Patience has not always been my strongest character trait. It’s no wonder that the Lord has allowed me long moments of waiting so as to grow this particular area in my life. It has been mostly tested in the mundane and everyday moments; when I’m in a que waiting for service, or in traffic…especially traffic. It’s interesting to see how a spirit filled individual can move from songs of victory to outbursts of strong emotion when exposed to such situations.
In the bible, we see God’s servants having to endure times of waiting. Hannah waited year after year for a child (1st Samuel 1), Joseph waited for the fulfillment of God’s promises (Genesis 37-45) , Anna, a prophetess, never left the temple but worshiped day and night in prayer and fasting into her old age, waiting for the promised Messiah (Luke 2: 36-37). These are just a few examples of God’s people in waiting.
Many times however, we may perceive waiting as an inconvenience but I believe that God usually orchestrates seasons of waiting to train and mature us. How then should a worship leader respond in waiting?
- Count it all joy
James 1:2-4 shows us the proper disposition of all those called to waiting. Because seasons of waiting shall come, determine once and for all in your heart to receive them with thanksgiving, knowing that the training you go through shall produce good fruit. Complaining shall not hasten the season’s completion, nor will harboring anger or bitterness in your heart towards the Lord. Release your desires, expectations and frustrations to the Lord and allow the Holy Spirit to pour His joy into your heart. Because after all, the joy of the Lord is your strength for day to day living (Nehemiah 8:10c).
A few years back, I was struggling with a major decision in my life that was a product of long waiting, one that the Lord needed to resolve, in order for me to move on into the next phase of my life. During a cohort meeting, one of my mentors used the analogy of a parade to explain the importance of trust.
An individual watching the parade from the ground may not have a vantage view of the procession taking place. That individual can only see the parade from a linear point of view. On the other hand, another individual in a helicopter may experience the parade more comprehensively, due to the fact that they have an aerial perspective.
In the same way, God can tell where you need to be and when, because He has the bigger picture. Like a master chess player, He sees many moves ahead and is thus able to tell you when it is time to stop and when it is safe to move. Learning to trust God with your life means that you give up your right to dictate what happens in the next phase, because you have a God who clearly sees the path you should take (Psalm 32:8).
- Active waiting
The term active waiting may sound like an oxymoron. However, active waiting is the decision to put your hands to work even as you wait on the fulfillment of God’s promises in your life. Waiting does not necessarily have to take the form of inactivity. As you wait, the Lord may ask you to sharpen your gift in a certain area, volunteer or even spend more time in His word and prayer. The key is to always ask Him where He desires you to be.
Waiting may cause you to feel that your gift is dormant or that God has held you back from living out your purpose. But this is not so, for God is faithfully working behind the scenes and is aware of the place you find yourself in. As a worship leader, remain faithful by continually learning and growing. In addition, allow the Lord to use these seasons to change your character. Our character is important to God, so much so that He will not allow us to skip valuable lessons in a bid to get us to our destiny.
Maybe God has put you in many seasons of waiting and you may be asking yourself when His promises over your life will come to pass. Maybe you have even contemplated hastening the process by manipulating events in your life (Consider Abraham’s attempt at getting a son). It could be that the level of growth that you envisioned for your music ministry has not occurred. Today, your heavenly Father sees and knows and He is saying that you have not been waiting alone. If you can trust that He has the bigger picture, He is able to make a beautiful tapestry from your life. Trust, count it all joy, and do what He is asking you to do in this season of waiting.