Here are 3 signs that often mean God is telling you to stop waiting.
1. If You Are Waiting for the Perfect Time, God Is Probably Telling You to Stop Waiting
Young people don’t try things because they don’t feel old enough. Older people don’t try things because they don’t feel young enough. The only people who ever try are those who stop waiting for the perfect time.
I’m often reminded of what C.S. Lewis said to a group of students at Oxford during the beginning of World War II. It was obviously a very difficult time to focus on learning, but he said:
There are always plenty of rivals to our work. We are always falling in love or quarreling, looking for jobs or fearing to lose them, getting ill and recovering, following public affairs. If we let ourselves, we shall always be waiting for some distraction or other to end before we can really get down to our work. The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly that they seek it while the conditions are still unfavorable. Favorable conditions never come.”1
Of course, in one sense, we must always be waiting on the Lord. We are always waiting for his return (Philippians 3:20), waiting for him to produce the results we desire (Psalm 37:4-6), and waiting on him to tell us what to do (Proverbs 3:5-6). But God never tells us to wait until everything is perfect. In fact, throughout the Bible it is clearly taught that this world will never have anything perfect in it because of the deadly effects of sin (Romans 8:20-22, Ephesians 5:15-16). Notice what James 4:13-17 states:
Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’ As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”
Here we have the biblical balance we need. We must submit to God and know that his will is always done and not ours, and so in that sense we must wait for him. But if we say, “One day the perfect time will come and then we will make a decision and act,” we are in a sense boasting about tomorrow, and that is wrong.
Rather, when we know something is good to do, we should do it right now, because if we don’t, that is sin.
2. If You Are Waiting for Something You Are Not Working Towards, God Is Probably Telling You to Stop Waiting and Start Working
You can wait in a sinful, fearful way. And you can work in a sinful, prideful way. But biblical waiting is always coupled with biblical working. When we wait on the Lord properly, we will trust the results to him while we also do what we can to accomplish the Lord’s will in the ways that he has called us to. In that same speech I referenced earlier, C.S. Lewis also said:
Never, in peace or war, commit your virtue or your happiness to the future. Happy work is best done by the man who takes his long-term plans somewhat lightly and works from moment to moment ‘as to the Lord.’ It is only our daily bread that we are encouraged to ask for. The present is the only time in which any duty can be done or any grace received.”2
If you want something good like marriage, a new job, better health, or more ministry impact, work towards these things while submitting to the truth that the final results depend on God (James 1:17, 1 Timothy 6:17-19, 1 Corinthians 3:7).
3. If Your Waiting Is Resulting in You Missing Out on What God Is Sending, You Should Stop Waiting
Biblical waiting will result in receiving the biblical promise attached to the command to wait. For example, Isaiah 40:31 famously states, “ . . . 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.” If you are waiting and you are being weakened, you are being lowered, and you are growing weary as you run, then you are not waiting on the Lord in the biblical sense.
Waiting on the Lord is always worthwhile, it always produces good fruit, and it always results in life and not death. If your waiting is causing you to miss out on biblical things God wants for you in your life, then God is saying, “Stop this type of waiting.”