The Purification of Waiting

Originally published Monday, 20 July 2015.

“And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you. Deliver me from all my transgressions. Do not make me the scorn of the fool! I am mute; I do not open my mouth." Psalm 39:6

If we could sit across the table and talk about all that we wait for our lists would probably cover everything from that one really long traffic light that always catches us when we’re in a hurry to waiting desperately for a relationship to change course. I’d take the traffic lights over waiting for relationships any day!

I’ve begged God and waited for beloved addicts to change, for precious abusers to realize how deeply they are loved by those around them and soften; I waited seven years to marry my beloved as the Lord prepared just the right time; I waited to hold a baby in my arms after almost a decade of infertility; I waited for the Lord to provide a home for us, to provide direction, healing, I’ve waited for hope to find my soul again. I know many have waited for more and longer than I have. But from all my waiting, there’s one thing I’ve learned: to allow the wait to purify my soul.

I am naturally persuaded towards having an unsettled soul. Something I know is entirely not living out God’s best for me. And the seasons of waiting God has appointed for me have allowed transgressions to bubble to my attention and the reality of how easily my heart’s focus gets divided away from wholly resting on Christ. It’s those times I pray a paraphrased version of the above verse, “Lord show me what I am truly waiting for; fix my hope in You. Deliver me from all these nagging sins that distract me from You. Help me sit before you in quiet trust.”

When waiting for my husband felt too long, God purified my heart to direct my passions, dreams, needs, and expectation on Him. When longing for a baby consumed me, the Lord had me lay down that desire until it was completely surrendered and I was at peace to not have a family of my own, fulfilled by my identity in Him. When relationships have strained my patience and waiting for things to change has felt too hard, God has re-centered my heart so that He is the One I wait for, not the change.

Waiting has served a good purpose in my heart. To purify me. To humble me. Waiting has been a refiner’s fire. And truly, if we had to choose between a horrific experience that would turn the fire up on our life and purify our faith or the slow and steady heat of waiting, God is quite gracious to allow waiting to be our refiner.

As you wait on the Lord, I pray He’d give you a gracious and even thankful perspective on all that is being accomplished in your heart and life through this particular season of waiting.

More from the "Waiting" series here.