the men of Judah came to Hebron, and there they anointed David king over the tribe of Judah.

The second anointing of David was when he was anointed as king by his fellow tribesmen from Judah.
His responsibilities increased to looking after his own wantoks, but not all of Israel yet. God was preparing him in degrees in his progression to the fulfilment of Samuel’s prophecy.
His call to be king was justified in the southern kingdom of Judah.
But he would wait a bit more as God continued preparing him for the big job.

GLORIFIED (2 Samuel 5:3-5)
“When all the elders of Israel had come to King David at Hebron, the king made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel. 4. David was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years. 5. In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months, and in Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah thirty-three years.”

The third and final anointing was when David was anointed king over all Israel.
From the first anointing, David waited an extra 15 years as God moulded and shaped him, getting him ready in stages for this day.
He reigned as king of Israel for 40 years! From the promise to its fulfilment, David learnt so much and endured so much.
During the eventful seasons of waiting, there was a lot of pain, struggle, danger and excitement. But God proved Himself faithful to the end.

God knows you are waiting!
We will all agree that God is in control and that His timing is always right! Yes, He knows we are waiting for something.
He has heard our prayers. But God’s plans are perfectly aligned with the timing that only He sees.
He is working things out behind the scenes.
God knows the beginning, the end, and everything in between. He knows when we are ready for the next level and
He knows when our hearts are prepared.
He knows the lessons we need to learn and the time we need to grow. The Lord knows us completely. His timing is perfect!
What are you waiting for? You sowed some seeds but nothing has showed up yet.
You are believing God for a certain thing which you are confident about, but it hasn’t materialised.
The loan hasn’t been approved yet, or the wayward child doesn’t seem to be changing, despite your prayers.
Hang in there! Don’t give up. Keep trusting and keep serving Him in the meantime. God is true to His word, and He will show up on your behalf.
His word counsels, “Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!” (Psalm 27: 14). The Prophet Micah spoke by faith when he said, “I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me. (Micah 7: 7). That’s a good attitude to take as we wait.

Finally, let’s claim the promise of Isaiah 40: 31: “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.”

May God grant you strength, peace and joy as you wait patiently for Him!