My sister and brother-in-law are expecting their third child in early February, thus ending a 9-month period of intense preparation. They have prepared the room where Lewis will sleep, made plans for the hasty hospital trip, and have gotten my other two nephews prepared for the fact that an addition is on the way. They have actively waited.
Psalm 5 has come to be one of my favorite passages in The Bible. It says, in part, “In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.”
We are instructed to faithfully expect the fruition of those things we are praying for, even if they don’t come with the apparent certainty that accompanies a pregnancy. And when you wait expectantly for something, that necessarily entails a degree of preparation.
There are some who offer prayers and then take a passive position. Unfortunately, passivity can have many negative consequences, three of which come to mind.
First, the thing you’re praying for may not come to pass because you’ve not used the waiting period to work on issues God needs you to address. Second, if your prayer is answered, you may not be in a position to embrace it simply because you’re not ready. Finally, you may give up on the dream altogether because you’re fixated on the fact it has not yet been fulfilled rather than on what you need to do.
It is important that we prepare for our dreams. But a word of warning to those who decide to actively wait: you’ve probably got a lot more work to do than you realize.
I started my preparation with a couple of printed articles in a half-inch binder. Months later, I’ve far outgrown it. I’ve realized there are so many things I need to do and so many areas in my life that require improvement, some of which I thought were perfectly fine. The more I work on, the more I find that requires work. And this is one of the fruits of actively waiting – becoming a better person.
James 1:2-4 says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
How you actively wait is dependent upon where you are in life and what you’re praying for. However, there are certain actions we can all take, regardless of the journey.
First, continuously strengthen your relationship with God so you can more easily ascertain His instruction. This entails learning God’s character through reading His Word and prayer. It also requires a degree of soberness and silence so divine whispers do not go unheard and subtle signs do not go unseen.
Second, learn all you can about the thing you’re praying for. If you’re praying for health, learn how to maintain a healthy lifestyle or learn how to prevent your illness from resurfacing once it is cured. If you’re praying for the success of a new business, learn how to manage a company that is larger than your startup or map out the characteristics and qualities of the additional staff you’ll need.
Finally, and most importantly, go read Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Seriously, do it immediately after you finish this post. It will provide you with a clear blueprint on how you should be living, and following the instruction therein is critical both to realizing your dream and living a fulfilling life that is pleasing to Him.
So, no matter what the goal is, these three items should help get you started with waiting actively. By doing so, you’ll better yourself and be prepared for all God’s grace in your life.
Wait, there’s actually one more thing: buy multiple binders.