One friend is waiting to find the right house to buy. A teenage family member is praying for college funding. Another is applying for jobs, but none have panned out yet. Another friend is waiting for God’s direction regarding a relationship, and a couple longs for their first baby. You’re probably waiting on a thing or two from God, yourself. It’s said that a watched pot never boils. Watching someone watch a pot is hard, too. But there are things you can do to help your loved one wait. Waiting with someone is better than waiting alone!
7 Ways to Encourage Others While They Wait
1. Check in regularly. Sometimes people will voice their frustration and struggle with patience. Other times they sense that other people have heard too many updates for too long and don’t want to hear anymore. Galatians 6:2 says, “Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Your interest, alone, can be encouraging.
Trusting God and waiting on Him are part of the process of becoming more Christlike and receiving the blessings of being His child. It’s important to ask one another how we are doing and encourage each other with testimonies of His faithfulness and promises in Scripture.
Discouragement can make us blind to whatever good things have happened.
3. Give generously. Many times waiting involves financial matters and provision. Joblessness, raising support for missionaries, and acquiring money for college or better living arrangements all involve money. God always blesses giving. It can be encouraging to receive a monetary gift, even if it’s symbolic and doesn’t change the present situation. Gifts of groceries or gift cards also encourage people and remind them that they are not forgotten.
James 2:15-16 puts it practically; “If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,’and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?” We aren’t supposed to just shrug and not act. The Holy Spirit is faithful to guide us regarding the extent to which we should give.
Don’t let people forget to live in the present as they wait for future things to come.
5. Affirm and validate them sincerely. Waiting is hard. Patience is a trait that can be difficult and painful to develop. People don’t always encourage one another while they wait. Instead, with good intentions, they may actually sabotage the waiting process. They may things like, “Maybe you’re missing God on this,” or “Maybe God wants you to do something easier, instead.” People can discourage our patience. We should do the opposite, praising patience and trust in our Father.
We need to trust that our friends can hear God speaking to them about their lives better than we can. It’s important to trust in their hearing and support them in their wait. We also need to encourage them and build them up for their trust. Isaiah 55:11 says;
“So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”
The enemy frequently will work harder to get us to quit as we approach an unseen finish line.
7. Proclaim God’s goodness confidently. Disappointment can cause us to doubt God’s fatherly goodness to us. I Thessalonians 5:11 says, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up,” because, in fact, we all get discouraged! Many of us need to be reminded that we are loved by God, that He is faithful, and that He tells us again and again in Scripture to wait on Him. (See Psalm 27:14, Isaiah 40:31 and Psalm 130:5-8, for example.) This is because He is at work, always, on our behalf. He’s faithful and has good things for us.
It’s an honor and a privilege to encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ while we wait. The amazing thing is that they are told to do the same when we are in need! We need to lovingly pay attention to what’s going on in other people’s lives so that we can be there to love and help them in Jesus’ name. Care. No one should ever cross a finish line without having someone there waiting for them, someone who knew they’d make it, and ran along side them. Much joy comes when we can together celebrate God’s faithfulness, and give Him His due glory!