Waiting Upon the Lord

By: Tara Fox
Have you ever prayed and sought the Lord but found yourself in a long stretch of waiting to hear from Him or waiting for Him to move? CCA high school English teacher and administrator Tara Fox shares what she’s learned throughout her life and is still learning about what it means to wait on the Lord — on His perfect timing and His perfect answers. Be encouraged in your seasons of waiting!


But those who wait upon the LORD will renew their strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint. -Isaiah 40:31

It was a Wednesday afternoon, May 2019. School was winding down, and I sat at the conference table with my heart pounding. I was on the verge of tears, for I was about to tell the team that I would not be returning for the coming school year. A month earlier, I had given my boss my resignation, realizing that after 13 years at the school, the Lord seemed to be moving me in a new direction. What direction it was, I had no idea.

A dear friend of mine (and now colleague!) had encouraged me to apply to Calvary Christian Academy, and I’d had one interview with some very fine folks here at CCA. However, I hadn’t heard from anyone at the school since. Other jobs I applied for seemed to be moving slowly or didn’t work out at all. For someone who traditionally hasn’t been very good with change, the whole situation — this period of waiting for direction, for answers, over many, many months — was honestly terrifying, and the silence from God at times felt deafening.

I could not help but wonder, was I doing the right thing? Did I really trust that God knew what He was doing when I was still waiting for clear answers to materialize?
God has stretched me through periods of waiting
The truth is, for most of my life, God has stretched me through periods of waiting. No doubt, we’ve all been there at some point or the other. We pray and seek the Lord, but sometimes, we find ourselves waiting for direction on a decision, for a relationship to heal, for the doctor’s call with the results of our test, for the salvation of a loved one. We pray but wait for the brokenness in our country to be made whole, for the pandemic to be over, for school to get back to normal. My former pastor and his wife prayed and waited for 17 years for his prodigal daughter to return home. 17 years. Oh, that I would have this kind of faith.

The evening after I had informed my team about my resignation, I was sitting at my kitchen table and my cell phone suddenly started to flip out. I would learn later that my phone had been on the fritz for almost a week, and almost no calls had been getting through! Voicemail notifications started flooding in, including two from CCA asking me to give them a call.

Now, I don’t know that God prevented me from getting calls to teach me a lesson and stretch my faith. But I know that He sure used that time of waiting to do just that. It was almost like God was saying to me, “You are not making this decision to move into a new season based on what man can offer you. You’re going to do this based on My call on your life, and My call alone.” I realized God had used the waiting to bring me to a place of far greater dependency on Him. I sat at the kitchen table, dumbfounded, and in awe of our great God.
God had used the waiting to bring me to a place of far greater dependency on Him
Here are a few things I have learned throughout my life, and am still learning, about what it means to wait on the Lord and on His perfect timing and His perfect answers.

  1. Seasons of waiting are never wasted.

    I am often reminded of Paul. For two years, he waited for release or worse yet, execution, while in a Roman prison. It was during this time, though, that he wrote the book of Philippians! In fact, he says the following in Philippians 1:12-14:

    Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.

    In his period of waiting, one of suffering and imprisonment, he can see God’s hand in it all — the Gospel was advanced and the confidence of other believers to proclaim the Gospel was strengthened. How might God be using our seasons of waiting to advance the Gospel?
    How might God be using our seasons of waiting to advance the Gospel?
  2. Seasons of waiting are not seasons of inaction.

    I may not have the answers I want for the questions I have, but what else is happening around me? From whom do I need to ask forgiveness or to whom do I need to give forgiveness? Whom can I sacrificially love? Whom can I serve? I love what Paul says about having the mind of Christ in Philippians 2:3-4:

    Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. What can we do for the kingdom now while we wait on God’s direction for the future?
    What can we do for the kingdom now while we wait on God’s direction for the future?
  3. Seasons of waiting can strengthen our faith.

    Seasons of waiting can draw us to deeper trust in and dependency on the Lord. In these times, we can wait expectantly, with hope and confidence in the God who never fails as He in His infinite wisdom refines our faith. Here are just a few passages that have reminded me of this and have ministered to me during my seasons of waiting.
    we can wait expectantly, with hope and confidence in the God who never fails
    “In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” -1 Peter 1:6-7

    “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” -Romans 3:3-5

    “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 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 40:28-31


These are some of the beautiful ways God can stretch us as we wait on Him. And sometimes, after a period of waiting, the Lord answers our prayers as we had hoped, in marvelous ways. God’s answer to my prayers over a year ago were more than I could have asked for or imagined. Even better, the earthly things I had been clinging to were stripped away, and my faith was refined through it all.

But what happens when, after a period of waiting, we don’t get what we so earnestly hoped for? The doctor’s call leaves us devastated. A wayward child breaks our heart again. That opportunity didn’t work out the way we had hoped. Yet another act of racial injustice flashes across our TV screens.

To start, we can remember that when God says “no” or “not yet” — just like he did to His own Son in Gethsemane — He is still working out all things for our good and for His glory. Sometimes a disappointment or sorrow in one season makes a way for a blessing in another.

I am reminded of Priscilla and Aquila, forced by the emperor’s decree to leave their home in Italy but finding Paul in Corinth as a result, along with a whole host of new ministry opportunities (Acts 18). Even more so, as I heard a pastor say once, it was the “no” to Jesus that made a “yes” for our salvation.

Additionally, we can remember what James said, and count the facing of trials pure joy because of the work it does in our lives. We can also remember that God’s mercies are new every morning and great is His faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22-24).
Be encouraged in your seasons of waiting! We serve a God who goes before us and is with us, a God who will never leave us nor forsake us.
Be encouraged in your seasons of waiting! We serve a God who goes before us and is with us, a God who will never leave us nor forsake us. We do not need to be discouraged or afraid (Deuteronomy 31:8). He who spoke creation into existence and who holds all things in the palm of his hand holds us too!

 

Tara Fox has served as an Assistant Administrator and High School English Teacher at CCA for two years. She has served in Christian education for 15 years with a background in adolescent literacy and school administration. She is passionate about learning, literature, and reaching the next generation with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
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