Have you ever asked or trusted the Lord for something; and you fully expected He would give it to you. But instead, what response you receive from the Lord is to be patient?
Truth is, you don’t want to patient for the Lord to bless or deliver you, or at least not patient for long duration of time.
Though, patience is a fruit of the Spirit, let’s be honest, we live in a microwave world where everything is immediate. I don’t care what age you are, what generation you’re from, traditionalist, Baby boomer, generation X to centennials, if your living today, you have succumbed to this microwave society, and being patient is more of a “have to” than a “get to”. Nobody really wants to be patient.
Many years ago, I was once told (jokingly) that you should never pray for more patience, because God won’t send you more patience – He’ll send you more situations to test your patience. And, that’s the truth.
Most people don’t like to wait. We often get frustrated when we have to wait in line at the grocery store or when we’re held up behind a slow car in the fast lane. This hurriedness often works its ways into our spiritual lives causing us to rush into the next thing before calling on God for direction. While most of us feel the need to rush, God is not in hurry. In fact, the Bible tells us that God many of times brings about things in slow fashion, in His timing, not ours. Hab. 2:3 (CEB) At the time I have decided, my words will come true. You can trust what I say about the future. It may take a long time, but keep on waiting–it will happen!
God often does not operate on our time.
But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some understand slowness, but is patient with you….
We all want good things to happen in our lives, to be delivered from situations, receiving healing and prosperity, to have peace; but too often we want it now…not later. When it doesn’t happen that way, we get frustrated and begin asking, “When, God, when?”
What we often forget is that God has a plan and a purpose for us according to His will. Although the Lord is ready and willing to answer our prayers and request, He doesn’t always do so quickly, as we can see repeated throughout Scripture.
- Abraham: When Abraham was 75 years old, God promised to give him a descendent through whom would come nations. But it was 25 years later before Isaac was born! Abraham was 100 years old!
- Joseph: God promised Joseph that he would rule over his brothers… yet it was 15-20 years before that promise was fulfilled.
- Hebrews: the Hebrew people were enslaved in Egypt after Joseph died, and lived in slavery for 400 years before God delivered them through Moses. Wouldn’t 300 have been enough?
- David: David was anointed by Samuel to be king over Israel. Yet, rather than to be crowned the next day, David spent the next 7 years of his life running from cave to cave trying to keep Saul, the present king, from killing him because of the threat to his throne. And it was 14 years before he became king over all Israel.
- Paul: On Paul’s conversion, the Lord promised that he would become an apostle to the Gentiles, yet it was years before that promise was fulfilled, with Paul living in obscurity and meeting with stiff resistance.
- Lazarus: Lazarus’ sisters sent for Jesus when Lazarus fell ill. Instead of coming immediately, Jesus delayed, and by the time He arrived, Lazarus had been dead four days! In the Gospels we see this happening to Mary and Martha while they are waiting on Jesus to come and heal their brother, Lazarus. When Jesus finally shows up, He is accused of taking too long, making them wait.
Sometimes we believe God is being to “slow” and it seems to be an inconvenience and frustrating to us. But, God rarely does things according to our timeframe, and because of this we easily get discouraged.
Unfortunately for us, waiting is just a part of life (whether we’re patient or not). Though waiting is tedious and boring, we all know that waiting is a part of life, but it is also one of God’s tools for developing people. And, as believers, we are to understand, God always has good reasons for making us wait.
What if I told you that half the point of waiting is the waiting itself (not just what happens after)? If the point of waiting was just to reach the end of waiting and get what you want…then there’s really no purpose in waiting. Then why wait, why don’t God just skip to the end? What’s the real point of waiting? The reason is, something has to be going on during our seasons of waiting. Waiting has a purpose.
11The word of the Lord came to me: “What do you see, Jeremiah?” “I see the branch of an almond tree,” I replied. 12The Lord said to me, “You have seen correctly, for I am watching b to see that my word is fulfilled.”
Here, we see God watching over what He has spoken to be brought to come to pass in the physical world. The Hebrew word for “hasten or watch” is shaqad which means “to be alert, to be awake, to be on the lookout”… while waiting for the fulfillment. God set things in motion to bring about the fulfillment of His Word here in the physical. God knows exactly when His words will come to pass. He totally could always make that time be instant, or He could wait to say anything until the moment before it happens. He could eliminate waiting. But He doesn’t. The Why is? God is at work in the waiting.
As believers, we’re told in Rom. 8:28 “All things work together for the good for those who love the Lord and called according to His Purpose”.
What is that purpose? If God makes us wait, there must be a reason. So what is it?
- Waiting Reveals Our True Motives
Waiting has a way of bringing out our true motives of desire and want. Non-true motives won’t wait long because they’re not interested in the commitment it takes to see something through. They’re interested in short-term gains or success. Most of us have good intentions, but a lot of what we want is for our own egos, feel good, our own pleasures and what not. And, not truly in line with God’s purpose or will.
- Waiting Transforms Our Character
James 1:2-4 tells us that trials (and God’s “slowness” can be a real trial) make us perfect and complete, lacking in nothing,” if we go through them in faith. Waiting has a way of rubbing off the rough edges of our lives. Most of us know the story of Moses delivering the Israelites from the Egyptians. It’s a grand story of God doing great miracles. However, few us hear or talk about Moses having to wait in the desert 40 years before God came to him. God used this time of waiting to transform Moses character. We know this because when he was a young man he was hasty and impatient. In his impulsiveness he killed a man and hid the body. When his sin was made public, he ran for his life and was exiled to the desert. When he was given a second chance he opted to do it God’s way and in God’s time. In the end, the Israelites were delivered from slavery and Moses became a great leader. Waiting transformed the life of Moses and it does the same for you and I.
1) Preparing for what’s coming
Sometimes the thing hasn’t come yet, because we’re not ready. Perhaps we need new skills, maturity, or a particular spiritual insight before we’re ready. For example, David waited 14 years to become king of Israel, after God had anointed him king. But when he did become king, he was stronger, wiser, battle tested king.
- The Lord will sometimes withhold blessings to protect us.
We may never find out why, but
- Waiting Builds Intimacy and Dependency Upon God
How would we learn in Him, if He immediately fulfilled our every request? In my own life, the Lord has often spoken two words to me: “Trust Me.”
The reason we are able to read about the great men and women of the Bible is because they all had one thing in common. They were all people who learned their success in life was directly proportionate to their intimacy and dependency upon God. For them, a relationship with God wasn’t a get rich quick scheme. For many of them it was a matter of life and death.
Waiting during the difficult times developed their relationship with God. Some of the most intimate relationships we have in our lives are because a friend stood in the trenches with us during the heat of the battle. Maybe this is what the scripture means when it says we have a friend that sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).
The reason we get to read the stories of these great men and women is because they went through the difficulties of life with God. In the end, they enjoyed the process with God and the promise of God.
I’ve always believed God is just as interested in the journey as he is the destination. If not, all the biblical accounts would only include the feel good parts and not the good, the bad and the ugly of the times of waiting. We may not always understand why we have to wait, but the good news is that God never asks us to wait without Him.
3) Waiting for the right time
This sounds a little vague…probably because it is. But God chooses the right time, not us, and He has His own criteria for that. So, whatever you’re waiting for, you can trust God that the right time hasn’t come yet.
(If the right time hasn’t come, that doesn’t mean you haven’t grown enough or you’re not prepared yet. Only God knows the reasons for the right time. Don’t blame yourself for a delayed fulfillment, just use the time you have to prepare and grow.)
Change, or to bring about change is a process, and we must spend time waiting for the change to occur, that’s life. Many people want change, but they don’t want to go through the waiting process. But the truth is, waiting is a given—we are going to wait. The question is, are we going to wait the wrong or right way?
God causes things to happen at exactly the right time! Our job is not to figure out when, but to make up our mind to trust Him through the process. So stop trying to figure everything out, and let God be God in your life.
Waiting is hard, no matter who you are, and what you’re waiting for. We don’t like feeling stuck in seasons of waiting. But waiting doesn’t have to be just empty space of nothing until something happens. God uses seasons of waiting to prepare us for what’s coming, to draw us closer to Him, and to make sure His promises are fulfilled at the proper time. God wants us to live by discernment—revelation knowledge, not head knowledge. It’s difficult to exercise discernment if you’re always trying to figure everything out. But when you’re willing to say, “God, I can’t figure this out, so I’m going to trust You to give me revelation that will set me free,” then you can be comfortable in spite of not knowing. Trusting God often requires not knowing how God is going to accomplish what needs to be done and not knowing when He will do it. We often say God is never late, but generally He isn’t early either. Why? Because He uses times of waiting to stretch our faith in Him and to bring about change and growth in our lives.
Most of us need to grow in the area of trusting God instead of focusing on the “when” question. If you’re missing joy and peace, you’re not trusting God. If your mind feels worn out all the time, you’re not trusting God.
Our waiting period is God’s preparation time. He may put us on hold to coordinate events to line up with His will. Waiting helps strengthen us spiritually.
Christian maturity becomes evident in the ability to wait in peaceful confidence. We’ll know exactly what to do when we trust in His timing.
Our prayers often revolve around asking God to hurry up and bless what we want done or want to do. But what if God’s answer to us is simply, “Be patient. Wait upon me”? We can pray with David: “Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly” (Psalm 5:3). We can trust His response, even if it doesn’t come in the time we expect.
If we wait the wrong way, we’ll be miserable; but if we decide to wait God’s way, we can become patient and enjoy the wait. It takes practice, but as we let God help us in each situation, we develop patience, which is one of the most important Christian virtues. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22). It’s developed only under trial, so we must not run from difficult situations. But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing (James 1:4).