How To Wait On The Lord When Life Hurts (In 2023)

It’s hard to wait on the Lord. We want to see the Lord answer our prayers now. We want God to provide for our finances. To heal us from illness. To mend a broken relationship.

Waiting on God is hard, but the Bible tells us that, even during hard times, we can be sure that God is working.

What Does It Mean To Wait On The Lord?

To wait on the Lord means to wait patiently, in faith, for God to fulfill His promises. Instead of taking things into our own hands, we trust in the goodness of the Lord.

Waiting on God is not a passive thing. Biblical waiting is, and this sounds like an oxymoron, full of action. Scriptures calls us to fill our waiting moments with specific, God-glorifying activities.

In the Bible, we see many stories and Bible verses about waiting

  • “But for you, O LORD, do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer” – (Psalm 38:15)
  • “Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!” – (Psalm 27:14)
  • “But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.” – Micah 7:7

Abraham waited for a son, Joseph waited for deliverance, David waited to be made king, Israel waited for a Messiah, and we all wait for the return of the serpent crusher. You might say that the entire narrative of scripture is one of waiting.

We can wait on the Lord through prayer, as David did in eager expectation of deliverance (Psalm 27:7–14).

How Do We Wait For The Lord?

1. We wait in faith

“Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” – (Hebrews 11:6)

Waiting in faith means firmly believing that God is going to fulfill his promises. He will deliver us from our struggles when the time is right. When that happens we’ll rejoice in his goodness, but until then, we wait in faith.

2. Waiting for God with hope

“But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.” – (Micah 7:7)

When we wait with hope, we’re confident that God is good and that he will come through for us. Even when things are tough, we have the sure hope that God is going to work everything out for our good.

3. Waiting on the Lord in prayer

“Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.” – (Psalm 27:14)

When we pray, we’re telling God that we trust him and his timing. We’re asking him to help us be patient as we wait for his answer. And when we wait for God prayerfully, God will strengthen our hearts.

4. Giving thanks to God

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” – (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

When we’re thankful, it shows that we trust God. We’re thankful for what he has done, and we’re confident that he’s going to do even more. So even as we wait, we give thanks.

5. With perseverance even in hard times

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” – (Isaiah 40:3)

When we persevere, it shows that we’re committed to waiting on the Lord. We’re not going to give up, even when things are tough. We’re going to keep trusting God, because we know that he is faithful.

6. We wait on the Lord with good deeds

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” – (Galatians 6:9)

When we do good deeds, it shows that we’re still serving God even as we wait. We know that he has called us to love others, and so we do good deeds in his name. We don’t sit on the sidelines, refusing to serve God until he gives us what we want.

7. By being still before the Lord

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” – (Psalm 46:10)

When we’re still before the Lord, it shows that we know he is in control. The temptation is to take action ourselves and try to make things happen. Instead, we must trust him, even when things are uncertain. We rest in his presence, knowing that he will work everything out in his perfect timing.

8. We wait on God patiently

“But the LORD is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.” – (2 Thessalonians 3:3)

When we’re patient, it shows that we trust God’s character. We know that he is good and that he always keeps his promises. God will act on our behalf exactly at the right time. Not a moment too soon or late. God’s job is to act, our job is to trust him to do that.

9. Reading and believing God’s word

“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” – (Psalm 119:105)

When we read and study God’s word, it shows that we’re waiting on the Lord. We’re not trying to figure things out on our own. Instead, we rely on God’s wisdom. We look to his word for guidance and comfort. When we read and believe God’s word, it shows that we’re putting our trust in him. And as we meditate on his word, our faith will grow stronger.

10. By repenting of our sin

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” – (1 John 1:9)

When we repent of our sin, it shows that we’re turning away from things that will hurt us. We’re turning back to God, and we’re trusting him to forgive us. As we repent of our sin, God will work in our hearts and change us. And we will grow closer to him as we wait on the Lord.

11. Praise the Lord while we wait on him

“Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!” – (Psalm 150:6)

Praising the Lord while we wait shows that we’re still trusting him even though we don’t yet see his hand at work. We know that he is good, and we praise him for who he is. As we praise the Lord, our faith will grow stronger, and we will be able to wait on him more patiently.

Bible Verses About Waiting On The Lord

  1. Psalm 27:14 – Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.
  2. 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.
  3. Psalm 27:13-14 – I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
  4. Micah 7:7 – But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.
  5. Lamentations 3:25-26 – The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
  6. Isaiah 64:4 – Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.
  7. Psalm 130:5-6 – I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.
  8. Isaiah 30:18 – Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!
  9. Lamentations 3:25 – The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.
  10. Isaiah 30:18 – 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.

FAQ About Waiting On God

Why does God make us wait for him?

God often makes us wait because he wants to teach us patience and trust. He also wants to work in our hearts and change us. As we wait on the Lord, our faith will grow stronger, and we will be able to rely on him more.

How long should I wait on God?

There is no set amount of time that you should wait on God. Sometimes he will answer our prayers right away, and other times we may not see an answer for months, or even years. But we can be confident that he will answer us in his perfect timing.

What should I do while I’m waiting on God?

While you’re waiting on God, you can continue to seek him. Read his word and meditate on it. Pray and ask him to help you grow in your faith. Repent of your sin, and praise the Lord for who he is. And wait patiently, knowing that he loves you and will give you exactly what you need when you need it.

What are examples from the Bible about waiting for the Lord? 

There are many examples of people waiting on the Lord in the Bible. Abraham waited for years to have a son. Joseph waited many years to be reunited with his brothers. Moses waited 40 years in the desert before he led the Israelites out of Egypt. And Jesus himself waited 30 years before he began his public ministry. In all of these cases, the Lord was faithful to his promises, and he worked in their lives as they waited.

How do I know if God is telling me to wait?

Sometimes it can be difficult to know if God is telling us to wait or if we’re just being impatient. But a good way to know is to ask him for wisdom (James 1:5). Ask him to help you to trust him and to wait patiently. And if you’re still not sure, ask a godly friend or pastor for their opinion.

Hey, I'm Stephen Altrogge. I'm a dad and published author. I've written for The Gospel Coalition, Desiring God, ERLC, Church Leaders, Crosswalk, and many more outlets. You can follow me on Instagram and Facebook .

44 thoughts on “How To Wait On The Lord When Life Hurts (In 2023)”

  1. Back on April 10th of this year I was arrested, when the day came for a bond reduction
    hearing, my lawyer waived the bond reduction, as she knew that I was unable to afford
    the bond for $75,000, so it was sit in jail, but I asked her to go back to court and ask for
    a bond reduction hearing, in June we got a new hearing and I received a bond that I could
    afford and was released, I went back to court in February and the charge was dismissed.
    The point of the whole matter is this, during the whole 108 days that I was incarcerated I
    prayed Acts 16:25-26, guess what I got my earthquake and not only was I released, in the
    end my charge was dismissed. Is it worth waiting on God? YES!!!!!! In all things wait on
    God to give you the answer that He want, not the answer that you want. Thank you Steven
    for your blogs, they are very informative and to the point and most always just what I’m
    needing to hear at the time. GOD BLESS RON

  2. Very instructive and practical way to follow as waiting for the Lord will ultimately reward all who wait on the Lord boldly and loudly, faithfully, patiently, dependently.

  3. Thank you, Stephen. My husband and I have gone through a particularly tough year with medical issues in our family and ministry issues. He has used you very powerfully in my life this to grow me and encourage me when I’ve felt like giving up. Thank you for being faithful in continually pointing us back to scripture and to Christ.

  4. LOL you sound like my 24 he old son, about star wars at least. I’ve been following a teacher who may suspect causes of insidious depression. I’ve enjoyed your blog, wish you blessings. It looks like what I imagined I wanted to start but am not disciplined enough.

  5. I’m reminded to build upon the times God has delivered me. We do not offend God when we cry out to Him and say , ” COME TODAY, rescue us, deliver us, heal us, protect our children, bring them back to You, restore our finances”

  6. Really good read Stephan. God has certainly used your struggles to cause you to pen truth for others. Thank you for serving Him.

  7. I have been learning to wait on the Lord. My transmission went out at the end of June. I had a small pickup to use locally, but was waiting on God to see if I should fix it or buy something else. Yes, it’s been 9 months, but He began to tell me to fix it. A man from church offered me the money and the fix is on the way. I know God was teaching me to wait. Seems it was harder for my friends than for me. Your message is a great reminder to me that I need and will save. Thank you.

  8. I’m in the middle of a waiting period right now. One issue is being dealt with right now and the others are in the future……how much in the future is unknown. The ones in the future are potentially much more difficult and could go in any direction. Ultimately, God will determine the direction and provision.

    This scripture came to mind,
    “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.”. Isaiah 30:15 NIV

    Thank you for your post.
    Blessings, Virginia

  9. That was so powerful and i need to practices this. May God bless so and continue to encourage us with this type of the word.

  10. Great stuff Stephen and particularly for me now cos i’ve been waiting for a long time for God to sort certain things in my life.
    Thing is I think that the key word in all these periods of waiting and trials is surrender. I spent too long saying ” Lord i’m in trouble could you do this and that” , kinda telling him how to fix the problem! Now I just say “Lord help me but in your way. Your will be done” And we therefore have to wait for his perfect timing. Reading your post makes me feel less alone when i’m waiting.
    Oh and by the way. I’m from England and hadn’t heard of Matt Foley. Just watched it on youtube. Thanks for making me laugh as well.

  11. I shared your post on my Facebook, I recently ran across some things you have written and they have been divinely timed, love affirmation like this! Loved the encouragement.

  12. Stephen, I am so thankful for your words here, and for the comments above (Ronald Wendt, yours in particular). I’ve been married 21 years and came to faith after having the first of our five children, twin boys who are now 19. My atheist husband and I have struggled in our marriage for many years now. Everything exploded last month when he was arrested and jailed for assaulting our 17-year-old daughter and making terroristic threats. A homeschooling family, we now have no income and the future is uncertain. The Lord has gently and patiently told me over and over to wait, and to “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43: 18-19) I am hearing crazy and amazing things from friends who have reached out to my husband, words like “conviction” and “God has orchestrated this” coming from him, and learning that he is attending prayer groups at the prison. Time will tell if these are empty words from a desperate man, or an honest acknowledgement of a sovereign God that will lead to repentance and surrender.
    I have prayed for the Lord to help me to wait well. Your words written here are part of the answer to that prayer, a great help, practical and tangible advice I can choose every day. Thank you so much for writing them.
    By the way, I too suffer from depression. I am praying that the Lord will lift you up, just as He has lifted me, and fill you with peace, joy, and hope as you wait in the circumstances He has allowed for you. God bless you richly, beloved brother.

    • Hi Sandy,

      I identify with your experience and the Lord certainly showed His sovereign grace to me and my family. I pray He manifested Himself in that circumstance to you and your family. I pray your husband is a genuine Godly Christian man-husband-father walking with the Lord now; hungering His Word and applying it to His life. May God bless your continued efforts and equip you to keep waiting on Him day-by-day!

  13. Stephen,
    How do you do what you are doing? You break through walls of depression (yours, other’s, mine) with the power of your written words of truth. You are actually doing what you know you should be doing. How do you do that? I’m still refusing to do the housework, praying, having people for dinner, being a friend, etc. that I should be doing. I wallow in despair of not doing more for the Lord’s sake. How do you do what you are doing? You have encouraged me to wait, to renew my mind by the washing of the word, and to ACCEPT that truly I am set free from depression by the cup of the new covenant; there is new life in the blood and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I belong to God, it is early in the morning, this is the day I shake off the bands of unworthiness. He calls me by name. Yes, take courage, dear heart. Stephen, you do what you are doing because you are an overcomer, you are God’s, you do it because you are walking in God’s Spirit — accept it, mighty man of God.

  14. This is helpful; thank you! My recent experience has affirmed these truths. I wrestle with bipolar disorder and anxiety, and I’ve been at the brink of suicide several times since Christmas. I was praying a lot and pleading for deliverance, but I wasn’t in the Word as much as I should have been. God led me to three scriptures that have helped me tremendously:

    “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7) (KJV)

    “If the Lord had not been my help, my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence. When I thought, ‘My foot slips,’ your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up. When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.” (Psalm 94:17-19) (ESV)

    “…our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (I Corinthians 1:7-9) (ESV)

    I hope others will find hope in these promises as well.

  15. Thank you so much this article is very very blessed it build my faith in Christ Jesus our Lord and Saviour! I needed to read this! I am a divorced mother with 3 beautifull daugthers and i am the only breadwinner and trust the Lord for a miracle a breakthrough in my situation i thank the Lord Jesus that He is my Husband and my Provider!!!

  16. Wow… the waiting is so hard. How do you know when to do nothing and just wait… and when do you “pray and actively make decisions” trusting the Lord and His promises? …in the context of a business decision? Doing nothing… the waiting has caused my business to be at the brink of complete destruction. Sooo lost.

  17. Today we vote, although I voted early. It is hard to wait to see what God is going to bring out of all the fighting in our nation. I have to constantly guard against angry feelings and judgments, to see others who have a different opinion from me as a person whom God also made. He’s really teaching me that HE is in control, even if I can’t see it.

  18. Nicely done, Stephen! I appreciate your words and even encouragement. Waiting IS hard, but I can’t think of anywhere I would rather be than in God’s hands!

  19. That was absolutely brilliant and spot on!! You described the waiting season perfectly. Thankyou for the tremendous encouragement!!


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