I recently heard worship artist Elyssa Smith discuss the growing season with God on “The Handlebar Podcast”. In the episode, she responds to a listener-submitted question about how to navigate being in the “waiting season”. Elyssa proposes that this listener is not in a waiting season, but a growing one.
So what’s the difference?
A waiting season, she explains, is one that is passive. But as believers, we know that our faith is active.
“For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.” (James 2:26)
So when we are waiting for a miracle, promise, or breakthrough, really we are positioned to grow with God. The distinction of passively waiting and actively growing is important, because it reminds us of the purpose of our faith. We aren’t here on the earth by happen-stance. God has divine purpose and destiny in our present moments. With this knowledge, we can live each day by the Holy Spirit’s guiding instruction, despite what promises we feel we are “waiting on”. Our ultimate purpose was never about the promises, anyway. Our ultimate purpose is in union with the Living God.
Waiting vs growing
The word of God is filled with scripture about waiting on the Lord. From these, we know that our growing season possess divine purpose and invitation. Growing seasons invite us into intimacy with Jesus. Because while we wait on healing, breakthrough, or transformation, we have a choice. We get to choose connection, vulnerability, and intimacy with Jesus. There is limitless opportunity for honesty before the Lord. The kind of honesty David writes with in the Psalms. Maybe more importantly, growing seasons with God remind us of our ultimate purpose: we are waiting for the second coming of Jesus. We are waiting for complete restoration, face to face with our lover and king.
What the word of God says about waiting
“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” (Psalm 27:14)
“But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.” (Micah 7:7)
“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.” (Isaiah 40:31)
“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!” (Psalm 27:13-14)
“Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” (James 5:7-8)
He’s right in the middle. Of the mess, the heartache, the anticipation. If you’ve felt like you’re in a waiting season, remember to keep your eyes on Jesus! At the end of it all, He is our prize. Not the anointing or testimony, but God alone. If the focus of our hearts fixate on where we want to be, instead of our present, we can readily miss what Jesus is saying inside of us now. Perhaps instead of asking, “God, when will this season end?” we could question, “God, how am I meant to be growing, even in this time?”
Evaluating where God is pruning you, refining you, and strengthening you builds gratitude and purpose. Ephesians 5 discusses Christ washing us (as His bride) so that we may be presented “as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless” (Ephesians 5:27). We are being made Holy in our growing.
The framework of our entire lives is built upon our intimacy with Jesus. It isn’t about the accomplishments or promises fulfilled, it’s about Him. Being one with Jesus, living life alongside Him as our helper, teaches us dependence on God.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
The destiny of David did not come alive over night. He was anointed king, but immediately sent back to continue caring for his flocks. You too, may have vision for your future life. You may be aware of the accomplishments and things meant to be attained while on the earth. These things aren’t bad. But if they have become the idol on which you are living for, you’ve taken your eyes off of the one who created you for these purposes.
5 prayers and bible verses for your growing season
God, open my eyes to see my eternal purpose in you.
- “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
Help my spirit come alive with our union together.
- “But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.” (1 Corinthians 6:17)
Restore the disappointments of my heart with your steadfast hope.
- “We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain,” (Hebrews 6:19)
Remind me of my first love with you.
- “We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)
Teach me to remain in you, like the vine and the vinedresser.
- “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” (John 15:1-2)
A prayer for you
Thank you God for the wonderful way you created this reader as your child. Thank you for the spirit of adoption which places all people within your embrace. Fill their hearts with the joy of connection with you. Strengthen the union and restore your place in their hearts as first love. Remind us as your children, the hope of growing closer and closer in our oneness with you.
“I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
and put their trust in him.” (Psalm 40:1-3)