Practicing Patience When God Has You Waiting

Written by Barbara Erochina

When God has you waiting

Why won’t God answer my prayer?

Some days, it is a lot harder to be patient. When we’re bringing our concerns to the Lord again and again, we grow tired of waiting. It soon begins to feel like our prayers are falling on deaf ears. Often our desire is to take control and just “do the best we can”; it is our fleshly reaction to the silence. We know Galatians 5 lists patience as a fruit of the Holy Spirit so we confess our desire to rule our own lives. We ask the Spirit to fill us, empowering and directing us even as we continue to wait on the Lord.

This doesn’t mean our circumstances change. Our only child remains sick in the hospital, the thread our marriage hangs on continues to splinter, and the hope we’ve held on to for years fades with increasing speed. Having prayed fervently about whatever issue you are facing too many times to count, it’s easy to feel your bank of patience depleting once again. On these days, let these reminders on the nature of patience be an encouragement to you as you continue to wait.

You are not alone in the waiting.

“We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” – Romans 8:22- 25 (New International Version)

Waiting is a common experience. All your brothers and sisters in faith, as well as all of creation know what it is like to wait on the Lord. Consider those who have waited before you: Job, David, a myriad of Prophets. There is plenty of encouragement in the Bible concerning a need for patience and those who have excelled in it. James 5:7, Colossians 1:10-12, Psalm 40:1 and Revelations 14:12 are just a few examples of the myriad of passages about the topic.

The New Bible Dictionary defines patience as “God given restraint in the face of opposition or oppression”. Patience is only needed when there is a reason to not wait. It is only necessary in the face of opposition. This is why seeking patience is in many senses a battle. The promise we can lean on here is that patience is God given restraint. The Lord is the one who provides us with spiritual armor to go into battle. We often think of patience as mere endurance, but such logic is faulty. We are not exercising restraint on our own strength. In truth, our only responsibility is to trust that God will provide the strength to hold on, and then act accordingly to our faith in that promise.

How is this strength given us?

We receive this strength by being filled with the Spirit. As Christians, we know that the ultimate source of patience lives within us. Our role is to trust that the Holy Spirit does live within us, and ask Him for strength to persevere in whatever situation we find ourselves in. This is a provision we can claim by faith as taught us in Romans 5:1-5.

Patience as listed in Galatians 5 is often called longsuffering. The original Greek word is makrothumio, meaning “long temper”. We are to keep a long and slow temper towards God, others and ourselves. This spiritual posture calls for grace. It is grace that compels us to trust God, grace that we can extend to others when they hurt us and grace to forgive ourselves when we stumble and fall.

The experience of waiting on God reminds us that our reality as Christians is not within our apparent circumstances, but rather in the truth of Christ’s love and life in us. This gives us hope as Romans 8:28 assures us that “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” It is not in our abilities to know the time or way in which God will work things out. Ecclesiastes 3:11 and Isaiah 55:8-9 are great reminders that these rest solely in the domain of God’s knowledge. Our role here is to trust the promise of Philippians 1:6 and wait with hope as God’s brings about to completion the good work He began in each of our lives.

What is our role in the battle?

Consider again the definition of patience as God given restraint. God allows us to access divine restraint, but it is our choice to accept it and act in willful obedience. Adam and Eve were given complete free will. They were gifted many provisions in the garden so they wouldn’t need to partake in the fruit that was forbidden. However, they chose to not exercise restraint and instead disobeyed God’s command. When we use God given restraint to wait on His will and timing, we renounce their fallen actions and step out in obedience towards God.

There is purpose in the process. Take a look at Hebrews 12:2. Waiting on God forces us to look to Him. It casts our eyes rightly to Christ as the source of our faith and the assurance of our salvation. It reminds us that Christ’s death and life is the reason we can be filled with and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Trials cause us to persevere by deepening our knowledge of God and relying on him more intentionally. As James 1:2-4 tells us it is here that a mature and complete faith is grown.

Standing patiently when we wait on the Lord does not mean being stuck at a standstill. Consider Ephesians 6 which instructs us to “put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then.” To hold ground by remaining obedient to the Lord while waiting is not passive. Note that the word stand is repeated three times. Patience is an act of the will to claim ground for the Kingdom of God, and is rewarded richly by Him. Revelations 3:10-11 tells us of God’s care for those who persevere through the battle.
Whether we feel we lack patience to wait on God, or to continue to love those that may be hard to love, we do in actuality have access to all the patience we need. We can trust God to give us the strength to bear our circumstances and instead use the time of waiting to grow in intimacy with the Lord.

Now what?
What to do while you’re waiting
How to develop God’s patient heart in your life

Are you struggling with patience and waiting on God? Write to one of our mentors today. It is free and private.


164 Responses to “Practicing Patience When God Has You Waiting”

  • Shelley Shelley says:

    Dear Father God.

    Lord I lift up my friend to You, that you will respond to her request, as she is seeking Your grace, in Jesus Mighty name Amen

  • Bebe ko says:

    How is the attitude when you are praying and waiting for someone and yet the others push Him in the other girl but still om here praying to our Lord at the right and best time.Sometimes i feel sad everytime i thought that nobody wants me to him.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Dave I tried the links you gave but they don’t seem to lead anywhere. Can you check the addresses and share them again please? Thanks

  • dave says:

    K. Christiansen -Just wait on God in Silence.Early in the morning is the best time and Do Not restrict God by what you feel and want.Download Andrew Murray’s writings on Waiting on God [editor’s note: incorrect URL given] Also try [editor’s note: incorrect URL given] for further reading

    Lamentation 3:25

  • Elkay Elkay says:

    Oh K., I was saddened to read your post and thought about how hard it is to try to be positive when everything seems to be going wrong. Life is sometimes like that and we can’t understand why the Lord who loves us is allowing the trial and pain to continue.

    One of the keys to walking through times when life seems to be crumbling and the future’s looking grim is to embrace, to really get a hold of the reality of the Lord’s presence. (At the moment of salvation, the Holy Spirit comes to live within and seal us as belonging to God and no circumstance, suffering, or loss can separate us from Him or His love says Rom. 8:35, 38-39.)

    With the power of the Holy Spirit, we can endure difficulty and accomplish whatever the Lord calls us to do and face circumstances with a sense of confidence, not in ourselves but in God, who is all-knowing and capable and only does good things. As hard as this is to believe in the middle of adversity it is very true.

    I imagine God’s love seems non-existent if it doesn’t rescue you from painful things in life. I wish I could tell you why God was allowing all this to happen to you, but I don’t have that answer and pray that it ends soon and that you can then look back and see God’s hand in your life and thank Him for it.

  • K. Christiansen says:

    I have been unemployed for five years. We are living with friends who complain about everything. I had such a fantastic job interview that I deleted going to law school another semester. The law firm hasn’t kept their word with me in getting back to me and now I’m at an utter loss.

    We have been through so much financial adversity, I cry every single day. I totally feel like God has forgotten me and I’ve been a Christian for 33 years.

  • Shelley Shelley says:

    Thank you David for your comment, may the Lord our God bless you.

  • david says:


  • Aldo Aldo says:

    Sue, thank you for your great response and encouragement to Chris. I hope he reads it, and blogs back to you. Good job.

  • Sue says:

    This reply is to Chris Shaw; Chris, I don’t know you but out of all the letters,
    yours stuck out to me. I have been in the same place you are (or maybe “were”);
    All of Gods children have been in that place at one time or another. I hope that
    things have worked out for you at this time (I only saw this post for the first time today), but whether they have or not know that God loves you and promised He will NEVER LEAVE YOU NOR FORSAKE YOU!! He is working behind the scenes.
    Sometimes He will allow a delay but He never forgets His promises to us. Think of the ways that He has sustained you through the hard times and sent someone with a word of encouragement to you, just when you were about to give up.
    He has not and will never forget you. He is for you. Whether it feels like it or not. That’s why it’s important we forget our “feelings” and stand on what we know
    to be true from the Word of God. He cannot and will not lie; the scripture
    says His word will NOT return void; meaning it HAS TO accomplish what God Himself
    has promised. Keep praying…GOD HEARS YOU!!! Your problems have an expiration
    date….God knows when the perfect timing is for the answer to every prayer.
    Sometimes it’s not you that’s not ready, sometimes it’s someone else He has to
    work on to accomplish the fulfillment of the promise. But it WILL happen.

  • Michael Jantzen M. Jantzen says:

    Hello Sherry, I would encourage you to connect with one of our online mentors for prayer. You can privately share your worries and concerns, talk things through and pray together for miracles. Here’s the link: I would also encourage you that these miracles do happen. You can read/watch many such stories here: Take care.

  • Sherry says:

    im struggling to hold onto faith that God will come thru with divine intervention in our 40 yr old child who has left her husband of 16+ yrs, and our youngest child who struggles with sexual addiction and also has been jobless for 3 months

  • Shelley Shelley says:

    Awesome message!!

  • Michael Jantzen M. Jantzen says:

    Hello Sharon, I agree with most of what you’ve written, but your second sentence is not entirely true: Jesus got angry when he cast the salesmen out of the temple. Certainly he wasn’t sinning then. So righteous anger is not sin when we’re upset about an injustice, but anger arising from a hateful or unforgiving attitude is certainly sin.

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