He waits for that last person to receive His free gift of forgiveness of sins and eternal life with Him before He returns for His bride, the Church.
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
He waits for His enemies to be finally defeated.
When Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet (Heb. 10:12–13).
He waits to judge the world.
Do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart (1 Cor. 4:5).
Sometimes He waits to come immediately when you call so that your faith might grow so that God might be greatly glorified.
The [two] sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. . . .
Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him” (John 11:3–6, 14–15).
He waits to be gracious to you.
Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him (Isa. 30:18).
How does the fact that your God waits encourage you in your own wait? Can you think of any other ways God waits?
Last week I shared some mail I just couldn’t keep to myself. You were so encouraged that this week I want to share more advice with you from married women. So . . . I asked a group of married women of all ages the following question:
What do you wish you’d done before getting married (either to prepare for marriage or just to take advantage of your singleness)?
You may be wondering, Why should I care what a bunch of married women think? Well, did you know God’s plan is that we learn the ins and outs of marriage from women who are “older and wiser?” Titus 2:3–5 says,
“Older women are to . . . teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands . . . that the word of God may not be reviled.”
Part of that training takes place before you’re even in a relationship! With that in mind, here’s what several married women wish they’d done before getting married:
“I wish I had spent more time growing as a Christian instead of assuming that I would ‘follow’ my husband spiritually. I would have spent more time being myself instead of being simply available.” —Myranda
“I wish I hadn’t devoured literally every Christian romance novel and countless romance movies. The men portrayed in these stories seem to be near perfect and have caused disappointment in marriage stemming from dangerous, unrealistic expectations. It contributed to me looking to a man to satisfy my every longing when the only One who can do that is the sinless, perfect Jesus Christ.” —Kimberly
“I got married at age twenty, and I can think of a dozen or more things that have crossed my mind over the years (manage finances, finish school, travel, etc.) that if I had done before marriage would have made so many things easier. But when it gets right down to it, we have had a blast growing up together. The best marriages aren’t necessarily easy; they are committed. I am thankful for one thing I did do before marriage: moving away from home. I think that gave me a crash course in dependency upon the Lord for everything, which laid the perfect foundation for marriage.” —Julie
“I wish I would’ve taken time after high school to find out who I really was aside from being under my parents’ authority before I got married.” —Hannah
“I wish I would have enjoyed my single days more instead of concentrating on finding love. I also would have wanted to be more prepared for the reality of marriage; the work, the responsibility, the pain that is there among the joy. Forever is a much bigger commitment after all the celebrations have calmed down from the engagement and wedding and it is just the two of you left . . . you and sixty years. Single girls, MAKE SURE you marry someone you like, not just love. It has been said many times, but you really do need to marry your best friend! Let God lead you to each other.” —Heidi
“I wish I had really thought about how I’d find purpose and joy in the responsibilities of being a wife and mom apart from my other interests, which had of course monopolized my single life. ” —Laura
“I wish I would have lived as a godly woman when I was single instead of thinking, I’ll be like that when I’m married. I went through a very challenging first year of marriage until God graciously showed me I can’t keep saying ‘tomorrow,’ I need to obey today! Also, I wish I would have learned how to be an organized person, how to cook meals and grocery shop, and how to live within a budget. It would have made the transition to marriage easier had I already been experienced at taking care of myself (versus trying to figure out how to take care of two people).” —Emily
“I wish I’d learned more about how the marriage covenant is a picture of Jesus’s relationship with His bride, the church. It also would have helped to be involved more in service in the church, especially where no one could see me and there was no immediate recognition. It would have helped diminish my ego as a single woman!” —Aileen
“I wish I would have traveled more, gotten involved with more ministries overseas, even spent time living overseas!” —Kara
“I wish I had learned much earlier about submission in marriage. I never really grasped that until the last several years. I marvel at the difference it has made, learning to let my husband truly be the head of the family, even when I don’t agree with every move he makes. By over-powering my husband in the early years, I caused so many issues I didn’t even realize.” —Sheila
“I wish I had lightened up and had more fun.” —Jeannie
“I wish I would have spent more time with a mature mentor couple for the purpose of laying out our expectations for marriage. We’ve grown, and after sixteen years, are still becoming one. Learning to communicate clearly about the outcomes we are expecting before we begin a project has been huge. It’s so hard to backtrack. Clarity upfront helps work out some differences before they become huge mountains to tackle.” —Jennifer
Which piece of advice resonates with you most, not-yet-married-girl? What one thing can you begin to work on today as you anticipate marriage someday?
I’ve been yearning for a vacation for months now. It’s not that I don’t have a surplus of vacation days; I just haven’t known how to gracefully bow out of the never-letting-up-responsibilities of life.
Recently, though, I got desperate. I asked my prayer team to pray that God would provide a vacation, and then I blocked off this week as a quiet “stay-cation” since I didn’t have the energy to plan a full-fledged vacation.
God’s Gracious Provision
Last week I asked my advisory council if they had any ideas for how I could spice up my stay-cation. One woman’s response caught me off guard, “My husband and I have been praying about who could use our timeshare in Florida; we can’t make it this year.”
God lavishly provided.
It didn’t take long for the details to fall into place. She okayed it with her husband; my boss approved the time off; a friend helped me find the steal of the year on a direct flight (no small thing when it’s just seven days out!); and the rest is history (well, future, I guess).
God lavishly provided.
The only problem . . . I would be going alone.
But No One Vacations Alone!
Vacationing solo just isn’t done. Even eating out alone has a stigma in our culture. I wasn’t the only one who considered this. More than one person asked if I’d be okay, vacationing by myself for a whole week.
Am I ever really alone?
But should the fear of loneliness cause me to turn down a timeshare on the Atlantic Ocean? Isn’t that same fear of loneliness what’s causing my friend to stay with her abusive boyfriend? And am I ever really alone?
I don’t doubt there will be moments during my vacation when I feel lame and left-out in this world geared for two, but in my friend Lina Abujamra’s words, I’ll use the bitter pill of loneliness during those times to press into the very heart of God.
Besides, there’s no avoiding the unannounced visit of loneliness—it sneaks up on the best of us—even when we’re surrounded by friends.
So I’m embracing this vacation as a retreat with God. I’ll bike and think and swim and read and explore and write and strike up conversations with strangers and get a tan and eat fresh fish from the ocean and prepare for next week’s speaking engagement and pray and write old-fashioned letters to people and sleep in and catch a sunrise and . . . above all, rest.
Call it lame to vacation alone; I call this pure gift.
How about you? Would you ever vacation alone? Eat out alone? Why or why not?
“I will never leave you nor forsake you” –God (Heb. 13:5).