Have you ever desired something so badly it hurt? Have you ever prayed the same prayer a hundred, maybe even a thousand times, and still nothing? Have you ever needed God to show his hand, and no matter how many weeks, months, or years passed it still wasn’t visible?
Have you ever been in a period of waiting on the Lord?
I can relate. I have prayed prayers that turned to pleas that morphed into desperate begs of God. I have been brought to my hands and knees multiple times, and still, God made me wait.
Waiting for anything in our culture is seen as an inconvenience, annoyance, and a downright frustration. If it takes longer than three minutes in a McDonald’s drive through, people get upset. We want insta-everything, whether we’re making Minute Rice or using strategic analysis to determine the shortest line to pay for groceries.
The word “wait” is used 129 times throughout the Bible. God’s Word contains story after story of people waiting on Him for desires, wants, and needs. Noah waited for God to reveal dry land. The Israelites waited to inherit the land God has promised to them. The disciples earnestly waited to see Jesus following his death and resurrection before his ascension.
God knows waiting provides an incredible growth opportunity for our character and relationship with Him. As much as it is uncomfortable, frustrating, and, at times, disheartening, maybe God’s trying to develop you in one or more of these areas:
I am a planner, an anticipator, a scope and sequence person. Does something need to get done? I’m on it. We’re committing to a gigantic project and it’s only a couple months (or weeks) away? No worries. This is all fine and dandy until I realize God doesn’t operate the way I do.
Isaiah 55:8-9 says, “’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’”
God doesn’t think the way I think, and His ways are far greater than mine. When God makes me wait for something, He reminds me that his feet rest on the earth, and although He has incredible plans and a purpose for my life, I am a minuscule portion of how His big picture fits together.
God wants you and me to trust Him with every fiber of our being. He’s wondering if you’ll trust Him while you wait, and when or if your prayers are answered.
I completely despise long distance running. Okay, that’s not totally true. I despise any distance of running. My short Simmons legs get tired and I don’t know how to properly breathe. This causes a massive hitch in my giddy-up if you know what I mean. If at some point I decide to start running, it’s going to be quite a process filled with inevitable pain. No pain, no gain, right?
Maybe God’s got you on a marathon, and He is developing your endurance first before “showing up” in your situation. He wants to find out whether or not you plan on pushing through, no matter how painful it is when passing each mile marker.
Hebrews 12:2 talks about the joy set before Christ that enabled him to endure the cross. Maybe, if for no other reason, you need to be reminded of the steadfast joy that is Christ crucified for your sin. It helps put your waiting into perspective and should help you roll your shoulders back as you endure the present.
Many of us want the success without the sweat. We want deliverance without the delay. We have to remember, though, what a beautiful gift it is to persevere.
James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
I want to be mature and complete and not lacking in anything. How do I get there? By persevering. By not giving up even when I have to wait. By putting in the sweat before I achieve the success. By being okay with the delay when I haven’t experienced the deliverance.
Here’s my challenge to you: don’t waste the wait.
Jenni has been in youth ministry for 7 years and is an 8th-grade science teacher in Sioux Falls, SD.
© 2016, Never The Same