At some point in our lives, all of us spend time in what I call “the waiting place.” You might be waiting for a break, a chance, an answer, a blessing. And it seems like your entire life hinges upon receiving that one essential thing that you’re wanting. It feels nearly impossible to progress without it.
I’ve been in the waiting place before. When I was in my early 20s, I watched my friends, one by one, hit big life milestones—graduating from college, getting married, having kids, starting careers. And I couldn’t help but feel like I was getting left behind. Like everyone else had boarded the bus of life, but I’d somehow missed it. And I had no idea if it was ever going to come back for me.
My life didn’t look the way I had always pictured when I read my patriarchal blessing. Some things had gone according to plan, but other things hadn’t. I didn’t understand why my life wasn’t working out the way I wanted. I had always tried to do the right thing. I read my scriptures, attended church, kept the commandments, and tried my best to do all that the Lord has asked us to. But it often seemed like the blessings I longed for would never come.
The waiting place can be a dreary home, and it didn’t take long for the gloom to sink in. Every day I pleaded with the Lord to grant me my righteous desires. I felt stuck. Stagnant. Helpless.
But whenever I felt my hope slipping, I made a topical study of it. I read scripture after scripture containing words like hope, wait, and patience. The more I searched, the more uplifted I felt by the examples and promises I found:
“They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles” (Isaiah 40:31).
“Bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success” (Alma 26:27).
“Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart” (Psalm 27:14).
“Thou shalt know that I am the Lord: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me” (Isaiah 49:23).
As I studied, my attitude changed. I began to see how waiting could strengthen me if I approached the Lord with patience and faith. The verse that had the biggest impact on me was 2 Nephi 6:13: “The people of the Lord are they who wait for him.”
I realized that the Lord is constantly waiting for me. He’s waiting for me to see a problem, admit a wrong, swallow my pride, get on my knees, do the right thing. He’s infinitely patient with me, even when I don’t deserve it. He waits for me every day.
And I decided that I would wait for Him too.
I learned that the waiting place doesn’t have to be a gloomy or useless place. With an eternal perspective, it can become a place of joy and hope. We can choose to accept our time of waiting as a blessing from a loving God and use that time to develop ourselves, draw closer to Him, and prepare for future blessings. If we rely on the Lord, He can help us turn the waiting place into the growing place.
The scriptures instruct us to pray that the Lord “will consecrate [our] performance unto [us], that [our] performance may be for the welfare of [our] soul” (2 Nephi 32:9). We can pray for the Lord to consecrate our times of waiting for the welfare of our soul too. We can ask ourselves: What can I learn from this experience? How can this help me grow? How can I do better? Where can I do more good?
Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught: “During this life, we sometimes wait upon the Lord. We may not yet be where we hope and wish to be in the future. A devout sister says, ‘Waiting faithfully upon the Lord for His blessings is a holy position. It must not be met with pity, patronizing, or judgment but instead with sacred honor.’ In the meantime, we live now, not waiting for life to begin.”1
And he’s right! Although life continues to move along, in many ways I’m still in the waiting place, like so many of us are. And I still get discouraged sometimes. But I believe that no matter what blessings come or don’t come, I can still grow and find joy in my journey. Maybe not all the promises in my patriarchal blessing will be fulfilled in this life. But I know that Heavenly Father will still provide me with what I need to become the person He wants me to be. I may be waiting, but I do not wait alone. The Savior is beside me, and “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).