“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
The LORD is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul who seeks him.
It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the LORD. Lamentations 3:24-26
I hate to wait. Hey this is the age of Amazon. I want a drone to drop off my order within the next 2 minutes.
I shouldn’t have to wait. But every day, life brings one situation after another where we must wait. I have to wait in my doctor’s office. I have to wait in traffic (and I mean, I live in a small town, so to have to wait more than 45 seconds for the light to change is so annoying). I have to wait for my orders in restaurants. Come on everybody, didn’t you ever hear what Queen sang? “I want it all, I want it all, I want it all, and I want it NOW!”
Our world is full of waiting. And when we believe in Jesus, though God saves us immediately, our waiting isn’t over. In fact, it is just beginning.
God loves us so much, he begins the lifelong process of transforming us into the likeness of his Son. Yes, I said lifelong process. God transforms us day after day. Little by little. Oh, sometimes it seems so slow. Why can’t God make me like Jesus overnight?
Part of the process is having to wait. We wait for God to provide for us. We wait for him to answer our prayers. We wait for him to save our children and work in their lives – not only must we wait for him to change us, now we have to wait for him to work in our kids. The waiting never ends. On top of that, God puts us together with other believers who are also in process. So we have to be patient while God changes our friends and fellow believers.
Yet God does so much in us while we are waiting for him.
He tells us that it is good to wait for him. As much as we hate waiting, it is the only way God can work many things into our lives. Why is it good to wait? What the heck is God doing in us while we’re stuck here and can’t change the situation? Here are a few things.
God cultivates humility in us through waiting.
It is humbling to have to wait for God’s timing. As much as we want to control our own destiny, we can’t. Have you ever thought about how little control we have over our lives? We can eat right and work out and cultivate all the good habits we can, then in one second our lives can change forever. We can get into an accident. A tornado can hit our house. We can lose our job. We can try to do all the right things, but we have so little control over our futures. Having to wait teaches us that our lives aren’t in our hands but in God’s.
It is humbling to wait on God for his timing. Waiting teaches us not to take things into our own hands. Nothing we can do. We are not God. We are completely dependent upon our God. We don’t have infinite wisdom. We don’t know what is best for us. We think we do but we don’t. Only God, in his infinite wisdom, knows what is best for us. Only God knows the perfect timing to do everything he does in our lives.
God uses waiting to strengthen our prayer lives.
If we never had to wait for anything, we would never pray for it. We would never grow in diligence in prayer. Day after day, I pray for our children and grandchildren. Day after day I pray for our needs and things I need help in. And day after day I keep looking to God to answer in his timing.
God cultivates patience in us by making us wait for him.
I never pray for patience because I know God will bring me into a situation that requires it. I’m just kidding. I do ask God to help me be patient as I wait for him. But think about it. The best way for God to develop patience in us to give us situations where we must wait for him.
God uses waiting to strengthen our faith and trust in him.
While we wait for him to answer our cries, we must review and affirm what we believe about God. We must fight the good fight, put up the shield of faith against all the fiery darts of the evil one. For example, while we are waiting on God, Satan will lie to us: “God isn’t good. God isn’t going to be faithful. He’s not going to do anything for you. He’s not going to answer your prayers.” That’s when we must lift the shield of faith and say, “It is written, ‘the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,’ or ‘God is good and does good,’ or ‘Great is your faithfulness.’”
God uses waiting to cultivate Christ-like character in us.
He may place us in a situation we can’t escape where someone is unkind to us, or disrespectful to us. He may place us in a situation where we have to forgive, or bear with someone’s weakness or failures as Christ bears with us in our failures.
God uses waiting to cultivate gratefulness in us.
We can thank God for all his blessings as we wait for new blessings or answered prayers. And especially when God finally answers our prayers we will be thankful in ways we never would have had he answered immediately. We can really see God’s goodness, love, wisdom and perfect timing when he answers our prayers.
It’s so hard to wait on God. But what an opportunity to grow in trusting him.
As you wait, keep trusting that God is sovereign, infinitely wise, completely loving and true to his word. He will be faithful. And someday, if not in this life, then when we are in heaven, we will see how God’s timing was perfect.