How To Wait Well When You Don’t Like What You’re Expecting

Sometimes we struggle to wait because the excitement of what awaits consumes our thoughts. But sometimes we agonize during the wait because we dread what’s expected. 

That’s when it’s difficult to wait well. 

Recently my youngest son expressed the dread of what he expected to be a hard week. I sympathized and then shared what I’ve learned to be true. 

Worrying is often a waste of energy. Often what we expect doesn’t happen in the end. 

How many times have I stewed about what I thought would be an awful experience and it turned out fine?

How often have I worried myself near sick only to discover all was well in the end?

How often do I dread what’s coming only to find out it’s truly a blessing? 

I’ve experienced the truth of this, but still like my son, I struggle with worry in the wait.

wait wellWorry in the Wait

Worrying is one of Satan’s little tricks, and quite an effective one at that. If he can get us stewing about what’s impending, he can keep us from savoring the gift of the present. 

Worry prevents us from trusting God for His provisions. In our angst, we doubt His promises of goodness and mercy.

We question His sufficiency for our needs. 

Worry prevents us from trusting God for His provisions. We doubt His promises & question His sufficiency. Click To Tweet

But faith is believing His promises for us even when we can’t see them. By faith we trust Him.

Faith is believing God's promises for us even when we can't see them. By faith we trust Him. Click To Tweet

By faith, we expect His grace to be sufficient in the moment, no matter what is coming our way. 

Grace in the Moment

But that’s sufficiency in the moment! The Lord doesn’t promise we’ll experience His grace for a particular situation ahead of time. It’s not something to be collected in advance.

But He does promise it’ll be there in our time of greatest need. Guaranteed!

Just like the Israelites could expect the manna for each day they had need, so we can expect God’s grace to show up at the time of our need.

When the Israelites tried to gather the manna in advance, for the next day, it rotted. They had failed to trust in His provisions for their need. 

The manna of grace will meet us and keep us at our time of need as well. It will be sufficient for the day, for the circumstance of the moment.

God’s grace won’t be doled out ahead of time. But we can expect it to be given in sufficient amounts at the perfect time. 

How To Wait Well

Waiting well is difficult for a people who long to see the provisions before we need them.

But we can find rest in the interim because Scripture assures us that God is our hope for all things (Psalm 62:5). He hears our cries for help (Psalm 40:1). “He is good to those whose hope is in him” (Lamentations 3:25). 

We never need fear being disappointed in our waiting because God “will act on behalf of those who wait” (Isaiah 64:4).

To wait well, then, is to seek Him (Psalm 25:3). To wait well is to “lay our requests before” Him and to “wait expectantly” (Psalm 5:3) for Him to act. 

For “Blessed are all who wait for him!” Isaiah 30:18. 

Waiting isn’t meant to be a time of wringing our hands in angst or a time of dreaded resignation. It is a time to experience the strengthening of our faith as we trust in God’s sovereignty and goodness.

Waiting is a time to experience the strengthening of our faith as we trust in God's sovereignty and goodness. Click To Tweet

We need not fear the future if our hope is in the Lord. 

We need not fear the future if our hope is in the Lord. Click To Tweet

“but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” Isaiah 40:31 NIV

A Three-Fold Plan

The way I understand it, to wait well is three-fold. It involves

  1. making known to God our concerns, 
  2. resting in Him in the interim,
  3. and fully expecting Him to act on our behalf, including giving us the grace to handle whatever circumstance we find ourselves in. 

Wait well: make known to God your concerns, rest in Him in the interim & fully expect Him to act on your behalf. Click To Tweet

Following these steps will strengthen our faith and allow us to wait with hope instead of in apprehension for His good and holy will to be done.

Then with strengthened faith, we’ll find ourselves trusting the sufficiency of His grace for whatever lay ahead. 

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8 NIV

Reflections: What are you waiting for? Are you waiting in worry or in hope? How can you trade the former for the latter?

Going on 5 years of counting and I’m nearing 5,000 gifts in Ann Voskamp’s Joy Dare! What a blessing! Here are numbers #4,852–4,872. Read my entire list by clicking here.

  • Zachary safely back at school; An opportunity I thought had passed; A forced walk to gain perspective
  • Wonderful supportive school team for Rachel’s education; Seeing a video of Rachel reading with her new communication software; First flowers of spring
  • Great dental checkup for Rachel; Eating out and shopping with my girl: this is a big deal because she used to be terrible to take clothes shopping, now she enjoys it for a bit and actually expresses preferences for certain items; Food and fellowship after Lenten service (pumpkin bars!)
  • That personal Bible study time when the words seem to jump off the page and into your heart; Surprise Skype call with Mom; Packing to go see my boys
  • Off for a weekend of adventure with the entire family; Seeing Zachary, even if briefly; Brother time as Joey stays over with Zach, experiencing a bit of college life
  • Dad and Mom hanging at the hotel pool with Rach; The family all together at Wheaton; Attending Zachary’s Glee Club choral concert: a fabulous performance glorifying Jesus Christ
  • Being warmly welcomed at Zach’s college church for Palm Sunday worship; Wonderful too-short weekend visiting Zach; Having Danny and his friend Josiah home for the week

By His grace ≈


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Find hope in your real-life struggles. We'll chase it together! I am a wife; mom of 4 (including a young adult daughter with special needs); miscarriage mom of 5; author & follower of Jesus Christ. I write, edit, speak and enjoy everything outdoors.

One comment on “How To Wait Well When You Don’t Like What You’re Expecting
  1. Cecelia Lester (Quiet Spirit) says:

    Learning to wait comes as we mature in the Lord. I used to have a horrible time waiting. But the neat thing about learning to wait is Jesus comforts us while we wait.

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