Unresolved pain, if given a voice can prove to be destructive. I remember before I got married, I received what was intended to be some well-meaning advice from a woman I barley knew. Her husband had cheated on her multiple times. She told me I should keep my bank account separate from my soon to be husband…just in case. This advice came from a place of unresolved pain. Her lack of forgiveness gave her pain a greater voice. For the record, here I am 17 years later, and I am so glad I did not take heed to her council.
It is so easy to view life and give council from the lenses of past and present pains. We can miss the valuable lessons that are taught by pain if we choose to hold on to how it felt instead of focusing on the beauty it could produce IF GIVEN TO JESUS. When giving counsel about working out, most trainers don’t focus on the pain, they instead tell you about the progress that will come as a result of the pain. They tell you how many pounds you will lose, how your physique will be changed for the better, the increased energy, the quality of sleep, etc. They highlight the positive end results.
I have had to really stop and think about some conversations that I have had recently to make sure that what I share comes from a place of purity instead of a place of unresolved pain. If we stay stuck in our pain, we will speak with a voice of anger, resentment, and fear when counseling others. This is something to pause and consider because our council if heeded, can change the course of someone’s destiny. That’s heavy!
The truth is, we will experience pain in life, but we can’t wallow in it. We must be sure to immediately bring it to the feet of Jesus. Depending on how deep the cut, we may have to bring it to Him more than once as we walk the road to healing. If the pain is given to Jesus, when you open your mouth to council, you will speak with wisdom that is laced with love instead of venom. Food for thought.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a] 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.
Let me just put this out there from the beginning, waiting on the promises of God can be hard. REALLY HARD. Waiting can be hard for many reasons, BUT God is not to be blamed for any of them. In our humanity, we can be fickle and waver in our trust of God, not because he isn’t faithful but because at times we lack faith. God has taught me a few lessons on how to wait for His promises to manifest and as mentioned in this post, I wanted to share them with you. This of course is not an exhaustive list. I pray these points bless and encourage you as you wait.
How to wait on the promises of God
1. First identify what the promise is, not what you want it to be, but what God has spoken. We hear the personal promises God make to others and we may try to claim those promises for ourselves. We then become frustrated when they don’t come to pass. So, let me get this right, you are mad that God didn’t give you what He didn’t promise…think about that one. It is imperative that we take the time to truly discern what God is saying to us. Once we know, then we stand and wait with great expectation.
2. Don’t Fill in the blanks in areas that God has remained silent (dates, location, etc.…). Sometimes God makes us promises and we then take it upon ourselves to set a timeline and plan out scenarios for when and how the promise should manifest. It is so important for us to not speak where God is silent as we wait on the promise. Don’t put words in God’s mouth, this will only lead to frustration and confusion. You can’t force the hand of God to make the promise play out at the time and the way you think it should. Be patient. He is God, you are not. Don’t let your impatience cause you to run ahead of God. Impatience always leads to a bigger mess. For a quick refresher on this point, read the story of Hagar and Sarah. Enough said.
3. As you wait, have your spiritual eyes and ears open for ways that God is confirming that He is going to fulfill the promise (dreams, prophetic words, visions, etc.). God is just so sweet to me. For years, I have been waiting on certain promises to manifest. Just when I become weary in waiting He sends me a “hold on I am going to do it” sign. As of late, I have been more aware of those signs, but I wonder how many I missed in the past because of my complaining and doubt. If we are not spiritually in tune and get caught up in complaining and doubting, we can miss the ways that God sends confirmation.
4. Feed your faith for the promise. Simply put, get your daily dose of faith by getting in the word to be reminded of the faithfulness of God. Focus on scriptures that highlight His faithfulness. Don’t know any? Google the term “scriptures on the faithfulness of God.” No excuses. Read bible stories of those who had to wait on the promises of God. I also encourage you to remind yourself of your own testimonies, the times He delivered on what He promised. The faithfulness of God is not what should be on trial as we wait. Instead we should cross examine our doubts.
5. Don’t let what you see or don’t see cause you to doubt. Listen, we are called to walk by faith and not by sight. Many of us know this scripture but we seem to do the opposite of what it says in the process of waiting. Many of us have seen God move in miraculous ways. However, we quickly get spiritual amnesia and doubt that He will do what He has promised. God has given us enough proof that He is trust worthy. For the record, He is not pleased when we doubt, because He has shown us otherwise. Read God’s response to the children of Israel doubting after they saw so many miraculous signs in Numbers 14: 11-12 for a fresh reminder.
6. Don’t become so obsessed with the promise that you forget about the promise keeper. This is a subtle one. It is easy to make an idol of the promise and forget that the one that deserves our worship is the promise keeper. God sometimes delays the promise so that we can learn that He is enough. Let me tell you, once that promise manifest, you are still going to need God. The promise in and of itself is not what brings ultimate satisfaction, only an ongoing relationship with God can do that.
7. Shift your perspective and celebrate the fact that the process is meant to perfect you, not destroy you. In the process of waiting we learn lessons that positions us to possess the promise. Getting the promise prematurely can prove to be detrimental. You are not as ready as you think you are for the promise. Calm down, sit in class, be an attentive student and take notes so you can pass the final exam. Every lesson in the classroom of waiting is intentional, don’t miss it! Stop whining and start thanking God for perfecting you.
8. PRAISE AS YOU WAIT! My praise is a bold declaration that I believe I will see what has been promised. Praise when you don’t feel like it. Praise louder than your doubts. Praise beyond your disappointment. Praise to strengthen your knees that have become feeble while waiting. Praise to magnify God. Praise because He who promised is faithful!
As mentioned above, this is not an exhaustive list, these are just some things I have learned as I wait on God. How do you wait on the promises of God? Leave me a comment below, I would love to hear from you.
As I am typing these words, I can see the trees outside of my window. The same trees that had been bear all winter now have budding leaves on them.
I have learned that there will be winter seasons in my life, but they won’t last forever, spring will come. The seed won’t remain in the ground forever. At some point, life will spring forth. Sometimes winter can go a lot longer than we would like and we lose hope for spring. I have been there. But it will come. Be attentive and celebrate the signs that show you that spring is here. Sometimes we are waiting for all the flowers to fully bloom to celebrate, instead of shouting at the bud we see on the tree. Spring is breaking forth in my life, and I am learning to celebrate every little sign that I see. How about you? Have you given up hope for your spring season because your winter has gone a lot longer than you wanted?
Psalm 30:5 Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His, And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name. For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.
Isaiah 43:19 For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.
I have learned that not everyone will understand my pain and that it is OK. Throughout scripture, we are encouraged to pray and encourage each other. However, nowhere does it say we should expect of man only what God can give. People have a limited bandwidth, which is fine because they are not God. I have learned that I should not put unfair expectations on people and get angry when they don’t understand my pain. I ask for prayer and share my pain with others when it is needed. However, I am learning to not get frustrated when they are unable to empathize or even offer just the right words in response to my pain. Instead, I am learning to cast my cares on Jesus because He cares for me. He totally understands, and He always has the right response.
For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
I Peter 5:7
…casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
I have learned to be at peace with not having all the answers and to put my trust in the God who does. I won’t always understand the why behind the what, and that’s OK. This is a hard place to get to if we lack faith. We as people love to be in control and when we don’t have answers it can drive us crazy. The enemy can have a field day in our minds if we don’t get to that place of accepting that the secret things belong to God. I don’t always understand the mind and ways of God. However, I can rest in peace knowing that He is faithful, and whatever He allows, it’s for a purpose and it will always work for my good.
Isaiah 55: 8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
I have learned to redefine success and ditch what the world told me. This lesson has really hit home for me the last few years. I reflect on my life and it did not go as planned. It would be easy for me to say it hasn’t been successful. However, that’s just not the truth. My life is successful because I am doing what God has called me to do. That’s as simple as it gets for a definition, but it can be a challenge to live out. Truth is, when you say yes to God, that yes leads you to carrying your cross.
That yes leads you to a place of death
Death to self
Death to your own agenda
Death to things you could have done that would have caused the world to applaud you and call you successful.
I also realize if I am not careful, I can abort what God has told me to do if it doesn’t become a “success” in my prescribed time frame. If I don’t guard my heart, the response of others can make me second guess if I am truly successful.
I have been a stay at home mom for the last 14 years. My duties can be summed up to tending to my husband, children, and house. Nothing glamorous about that. However, I have had to remind myself to keep my eyes on Jesus and look to Him to define true success. How about you? Are you struggling with this truth? Leave me a comment, I would love to hear from you.
Isaiah 55: 8-9 “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.