Waiting On God

Waiting On God

My soul, wait silently for God alone,
For my expectation is from Him.

(Psalm 62:5)

I never used to be a patient person, and it was something God had to work with me on. If there was a problem, I wanted it resolved right now. If I had decided to work on a project, I wanted to get everything right now. If I decided to do something, I wanted to do it right now. If I asked my husband or daughter to do something for me, I wanted it done now, not 5 or 10 minutes later. I was even impatient when it came to meals. As a child, I wanted to eat and get it over with just so I could go out and play or go do what I wanted to do and according to my husband, it really hasn’t changed. Trust me when I say, the list goes on.

Sometimes doing something quickly is not a problem, such as running to a store when you decide to work on something because we all have the anticipation of completing that project. There are times it’s ok to eat quickly and go do what we need to do because we don’t always have the time desired to eat and enjoy our meal with the family. And sometimes it’s ok to want a problem to be resolved quickly especially when it can relieve a financial hardship or a dispute. But there are times when the quick way may not always be the best answer for us simply because we may not receive the best result, be able to handle what we want at this time, or it simply may not be right for us. If God realizes this then that means we must learn to realize it as well. There’s a reason we must sometimes wait for a healing, a resolution, an answer to our prayers or to get where we know we need to be. God sees much further down the road than we do. He knows what lies ahead and what must be done to receive that answer. We have to trust that He has our best interest at heart because His Word says it does:

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. (Jeremiah 29:11-12)

In Exodus 3:7-8 we see where God informed Moses that He has seen the oppression of the Israelites in Egypt and have heard their cry  because of their taskmasters. He knew their sorrow and has come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and sent Moses to speak to Pharaoh. In Exodus 13:17-18 when the Israelites were released from Egypt and left for the Promised Land that God was sending them to, God took them on a detour rather than have them take the shortest (or quickest) route to get to the Promised Land. There was a reason for this as we see in scripture:

17 When Pharaoh finally let the people go, God did not lead them along the main road that runs through Philistine territory, even though that was the shortest route to the Promised Land. God said, “If the people are faced with a battle, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” 18 So God led them in a roundabout way through the wilderness toward the Red Sea. Thus the Israelites left Egypt like an army ready for battle.

The Israelites couldn’t have anticipated what they would encounter up ahead if they had taken the shorter, easier route. They may have gotten to the Promised Land quicker and more easily taking the shorter route, but they would have ran into the Philistine army down the road and the Israelites weren’t prepared for that. Fear would have sent them running back to where they had come from…Egypt…which  was a place of bondage for them. So God had them take the longer route to protect them and give them time to gain more experience. God anticipated the problem of taking an easier way to the Promised Land, but the Israelites had not. How many times have we gotten upset over detours when traveling and grew impatient with a longer drive or waiting time when it’s quite possible the extended time it took for us to get to our destination was actually God protecting us from something harmful happening to us?

What happens in those times when we must wait on God to answer our prayers? God uses that time to increase our faith, learn and grow. He uses it to teach us patience and to have endurance through the difficult times. Just like a runner, we must condition ourselves to be able to gain endurance through the difficult times in our lives. This means we must be able to continue moving though we are tired, stressed and frustrated. It’s a time where He works on our faith and strengthens us. We must not allow ourselves to be lured into quitting because of negative thoughts and doubts or because it seems like it’s taking forever for an answer or to get to where we need to be. God is pruning and shaping us to receive the Fruit of the Spirit during our wait time because it is His character:

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! (Galatians 5:22-23)

He is teaching us patience and self-control (which are fruits of the Spirit) so the next time we go through a problem, we will better able to wait patiently for Him. He is increasing our faith day by day which will help us to remember the previous problems He got us through and we will know He can get us through the next problem.

We can’t give up and stop praying and seeking because we do not receive an answer or the help we need at the moment. We must be persistent until our prayers are answered. We must be like the persistent widow in Luke 18:1-5:

1One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up. “There was a judge in a certain city,” he said, “who neither feared God nor cared about people. A widow of that city came to him repeatedly, saying, ‘Give me justice in this dispute with my enemy.’ The judge ignored her for a while, but finally he said to himself, ‘I don’t fear God or care about people, but this woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!’”

Now look at Jesus’ response in verses 6-8:

Then the Lord said, “Learn a lesson from this unjust judge. Even he rendered a just decision in the end. So don’t you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will grant justice to them quickly! But when the Son of Man returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith?”

It’s very easy to retreat and run back to our old ways and habits in this waiting process. When we don’t see anything happening, the negative thoughts start to come, thoughts such as:

God doesn’t hear me or care about me/I’m too bad for Him to help

Maybe God needs me to do something first

Maybe I’m doing something wrong and God isn’t going to help me

The thoughts can be endless. This is where the enemy will take advantage of your weak moments and plant his negative seeds and at times make you think that you must do something yourself to make it happen. Yet this is where you must raise your shield of faith and remember that God has not forgotten you and He does care about you. He is just setting things up and waiting for the right time to answer your prayers or give you what you need. You must be like the persistent widow and continue to pray until you receive an answer. By doing so, God will give you what is best for you.

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. (1 John 5:14)

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (Romans 12:12)