Teaching Young Bible Students to Wait (on God)

When you were younger, do you ever remember saying, “I can’t wait until…”. If I’m totally transparent, I still say it more than I probably should. What does “I can’t wait until” imply when your young Bible students say it? Probably, that they aren’t too thrilled with some aspect (or all) of their lives at the moment and that they know in the future it will be better. Which sounds hopeful on the surface, but can be problematic in several ways.

Not wanting to wait, means they can become content with being discontent. They’re pushing contentment into the future when everything is “fixed”, robbing them of the joy available to them now. Waiting for contentment and godly joy is also an issue, because as you and I know, the future has its own set of problems. (Remember telling your parents you couldn’t wait to work like they did instead of going to school because at least they got money for being annoyed? How did that work out for you as an adult on a daily basis?!)

The biggest problem, however, is that by not wanting to wait, they can seriously interfere with God’s perfect timing. There are many reasons why God may want them to wait on Him for something. They can be sure that whatever the reason, it is definitely because God loves them and knows what is best for them long term.

So what might that look like IRL (in real life)? Perhaps you are working with a teen who can’t wait to get married. So instead of praying and waiting for God to bring the godly, Christian spouse she really wants and needs, she dates guys she knows would not make good husbands because they are there at the moment or sleeps with them in hopes one of them will fall in love and propose. That road of forcing her timing instead of waiting on God can cause all sorts of temporary and lifelong consequences and may even prevent her from meeting the man God had planned for her to marry.

Unfortunately, even Christians can accidentally push young people to force their timing instead of waiting on God. There are lots of platitudes said to young people that sound godly, but ultimately aren’t. “You can do anything you put your mind to do.” “You just need to settle and stop being so picky.” “What are you waiting for?” “God doesn’t care what choices you make, as long as they aren’t sinful (implying that God, who cares enough to know the number of hairs on your head, has no opinion on where you should get an education or work or to whom you should get married).”

Instead, we need to point them to scriptures that will help them make wise choices. We need to teach them to cover decisions in prayers. We need to help them understand how God uses circumstances, scripture, people and the Holy Spirit to help us know the choices He wants us to make. Most importantly, we need to encourage patience and making good choices while waiting. Talk with them about healthy, godly things they can do to pass the time and lessen the angst when God asks them to wait. Because waiting on God’s perfect timing is always for the best.

Categories Bible, Culture, Elementary, Faith Based Academic Program, Mentoring, Teens
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