How (and How Not) to Wait

This article is part of the How (and How Not) series.

Wait for the Lord

Do you know anyone who likes to wait? I don’t.

If you were to take a quick survey, there’d be a strong consensus that waiting is difficult, annoying, or downright bad. Waiting should be avoided and not affirmed, right? Everyone knows that!

This universal perspective is made worse by our fast-paced culture. Waiting less is either a status symbol or a marker of good customer service. At Disney World, you can purchase a special pass to avoid the long lines. By enrolling in TSA PreCheck, you avoid the hassle of waiting in long screening lines. Fast food restaurants reward their employees for shortening wait times in the drive-thru. With a click of a button and an Amazon Prime membership, your package can be on your doorstep in a day or two.

Waiting less or not waiting at all is increasingly normal and celebrated.

However, life is still full of waiting. Despite our desire to eliminate it, there are lots of gap moments. There are many people waiting for medical test results, a job offer, a home to sell, a college acceptance, reconciliation with a loved one, a spouse, a child, an adoption, or the passing of a family member in hospice care. A quick survey of your life would reveal a lot of waiting. To be human is to wait.

Waiting Isn't a Waste

Mark Vroegop

In Waiting Isn’t a Waste, author Mark Vroegop explores 6 characteristics of waiting, calling believers to lean on Christ when we are uncertain about our lives, but certain about God.

How Not to Wait

I would guess that those seasons of waiting were not only hard, but they probably didn’t go very well. That’s certainly been the case with me.

My track record with waiting involves a lot of reluctance and impatience. I don't want to wait, and I have a bias against it - like it's something bad. What's more, when I do I have to wait, I want it to be over as soon as possible. Waiting should be avoided and reduced, right?

When my disdain for waiting gets the best of me, I tend to fall into three unhelpful responses. Each are connected to a desire for control. Anger - doing something rash to end the waiting. Anxiety - trying to think my way out of a delay. Apathy - protecting myself from disappointment with not caring.

The result? Instead of seeing a gap as an opportunity, I see it as annoying, frustrating, or threatening. I waste my waiting.

How Should You Wait?

In this struggle with waiting, we find this command in Psalm 27:14: “Wait for the Lord, be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”

That’s not the only place waiting on the Lord is commanded or commended. There are lots of verses that celebrate it (e.g., Ps. 25:3, 31:24, 40:1, 62:1, 130:5). “Gap moments” are opportunities for Christians to reaffirm trust in God, to rest in him, and live by faith. But for many of us, that’s not how we see or feel about waiting.

In my journey to transform my perspective on waiting, I needed a memorable strategy. Psalm 25 and 27 have the potential to reset your view of waiting. Taken together, several steps emerge for navigating gap moments. I’ve distilled them into an acrostic – FAST. That’s right. When you have to wait, do this FAST.


The first step is shifting your focus from the uncertainty or lack of control you’re experiencing to a God-centered perspective. When you face a moment or season of waiting, it’s easy and natural to ask these questions:

  • “What’s going on?”
  • “Why is this taking so long?”
  • “Why haven’t I heard anything yet?”
  • “This is taking too long. I need to start moving forward.”

However, the first step is to ask another set of questions:

  • “What might God be doing here?”
  • “What opportunity is God presenting?”
  • “How can I not waste this moment?”

In Psalm 25, David says, “To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul . . . none who wait for you shall be put to shame” (Ps. 25:1, 3).

In this way, a gap moment has the potential to be transformed into an opportunity to look to the Lord or to receive from him. A simple shift in focus can lead you away from frustration and fear. It intentionally opens a door for God’s grace.


Once you’ve shifted the focus from what you don’t know, you can then embrace intentional worship or adoration. In other words, biblical waiting is living on what you know to be true about God when you don’t know what’s true about your life.

There are many things about God that you could rehearse, but I prefer “God is” statements. When waiting creates an uncomfortable space, fill it with truths like Psalm 27:1—“The Lord is my light and my salvation . . . . The Lord is the stronghold of my life.”

It might not surprise you to learn that the Bible is filled with these character-affirming and hope-inspiring descriptions.

  • “The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup” (Ps. 16:5)
  • “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer” (Ps. 18:2)
  • “The Lord is my shepherd” (Ps. 23:1)
  • “The Lord is merciful and gracious” (Ps. 103:8)
  • “The Lord is on my side” (Ps. 118:6)

While adoration doesn’t necessarily cause the waiting to end, it does have the potential to transform it. Uncertainty, fear, and impatience can be eclipsed by the character of God. Waiting becomes an opportunity for worship.


Once your focus has shifted toward adoration, the next step is to ask for God’s help—to seek him. In this way, waiting becomes active. Part of our struggle with seasons of uncertainty is that we feel trapped. There’s an exhausting sense of powerlessness.

But in the Bible, people who wait are constantly talking to God. In Psalm 25 we find multiple requests:

  • “Turn to me and be gracious to me” (Ps. 25:16)
  • “Bring me out of my distress” (Ps. 25:17)
  • “Consider my affliction and my trouble” (Ps. 25:18)
  • “Guard my soul” (Ps. 25:20)

Biblical waiting involves embracing that you’re not in control, but you can talk to the one who is. You don’t know what’s going on, so you seek the one who does.


This last step is embracing, by faith, that God can be trusted. Even though all your questions aren’t answered, and even if the situation may not be over soon, you can choose to wait on the Lord.

Psalm 27:13–14 have become dear to me as I’ve learned to wait on the Lord. Notice the gutsy faith in these verses:

“I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” (Ps. 27:13–14)

That hopeful posture can become your perspective even as life is uncertain and uncomfortable. Waiting on the Lord embraces a faith-filled, bold trust even when the answers aren’t clear or may never be.

Focus. Adore. Seek. Trust. That’s how you wait on the Lord. It’s how you live on what’s true about God when you don’t know what’s true about your life.

Life is full of unwelcome and unexpected moments of waiting. Despite our culture’s creative efforts to minimize our “wait times,” there will always be scenarios where you must navigate a gap. Rather than allowing strong emotions to hold you hostage, you can embrace a strategy (FAST) that welcomes God’s grace into your uncertainty.

While you may never love to wait, you can transform gap moments into an opportunity for spiritual growth. Rather than wasting your waiting, you can worship your way through it.

Mark Vroegop is the author of Waiting Isn't a Waste: The Surprising Comfort of Trusting God in the Uncertainties of Life.

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