When God Says, “Wait”
June 2024

Digital Only: Young Adults

When God Says, “Wait”

The waiting space can also be a sacred space.

different people standing in line and waiting

God is a God of miracles (see Mormon 9:11–15). I know that He hears and answers prayers—that He has the power to right any wrong, relieve any burden, and provide any blessing.

So when God says, “wait,” I haven’t always recognized it as an answer. I’ve often confused the word with silence and indifference. He can give me the help I need, so why doesn’t He?

There are so many reasons we may find ourselves waiting. Struggles with testimonies, dating, mental and physical health, family members, finances, and other hardships often leave us wondering how long we have to wait before God provides the relief we so desperately seek.

There was a time when I felt like my most earnest prayers were going unanswered. I felt like I was lacking direction and pleaded with God for answers and blessings. As time wore on, praying became harder as feelings of frustration and impatience built. It was exhausting.

I couldn’t help but ask, “What’s wrong with me?”

Renewed by His Strength

As I searched the scriptures for answers, I found that they teach about a type of waiting that’s different from what I was experiencing. The prophet Isaiah taught, “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 40:31).

Was it possible that I was waiting all wrong? I felt there must be more to waiting upon the Lord than just simply waiting.

As I pondered these words, the word “wait” suddenly took on a new meaning. Instead of silence, it sounded like the Spirit was saying, “Stay here with me for a minute.” What I thought was the Lord’s indifference suddenly transformed into an invitation to sit with Him and be renewed by His strength.

I thought of one of my favorite scriptures: “For the Lord shall comfort Zion, he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving and the voice of melody” (2 Nephi 8:3).

Waiting, to me, had always felt like being in a “desert” or a “waste place”—empty and tiring. All I thought I could do while in this “desert” was hope that one day God would finally give me the promised blessings I sought and lead me to a full and beautiful garden.

But these scriptures helped me realize that God has so much more power than I was giving Him credit for. He could make my “desert” a beautiful garden now, while I waited on Him. I started seeing this waiting period as a spiritual refuge as I prepared to receive whatever future blessings the Lord had in store for me.

Joy and Gladness

As I continued to ponder on 2 Nephi 8:3, the last sentence stood out to me: “Joy and gladness shall be found therein.” So where does this joy come from if not from immediately receiving the blessings we seek?

As President Russell M. Nelson recently taught:

“The joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives.

“When the focus of our lives is on God’s plan of salvation … and Jesus Christ and His gospel, we can feel joy regardless of what is happening—or not happening—in our lives. Joy comes from and because of Him. He is the source of all joy.”

Shifting my focus away from what I felt I lacked and toward the Savior has created a space where joy and gladness feel abundant in my life.

I’ve noticed I feel the Savior’s joy more clearly as I strive to build on the things in my life that uplift me. For me, this looks like creating deeper connections with family members and friends, serving in the temple, learning new skills, and going to my favorite Wednesday-night yoga class.

I also learned that because of Christ, God’s promises to us are assured. That, in and of itself, is a reason to rejoice.

Gratitude Transforms the Waiting

I’ve found that gratitude is essential in transforming my waiting space from a desert into a garden. There is a healing power in being grateful for all the blessings I do have, but I’ve also especially found a deep sense of gratitude for the things that I don’t have yet and the time I’m spending deepening my faith in the Lord as I wait.

Elder Neal A. Maxwell (1926–2004) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught, “Patience helps us to use, rather than to protest, these seeming flat periods of life, becoming filled with quiet wonder over the past and with anticipation for that which may lie ahead.

Waiting gives us the opportunity to sit with God, learn more of Him, see more of His hand, feel more of His love, hear more of His voice, and ultimately receive more of His abundance. As I look back on times I felt like God was making me wait, I see the abundance of spiritual treasures He offered me. I see loving and supportive friends, priceless moments of comfort and revelation, lessons about the security and power of keeping sacred covenants, and a deeper connection to my Savior, Jesus Christ.

As I practice waiting on the Lord rather than just waiting, I know that He will continue to make my life into a garden more beautiful than I can imagine.


  1. Russell M. Nelson, “Joy and Spiritual Survival,” Liahona, Nov. 2016, 82.

  2. Neal A. Maxwell, “Patience” (Brigham Young University devotional, Nov. 27, 1979), 3,