To be honest, I'm not sure to whom I'm writing this post today–but I suspect somebody needs to hear it. As I prayerfully consider topics for this site, this one continues to come to mind: waiting on God. The shepherd and pastor in me come to life when I'm reminded of believers who increasingly grow impatient with God, and I want us to pray for one another about that issue today.
So, I begin simply with some Bible texts that remind me that I need to let God redeem my impatience:
- "But those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint" (Isa. 40:31).
- "Wait on the Lord; be strong, and may your heart be stout; wait on the Lord" (Ps. 27:14).
- "I wait for the Lord, with bated breath I wait; I long for His Word! My soul waits for the Lord, more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning" (Ps. 130:5-6).
- "But as for me, I watch for the Lord; I await the God of my salvation; my God will hear me" (Mic. 7:7).
When I read these verses, waiting seems so easy. We simply look forward to the day when God is going to respond, and we stay focused on Him in the meantime. Waiting is seldom that easy, however. If you wonder why it's difficult to wait on God, check out this post: "8 Reasons It's Tough to Wait on God."
Why, then, does God require us to wait?
- Waiting reminds us that He is in charge. We're not in charge of the calendar or the clock. We don't control all things. Only God does, and His calling us to wait reminds us of that truth.
- Waiting teaches us faith. Faith is the evidence of things unseen, the confidence of things not yet taking place (Heb. 11:1). The concept almost assumes a gap in timing between our request and God's response. If everything happened immediately, faith would be less necessary.
- Waiting makes us grateful. When we pray for something and God requires us to wait, we are more grateful when He finally does respond positively to our prayers. And we learn in a strange way to be grateful as we wait even if He chooses to respond no to our prayers,
- Waiting reveals our idolatries. If we simply can't wait on God, it's likely because something we want to happen is more important to us than God's overall plan. We think our plan is so perfect that God needs to respond to it right now.
- Waiting prepares us for whatever God has for us in the future. Whatever God's plan is, waiting is often God's way of saying, "You're not ready to receive what you want yet." He knows our hearts, and He alone knows when He needs to do some work in us before granting our request. Our call is to trust Him in the meantime.
If you want suggestions for learning to wait "in the meantime," consider these ideas: "8 Things to Do when God Says 'Wait'."
I'm praying God will grant patience and hope to many of our readers today. Let us know how we might together pray for you.
Chuck Lawless is dean and vice president of graduate studies and ministry centers at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, where he also serves as professor of evangelism and missions. In addition, he is global theological education consultant for the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.
This article originally appeared at chucklawless.com.
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