Warning: How You Wait Reveals Your Heart

No one I know likes to wait. Last week I tried to switch cell phone carriers. Each call ended with, “I’m sorry, but your carrier put your account on hold for 24 hours. Please call back tomorrow.”

This happened five days in a row. I decided to put this task on pause.

Over a two-week period, I met people waiting for:

  • an appliance to be fixed
  • an injury to heal
  • a traffic light to change
  • the right time to announce an engagement
  • the right person to fill a job
  • acceptance to Bible College
  • money to build a needed church building
  • a child to become available for adoption
  • a wayward family member to return
  • a hard heart to soften

Time spent waiting often feels like time wasted. Or at least it seems less than God’s best.

Waiting often draws sighs, pacing, foot tapping, and grumbles. Some people lash out in anger and panic, like some disgruntled passengers when their flights are delayed. (Our daughter works in reservations for an airline.) If we’re not careful, we do things we later regret like Sarah who offered her maid Hagar to Abraham in Genesis 16.

We can become so preoccupied with waiting that we miss life in the meantime. It feels like the wait interrupted God’s perfect plan for our lives. We can’t imagine the wait to be part of His plan.

Age has mellowed me, but I still fall on the impatient side of the scale. Maybe that’s why a story tucked away in I Samuel 13 jarred me.

Saul Didn’t Wait Well

Philistine soldiers, as numerous as the sand, assembled against Israel. Israel’s soldiers saw their gathering enemy and quaked in fear. The prophet Samuel promised King Saul he’d come in seven days to make offerings to the Lord before the battle. During the seven-day wait Saul watched his own soldiers hide in caves and thickets while the enemy continued to gather in force.

Saul remained at Gilgal, and all the troops with him were quaking with fear. He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter” (1 Sam. 13:7-8 NIV).

Day seven dawns. No Samuel. His men are scattering. What would you do? I can imagine Saul’s reasoning. It’s been seven days. I can’t wait any longer. I won’t have any soldiers left to fight.

Saul felt “compelled” to make offerings himself. He finished the offering as Samuel arrives.

Listen to Samuel’s rebuke:

You acted foolishly, you have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, He would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after His own heart and appointed him leader of His people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command” (1 Sam. 13-15 NASB).

Whoa—waiting was not Saul’s problem. Waiting exposed the real problem—the condition of Saul’s heart.

Saul’s desire to win the battle was good, but when his way of winning overshadowed the highest priority—to love the Lord with all your heart—his goal became his undoing. Good goals not executed God’s way and in God’s timing expose heart problems.

Faith to Wait

Isaiah 28:16 reminds us that those who trust in God won’t be in a hurry. Where are you struggling with God’s timing? Where does God seem slow or late? A heart that seeks after God learns to trust His timing.

Where are you struggling with God’s timing? A heart that seeks after God learns to trust His timing. #trust, #BigGod Share on X

Therefore this is what the Lord God says:

‘Behold, I am laying a stone in Zion, a tested stone,
A precious cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed.
The one who believes in it will not be *disturbed [Lit in a hurry]’” (Isaiah 28:16 NASB).

Ok, time to call Spectrum and be put on hold again while they contact my current carrier one more time. Lord, grant me patience—and favor!

Comment here.


Debbie Wilson

Photo by Jack Lucas Smith on Unsplash

Sometimes I link with these great sites:

#InspireMeMonday, #InstaEncouraements, #TellHisStory and here , #Let’sHaveCoffee#Recharge Wednesday, #Grace&Truth,

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  1. Joan C. Benson

    Perfect timing on reading this today, Debbie. Thank you for its timely wisdom! Yes, I am also waiting. And, yes, I don’t always do it well. Sometimes, the enemy torments me with the waiting by causing discouragement. This is not of God.

    Today I will give this wait to the Lord and I will rejoice in His timing while praying for favor. Thanks for your own transparency.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Joan, your declaration inspires me: “Today I will give this wait to the Lord and I will rejoice in His timing while praying for favor.” Amen!

    • Tee

      I’m learning to have my expectations in The Lord alone – and I have all of Eternity.

      • Debbie Wilson

        Wonderful way to live, Tee.

  2. Ann J Musico

    I have learned much about this over the years, but I still, like you Debbie, fall on the impatient side at times. He has proven to me time and time again that He has a reason for me to wait – it is for my good – and His timing is always perfect, no matter how it seems t me. Thanks for this timely reminder!

    • Debbie Wilson

      As one who values efficiency, I have struggled with some waits. But like you, I’ve often seen how God was taking care of me. Oh for grace to trust Him more! Thanks for sharing, Ann.

  3. Lisa Blair

    I’m going to meditate on these rich statements, Debbie, “Waiting exposed the real problem—the condition of Saul’s heart. Saul’s desire to win the battle was good, but when his way of winning overshadowed the highest priority—to love the Lord with all your heart—his goal became his undoing. Good goals not executed God’s way and in God’s timing expose heart problems.”

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Lisa. This story provides a sober warning to guard my heart!

  4. J.D. Wininger

    These days? It’s my Christian writing. Am learning that it’s not my job to land an agent, obtain a publishing contract, and build my tribe. My job is to honor God by obeying His leading in my life, which I am learning includes my writing life. Oh my, but how that has taken the pressure off of me. 🙂

    Another great post Ms. Debbie. Thank you for sharing more of your wisdom ma’am.

    • Debbie Wilson

      J.D., there is a lot of pressure put on authors. I’d love to speed up my learning curve. Learning to trust God’s timing as I learn as I go!

  5. Nancy E. Head

    What good wisdom you offer here, Debbie. I hate waiting, and I have put in mucho time with cell phone carriers who have terrible customer service (note the unnecessary, gratuitous shot there). Our frustration with time is a reminder that we are eternal beings–but it’s more often a sign that we can be impatient and ungracious about waiting. May God answer your prayer for favor from the carrier quickly. And may we all use waiting time as He would have us use it.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Nancy, I have to smile at your comment. How many times has my husband come home and found me exasperated on the phone talking with a customer service agent. I guess I’m a slow learner.

  6. Annie Yorty

    Waiting is certainly a discipline we all must learn in our instant-gratification world. Like Saul, I’ve experienced some waiting failures. But I’ve also tasted some waiting successes–enough to know God’s timing is always perfect. Thanks, Debbie.

    • Debbie Wilson

      I like that Annie. We can learn from our past failures and successes.

  7. Barbara Latta

    We have become conditioned to instant gratification in our society. Even food is fast now! Waiting isn’t fun when we are anxious for an answer. And I’m sure Israel got tired of waiting for their Messiah for thousands of years and then when He did appear, most of them didn’t recognize Him because they had the wrong image of who He would be in their minds. We do need to learn to wait the God way. I do hope your phone situation is fixed now.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thanks, Barbara. I’ve been waiting for new motivation to call again!

  8. Susan Shipe

    And, in my writing today is, “Do wait patiently for Him!!!” Never easy, is it?

    • Debbie Wilson

      No it’s not, Susan. Must be a message we need to hear.

  9. Barb Hegreberg

    I’m not good at waiting for people to get their shoes on when it is time to leave to go somewhere!


    I at other times I can wait without getting into a tizzy.

    We are blessed that Our Heavenly Father, is way more patient with us than we are with others.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Yes we are, Barb!

  10. Joanne Viola

    “Good goals not executed God’s way and in God’s timing expose heart problems.” Now that is something worth thinking on for a bit. Even good goals can go awry when we don’t wait for God’s timing.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Sober thought isn’t it? Thanks, Joanne.

  11. Barbara Harper

    An image keeps coming back to mind from Bambi–two birds (can’t remember if they are quails or pheasants) are hiding because man is in the forest. One is jittery and feels she must fly away. The other urges her to be still. The first can’t stand it any more and takes off–but instead of fleeing to safety, she is shot.

    I can get really frustrated with waiting. As you said, it seems like wasted time. But the Bible shows us so many people who were seemingly put on hold, yet were in the middle of God’s will. When we want to jump the gun, it usually doesn’t end well. How we need to wait patiently for His timing.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Wow, Barbara. The scene your recall from Bambi is powerful. May it help me be still before God. Thanks so much!

  12. Nancy

    Thank you for your message about waiting! I read it yesterday, and today had feelings of rejection during a wait! Questions like, why not God this, or why not that God, but the Spirit spoke to me, and my attitude changed into, “Thank You God for all You are protecting me from in the wait!”. How liberating!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Oh Nancy, how precious to have the Lord minister to you so clearly. Thank you so much for sharing!

  13. PaulaShort

    Debbie, this is a very touching post for me. I’ve been waiting for years, for the reengagement of a disengaged child, and for God to soften her heart. The wait hasn’t been easy far from it. I’ve found that as my relationship with Jesus continues to grow, the wait has become easier. And I know it is in his time, and his timing is always right. So I’m okay with the wait.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Paula, those are hard waits. I’ve found God does a lot in my heart during those times to set me free. May the Lord do something better than you can imagine in this wait!

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