Have you ever had to wait for something you really wanted? A promise God made to you, a vision He revealed to your heart, a longing or desire that won’t go away but still hasn’t been fulfilled... as time passes, we wonder if He has forgotten and are tempted to lose hope.
The good news is, you’re not alone. Waiting is a common thread through the Bible - Abraham & Sarah received their promised child when they were “too old”, the Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years before entering the Promised Land, Joseph wasted away in prison wondering if God was ever going to fulfill the dreams He had given him in his youth...the list goes on and on!
So what do we do when we ask and He says, “Not yet”; when it seems God has gone silent in response to our prayers?
We can give up, get discouraged, doubt His goodness, question whether He is there or if we heard Him right, get ahead of His timing (because obviously He needs our help to make things happen) and make a mess - anyone been there? I’m raising my hand right along with you!
OR, we can patiently trust and believe that when God makes us wait, He ALWAYS has a good reason. Waiting upon the Lord is active. We present our requests, lay them at his feet, and shift our focus from the gift to the Giver. He delights in giving good gifts to His children but is more concerned with making us holy and building our character to make us look more like Jesus.
Waiting isn’t always easy, but it’s a necessary part of God’s process. If you’re in a season of waiting right now, here are four insights to guide you along the way:
Examine Your Heart - Sometimes God has to bring us through a refining process before we are ready or mature enough to faithfully steward the things He wants to give us. We need to examine ourselves to see if we have any habits, strongholds, sinful attitudes, or unforgiveness that He is asking us to lay down. Maybe it’s a simple change He wants us to make in our disciplines or lifestyle. God often puts his finger on a specific point and waits for us to bow it under his authority in obedience; He will bless our willingness to submit even in the small things. Pray the words of Psalm 139: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Be Faithful Where You Are - Our lives flow in seasons, and often God has a purpose for us to complete in one stage before He will move us forward. If we are so focused on what’s next that we are not fully living in the present, we may be missing out on His plan for us here and now. Look at the opportunities in front of you that you may not be able to fulfill in your next phase of life. Take advantage of your current position, whatever it may be, even if it feels unseen or unimportant. Be faithful with everything God places in your hands - it could be the avenue He will use to usher in a fulfillment of His promises in the future. When we can see the whole picture, we will be amazed at the way He works all things together for our good!
Wait For God’s Best - God’s plan is always better than the plans we can make for ourselves. We may be hoping for something good when He has something much better in store or asking for the right thing at the wrong time. Ephesians 3:20 says that God is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine. We should present our requests to Him with an open mind and the understanding that in His wisdom, the answer may not look like we expect. Maybe we’re setting the bar too low for ourselves! I would much rather follow God’s perfectly designed plan for my life instead of getting what I think is best right when I want it, wouldn’t you? Philippians 4:6-7 tells us not to be anxious - God will give us peace as we wait for him to answer, and often His answers will exceed our expectations if we submit to His will and do things His way.
Remember His Promises - the Bible tells us that God is faithful, He keeps His promises and His words never return void. So if God has spoken into your life, you can live in confidence that He will do what He said. Follow the example of many figures in the Bible and repeat the promises He has made to you when you pray. When your circumstances don’t make sense, remind yourself that God still does miracles and nothing is impossible for Him! Delight yourself in the Lord and watch Him delight you with how deep His love runs for you in every detail of your life. Keep sight of the vision and continue to seek Him; when in doubt meditate on the truth of His word. Thank Him for the purpose He has in your season of waiting and trust that He is actively working behind the scenes on your behalf!