My youngest doesn't like to wait. My husband and I often tell her that we're not sure which line she was in when God was handing out patience, but it clearly wasn't the patience line. When she wants something, she wants it now. We spend a lot of time reminding her that sometimes we have to wait for the things that we want.

I don't know anyone who likes to wait. I've never seen anyone look at a long line and break into celebration because they're going to have to wait. Our impatience often carries over in our requests to God. We want Him to answer our prayers in the way that we want -- right now. Yet, sometimes, God asks us to wait.

Those waiting times are important. When we wait on God, He can teach us things that we can't learn in any other way. He can teach us to temper our impatience. He can help us to learn that His way is always best. Waiting forces us to rely on God and not on ourselves. God uses the waiting times to mold us into the people that He needs us to be to carry out our purpose in His plan.

I'll be honest. I hate to wait, too. I always look for the shortest line at the grocery. I hate even the thought of having to go to the Department of Motor Vehicles because the lines there take half a day. I don't like to wait for answers. I'm even impatient when I have to wait for a book to come in at the library.

Yet when I look at my life, I see that it was in the waiting times that I relied on God the most. Waiting, especially when the answers are important, forces us to look to God for strength and answers. A child in the hospital, a job on the line or a dream in the works all make us impatient, yet many times put us in a situation where waiting is the only option with nowhere to turn but to God. It is in the waiting times that we are often broken and available to be used by God.

So, the next time you or your children have to wait, use the opportunity to remind them and you of the ways that God can use the waiting times.

  • The next time your child is waiting for something big -- a birthday party, a trip to the pool, a friend to come over -- and is impatient, remind her that waiting often makes the event seem that much better because we get the opportunity to anticipate the event. Waiting gives us the opportunity to plan and enjoy the time leading up to a big event.
  • When your child is waiting for something important -- test scores, acceptance into a camp, a call to tell them they made the team -- help her understand that waiting is a time to rely on God. Whether the answer is what we want to hear or not, God has a plan. When we rely on Him during the waiting, we're prepared for any answers because our strength comes from Him.
  • When your child is waiting on God for an answer to prayer, remind him that God hears us when we pray, but sometimes He asks us to wait. Psalm 38:15 says "LORD, I wait for you; you will answer, Lord my God." God's plan sometimes requires that we wait. Sometimes God wants to teach us patience. Sometimes He wants us to acknowledge that He is in control. And sometimes we need to wait simply because all the pieces aren't in place yet.
  • When your family is in a waiting mode, memorize Isaiah 40:31. "But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." Remind your family that waiting on God makes us strong.

Whatever it is that you or your family is waiting for, remember that God uses the waiting time to make us strong and teach us to rely on Him. Waiting may not be fun, but sometimes it is necessary.