By Kate Ritchie
We are raising children in a time where it has never been easier to google knowledge, build an online platform overnight, and be inundated with get-rich-quick business models. Wisdom and years have taught most adults that usually, this is not how life works. Things that matter often take time, sweat, tears, and years of effort. But I often worry what this illusion of simply “hitting the jackpot” on riches, fame, and fortune has on our children growing up in today’s culture that seems to devalue the mundane and ordinary.
The Bible has many important themes running through it. One of those themes is waiting on the Lord (read verses here). The idea of waiting pushes against the human impulse towards immediate gratification. Waiting is the act of long obedience to God while trusting in his promises. The reward of waiting is in the process.
I hope to teach through family discipleship the significance of delayed gratification by walking with my children as they wait on the Lord. As a parent, I know waiting on things that matter in life changes a person’s perspective, wisdom, and gratitude. More than that, I long for my children to walk through life in a trusting relationship with Jesus. The prize of waiting on Jesus is that we get Jesus and the opportunity to see how worthy of trust he is. What a beautiful thing it is to see the faithfulness and power of the God we serve!
Isaiah 40:28-31a says,
Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted, 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.
Two things to teach your kids when they are learning to wait:
1. God does not grow faint or weary. He promises to give power and strength to those who trust in him.
When your children face a challenging road, a problem that is not a quick fix, or a difficult situation, remind them of who God is. Our God is everlasting. He created the world. He never grows tired or weary. He does not grow tired from our coming to him in prayer with our problems. His wisdom and understanding are complete and unsearchable. He is God, and he loves you.
God provides security and peace for our children in Christ that we could never offer as parents. It is natural to want to keep our kids protected from hard things. It’s natural to want to be the fixer of their problems. But the reality is we cannot and should not always swoop in to fix each hardship they face. However, we can teach our children who God is and model what it is like to wait on him. When we do this, we are giving them lifelong tools for trusting in God that outlast our lives and abilities to intervene.
2. We need to teach our kids that their strength, energy, and wisdom are limited but that God will renew those who wait on him.
More and more, our society values over-working, over-extending, and self-sufficiency. The problem is that those values are a lie. We will all have times where we grow weary, run out of resources in our strength, and struggle to know what is right no matter how much knowledge we accumulate. In these moments, we can emphasize how this points us to our need for Christ. When we could not save ourselves, Christ died for us. This is the very heart of the Gospel.
The Apostle Paul, in his writings in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 says that he is content in his weaknesses because when he is weak, Christ is strong. It takes humility to acknowledge that you don’t have what it takes. But in humble acknowledgment of our need for Christ, God can be glorified. When we know our limits as humans, we can see the glory of the God we worship.
Here is an exercise to do with your child who is actively waiting on the Lord:
Imagine what it is like to wait on a person. When I’m waiting for someone:
- I’m convinced that they will come.
- I’m attentive to any sound that they are here.
- I’m thinking about them.
- I’m thinking ahead about what it will be like when they get there.
- I imagine myself in that future.
Intentionally apply these categories to waiting on Jesus! Discuss and explore these concepts in scripture as a family as you learn to wait on the Lord together!
- Are you convinced that God will come through for you? How has he in the past? Where do we see him do this in the Bible for his people?
- Are you attentive to the voice of God through his Word and prayer?
- Are you fixing your mind on Jesus in moments of hardship? Are you distracted?
- Are you meditating on the character of God?
- Are you thanking him for the ways he has been faithful in the past?
- Is your hope set on the day when Jesus will return and make all things new?
As Hebrews 10:23-24 says,
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Finally, those who are waiting are not actively doing anything. You’re in a state of being, waiting, trusting, hoping, and being ready. The other person is working in the situation when you are unable. Jesus has done all the work of your redemption, and he will make all things new in this world. Jesus works when we are weary, faint, and exhausted. He is asking us to attentively wait on him.
So may we, as Christian families, teach our children to wait with hope in the God we serve! For he who promised is faithful (Heb 10:21)!