It seems to me that much of life consists of waiting. We wait in lines, we wait for computer programs to work, we wait for results, and we wait for phone calls from family and friends. But some waiting is more serious — waiting for news about a potential loss, waiting for the results of a medical exam, and waiting for an unanswered prayer. We hate to wait because we feel out of control and we think it limits our freedom.
For several years now in our own personal lives it seems we have been waiting for some things to be resolved. We keep waiting on the Lord for longer term solutions, a more permanent place to live and work, a breakthrough in the burdens that seem to press upon us. But it just doesn’t seem to happen. In times like these it’s easy to become impatient; to wonder if God has forgotten; to look for the quick fix.
But I’m reminded that our experience of waiting isn’t new to those who follow the Lord. The Bible is full of examples of people who had to learn to wait on God to fulfill His promise. One of the best is the story of Abraham and Sarah who waited some 13 years for the birth of the son that God had promised would come to them in their old age. In their impatience for God to act they devised their own fulfillment of God’s plan, much to their own ultimate pain.
Why does it seem to take so long for God to act sometimes? Could it be that God would have us learn that life doesn’t consist so much in finding quick solutions to our problems as it does in enjoying a relationship with the One who made us wherever life finds us. It is not that we should give up trusting God for His help or that we should forget His promises, but rather it is to make the most of our relationship with Him as we wait.
Trustful waiting is an expression of confidence that God is in control and has our best interests at heart. It is keeping our hearts and minds fixed upon His unchanging promises. And it is experiencing new heights and depths of prayerful intimacy with God so that we discover, in the words of Henri Nouwen, the folly of our own illusions (Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life, Doubleday, 1975).
Won’t it be wonderful to discover some day, as Joshua did, that not one of God’s promises has failed to be fulfilled (Joshua 23:14)! The reward of waiting is that sweet contentment that comes from being in God’s presence and knowing that everything is exactly as God intends it to be. He makes everything beautiful in its time (Ecclesiastes 3:11).