Waiting can be very challenging. Whether we are in the slowest checkout line at the grocery store or asking God to answer a prayer, delays are often disappointing, worrisome, and frustrating. When God pushes the pause button in life it can feel like we have a bad case of whiplash. The sudden anchor attached to our desire to move forward or see some kind of progress is there for a reason. God uses delays to teach us patience.
“My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him.”
Psalm 62:5 (NKJV)
The theme of patience is found throughout the Bible. Consider Jacob, who worked 7 years for Rachel’s hand in marriage only to discover he had married her sister. Indeed, Rachel was also given to him but he had to work another 7 years for her father, Laban.
“So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed only a few days to him because of the love he had for her.” Genesis 29:20 (NKJV)
A lack of patience and a refusal to wait on the Lord will have consequences. We know this through the 1 Samuel 13 account of Saul. When Samuel was delayed, Saul’s impatience led to disobedience and ended up costing him his kingdom.
Now it happened, as soon as he had finished presenting the burnt offering, that Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might greet him. And Samuel said, ‘What have you done?’ Saul said, ‘When I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered together at Michmash, then I said, The Philistines will now come down on me at Gilgal, and I have not made supplication to the LORD. Therefore I felt compelled, and offered a burnt offering.’
And Samuel said to Saul, ‘You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the LORD your God, which He commanded you. For now, the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you.’”
Faith and worry don’t mix. Worry is a lack of faith in God’s ability to provide for our needs while accomplishing His will in His perfect timing. God does not dawdle. Delays on our timeline are not found on God’s timetable.
“Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere.” ~ Erma Bombeck
“Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret—it only causes harm.”
Psalm 37:8 (NKJV)
God wants us to rely on Him and not on our own abilities. Waiting on the Lord teaches us to trust in His power, even when things look dreary or impossible. When God hits the pause button we can either wrestle with His will or submit. Submission is, of course, the wiser course of action!
“Submit to God and be at peace with Him; In this way prosperity will come to you.” Job 22:21 (NIV)
Should you find yourself in the midst of a delay, rest in Him. He knows your situation and has it covered. Rejoice that the testing of your faith is developing the gift of perseverance.
Remember, the all-knowing God has total knowledge of your circumstances and has not forsaken you. He is and always will be by your side. Praise Him for the opportunity to grow in faith and mature spiritually. Ask Him to stretch you with grace then rest in the knowledge that He will strengthen and enable you to persevere through your time of waiting. Persevere in your prayers for He is compassionate and merciful.
“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; Therefore He will rise up to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him!”
Isaiah 30:18 (NIV)
“The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him.”
Lamentations 3:25 (NKJV)
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
Galatians 5:22-23 (NASB)
“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.” 1 James 1:2-4 (NIV)