The Work You Can Do While You Wait

by Tricia Lott Williford July 1, 2019
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“Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” Psalm 27:14 (NIV)
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Waiting is one of God’s favorite tools to get our attention. In some ways, the Bible’s title could be The Great Wait. The cast of characters could be the Great Waiters. (But that sounds a little like a dinner theater.)

Noah waited for the rain. Daniel waited through the night with a den full of lions. David waited in the cave. Abraham and Sarah waited 25 years for the arrival of their promised son, Isaac, after waiting an entire lifetime to even get the promise in the first place.

And on it goes. Joseph waited 13 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Moses waited 40 years to be called by God. Paul waited in prison. And even Jesus waited 30 years to begin His ministry, though He was well equipped long before. If God asked even Jesus to wait, why do I think He would speed up my process?

Here’s what I love most about the Great Waiters of the Bible: They were flawed, with the exception of Jesus. They were people just like you and me, trying to please God but often falling short. I mean, some of them got it. But … most of them didn’t, which comforts me, since I usually don’t get it either. The Great Waiters were no better at waiting than I am. Let’s not kid ourselves: Waiting is a universal weakness.

What do the Bible stories of the Great Waiters show me about waiting? What did they do while they waited?

While Noah waited for the rain, he got busy with what he had: a lot of wood and some specific measurements. As Daniel waited, he remained faithful in prayer and firm in his convictions.

While Joseph waited in prison, he didn’t waste his energy on the question, “Why?” (Though I imagine he asked that word, he didn’t let it drain him with dead-ends and non-answers.) Instead, we sense he focused his sights on answering, “What should I do now?” He did his best with each small task given to him, and he stayed close to God. As his situation began to turn around, he was ready for every opportunity because he had not wasted his time.

Likewise, Job, David, Paul and even Jesus waited patiently and began the ministry God called each of them to do, caring for the people around them.

Here’s what I see in all of those stories: There is always work to be done while we’re waiting.

Sometimes the work is hands-on and physical, and other times it’s a solitary journey of soul-searching. Sometimes the work is a discipline of noticing, a practice of being alert and aware; sometimes it’s about being patient, loving and present. But when we choose to surrender to the moment, when we seek to believe this moment is part of a larger story, and when we embrace the ache of the longing, the wait is never wasted.

The Lord enters the journey of those who wait. May we continue to trust Him as He reveals Himself along the way.

Dear God, You are the Maker of time. I thank You for holding every moment in Your hands, even the moments of my patience — and impatience. Please show me where You are while I wait, and reveal to me what I can do to serve, love and lead others even as I wait. I long to trust You with my whole life, in the doing and in the waiting. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Psalm 5:3, “In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.” (NIV)

Psalm 130:5, “I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.” (NIV)

Hosea 12:6, “But you must return to your God; maintain love and justice, and wait for your God always.” (NIV) 


Are you in the middle of a season of waiting? Tricia Lott Williford’s new book, Just. You. Wait.: Patience, Contentment, and Hope for the Everyday, will help you to wait well, so that when your opportunity arrives, you can say, “Look out, world: I’m getting ready to shine.”


Tricia writes, blogs and speaks about faith in the face of loss and hope when the miracle isn’t yours. With raw transparency, honest grief, laughable joy, and a captivating voice, she shares the hard pieces of her story — and the redemption God offers in the midst of it. Get to know Tricia through her regular posts on her website, or follow her on Facebook or on Instagram.

Enter to WIN your very own copy of Just. You. Wait., by Tricia Lott Williford. To celebrate this book, Tricia’s publisher is giving away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We’ll randomly select 5 winners and notify each one in the comments section by Monday, July 8, 2019.}


What do the stories of the Great Waiters show you about waiting? Which of the Great Waiters can you most relate to? If there’s always work that can be done in the waiting, what kind of work do you think might best match your journey? What can you begin doing today, even while you wait?

© 2019 by Tricia Lott Williford. All rights reserved.

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