When God doesn’t seem to answer my prayers as I like or according to my timetable, I can become anxious, discouraged, and frustrated. I’ve had times when I’ve become disillusioned. I can easily forget that He is always, always working out His glorious, life-woman standing against wall with quote from postgiving plan, whether I see His hand or not. He works as powerfully through our waiting and periods of divine silence as He does through His miraculous acts.

As Christmas approaches, which I know will be hard, maybe even disappointing, for many this year, I’ve been contemplating all that occurred prior to Jesus’s birth. The longing, the waiting, and the loving, sovereign hand of God that worked through it all.

The nativity story begins with a faithful, older couple named Elizabeth and Zechariah. Luke 1:6-7 tells us “Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.”

These two verses, sitting back to back, really hit me. Elizabeth and Zechariah honored God, despite the deep ache they must have felt, despite their decades’ long unanswered prayers. And I’m certain both—the fact that they remained faithful to God and barren, provided such comfort to so many others in their community. Those who were pleading with God, perhaps for children of their own, maybe for healing, or that opportunity that never seemed to come, and were beginning to wonder if they’d perhaps done something wrong. If God’s delay or decline revealed His lack of favor or came from the result of some sin.

In those moments when negative thinking threatened to consume their minds, did they pause and reflect on the unanswered prayers of this well-known, well-respected, godly couple? And in their reflection, did they find the strength to wait just a little longer, and to trust that God saw them, heard them, loved them, and was working in their waiting, just winter sunrise with words of Ps. 103 verse 6as, I believe, He worked in Zechariah and Elizabeth’s?

If you’ve read the full story, you know God did answer Zechariah and Elizabeth’s prayers in an awe-inspiring way. After decades of barrenness, He planted a mighty man of God in Elizabeth’s womb, the one who came in the power and spirit of Elijah to prepare the way for our Savior. I love that part of the story. I love seeing those miraculous, only God could, moments. But today, let’s sit in the waiting, that place we’re sometimes tempted to rush through, remembering that God is working, even there. He is with us, even there.

If you’re currently in a season of waiting, may you will sense God’s presence and His love. You aren’t forgotten.

How might God be using your waiting period for something glorious and life-giving?

Speaking of waiting, and waiting well, you might find encouragement in our latest Faith Over Fear podcast episode on fighting our anxiety and finding peace by resting, intentionally, with Christ.

A Practical Resource to Battle Fear – Ep. 72 Faith Over Fear

In our ongoing battle against anxiety and fear, it can be challenging to find resources that are filled with truth and presented from a place of understanding and grace. It can be even more challenging to find biblically sound, heart-safe resources presented from a strong and mature Christ-follower who understands, because they’ve shared similar struggles. This is why books like Grace Fox’s Moving from Fear to Freedom: A Woman’s Guide to Peace in Every Situation are so invaluable. Written by a career global worker who could’ve easily lost her newborn daughter, Grace knows what it’s like to wrestle with the deep truths of God during times of intense fear. In this interview, she shares one of her most frightening moments to date, how God met her in her fear, and practical ways listeners can move from fear to increased faith and freedom. Find Grace at: https://www.gracefox.com/blog https://www.facebook.com/gracefox.author https://www.instagram.com/graceloewenfox/ Find Jennifer: https://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com https://www.facebook.com/JenSlatte https://www.instagram.com/slatteryjennifer/ Find Wholly Loved, at: https://www.WhollyLoved.com Join the private Faith Over Fear Group Here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/442736966614671 Podcast episode referenced: Faith Over Fear Episode 63: Finding Peace in the God of Heaven's Armies Group Discussion Questions: 1. What resonated with you most in today’s episode? 2. When do you tend to feel most vulnerable? 3. How do you normally respond when you feel vulnerable? 4. What truths or songs help you remember God’s love, strength, and faithfulness? 5. When had God reminded you of truth or passage during a time of fear? 6. What are some practical ways you remind yourself of God’s goodness, faithfulness, power, and/or sovereignty? 7. What are some practical ways you have or can remind yourself of ways God has cared for you in the past? 8. Why is it important to turn to God when we’re afraid? Episode Image Credit: Getty/Rudzhan Nagiev
  1. A Practical Resource to Battle Fear – Ep. 72
  2. Living Supernaturally Empowered – Ep. 71
  3. Hearing God’s Voice: The Peace That Comes from Being Supernaturally Led – Ep. 70
  4. Uncovering What’s Beneath Our Emotional Reactions with Steve Carter – Ep. 69
  5. Finding Courage in God Our Abba Father – Ep. 68

For those who find waiting raises their anxiety level, here’s one of the most effective ways I’ve found to battle anxious thinking …

And don’t forget, Giving Tuesday is almost here!

Image of a contemplative woman sitting outside

Waiting on God–for an answer, guidance, or perhaps fulfillment of a dream or promise–can be frustrating and unsettling. It can test our faith and our perseverance. But as my guest today shares, it’s often in the waiting that God does some of His most beautiful, necessary, and delicate work.

What God Does in Our Waiting by Amanda Wen

Waiting—for anything—has never been my strong suit.

Maybe it’s because I’ve grown up in the microwave generation. Or maybe it’s my natural temperament; I come from a long line of not-so-patient people. Doubtless it’s partly sin nature. But as believers, we serve a God who not only rescues us, but also seeks to transform us and make us more like Jesus. Part of how He does that is by growing us in patience.

I’d heard several times that if you pray for patience, God will give you kids. In my case, that’s exactly what He did. Three kids in just under four years, to be precise. Naïve new mama that I was, I assumed that, because God blessed me with children, He would similarly bless me with patience. I assumed I would magically morph into the smiling, sunshiny mom I always expected to be, bursting with ideas for fun activities and craft projects, healthy meals and educational outings. The kind of mom who would never lose her cool or snap at her kids, and who would definitely—definitely—not turn into a screeching lunatic after her two-year-old scribbled a Sharpie mural all over the basement wall.

Unfortunately—and perhaps unsurprisingly—I’m not that mother. I don’t do crafts, our meals consist of mac and cheese more than I’d like, and I still snap more than I smile (though I’m really working on that last one). But motherhood has brought about a different kind of patience, one that God has quietly grown in me without my knowledge.

See, babies take time to grow. To develop. Nothing you do makes that happen faster. Each time I found out I was pregnant, the weeks and months ahead felt like an eternity. I had few couple health scares during pregnancy, scares that could only be resolved by “just wait and see.” God spent a total of twenty-seven months knitting my kids together in my womb.

Could He have done it faster? Absolutely. But He chose not to. He knew my husband and I needed time to prepare for parenthood. My babies needed time to grow. And one of the fruits of the waiting was a new willingness to be still and be patient with the Lord and watch Him work.

All that waiting was so very worth it.

When I began to pursue writing as a career, I learned quickly that if the publishing industry and a glacier were in a race, the publishing industry would win, but only by a nose. You send out queries…and you wait. You enter contests…and you wait. You submit to editors…and you wait. For weeks. Sometimes months, or even years. And nothing on your part speeds up this process. It just takes time.

To my surprise, this waiting hasn’t driven me insane like I thought it would. I’ve learned that, like babies, a career takes time to develop. Time towoman sitting on dock and words to Isaiah 40 verse 31 prepare me as a writer. Time to prepare the people who might read my work. Time to bring all the parts and pieces together into a beautiful masterpiece that only God can create.

Can He do it instantly? Of course He can. But it is for our best and his ultimate glory that he does not.

And so we wait.

God promises strength to those who wait. He promises his presence and assures us of his love. And He will use our wait—like He uses all things—to make us more like Jesus.

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Let’s talk about this! Are you in a season of waiting? What might God be doing in you during this time? Perhaps you’ve come out of a prolonged time of waiting. Looking back, can you see God’s hand in your waiting? If so, share that experience with us. Do you have a favorite Bible character that reveals God’s loving hand during a time of waiting? Share your thoughts, examples, and questions with us in the comments below, because we can all learn from and encourage each other!

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Get to know Amanda! 

 Amanda Wen is an award-winning writer of contemporary inspirational romance. Her contest wins include first Amanda Wen Author Photoplace in the 2016 ACFW First Impressions Contest, the 2017 Great Expectations Contest, and the 2017 Phoenix Rattler Contest. In addition to her writing, Amanda maintains an active and rewarding career as a freelance cellist. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and their three adorable Wenlets. Amanda is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. 
Connect with her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, and visit her online at her website, AmandaWen.com