Most of us know that we live in a microwave millennium where everything happens at a faster and furious pace. I am always living in a faster is better mentality and then suddenly I find myself in a place where I am waiting on God to answer my prayers and the answer does not seem to be coming fast enough. Or I have been given the promise through scripture, a vision or a prophetic word and it has been months even years and yet I see no physical manifestation. This can cause me to ask, Why is God taking so long to answer my most urgent prayers? Is God angry at me? Has God forgotten me? This painful and perplexing issue often lurks in the dark corners of our minds, often hindering us from experiencing joy and peace causing us to have a twisted view of Gods character and love for us. The truth is God is good and everything He does is good. God wants us to experience the power of receiving the right thing at the right time. God plans to send the answers in response to our prayers, but waiting for Him is not always easy. Lets face it: waiting is tough. Waiting is frustrating. And, if we were honest with ourselves, we can all agree waiting stinks. These seemingly passed by seasons of our life can be challenging in so many ways. I like to call these times of waiting divine delays. Many great men and women of God have passed the waiting test and came out with stronger faith, a deeper understanding of Gods goodness, faithfulness and His timing. Lets take a look at a few of their stories.
1) Divine delays that give us hope (Ge 21:1-6)
a) God promised Abraham a son. But it was 25 years before Isaac was born.
Like Abraham and Sarah, we could receive our promise from God, experience laughter in our latter years, and become the recipient of incredible blessings.
b) Joseph was given a dream from God that God would exalt Joseph to a position of honor and authority. Joseph spent 13 years as a slave and 2 to 3 years in prison before that dream came to pass (Ge 37,39,40-45).
The scriptures do not state all of the emotional things Joseph had to work out while he was in slavery and in prison for all of those year, but I can only imagine he had to work though some stuff. His brothers where jealous. They had evil intent and sold him into slavery. Joseph does not hold this against them when he sees them years later. Instead, Joseph tells them do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you (Ge 45:5). Joseph was able to see the big picture to what God was accomplishing in his time of divine delay.
Like Joseph who endured a tremendous season of delay, we may eventually be elevated to a position of influence and have an impact on an entire nation with the wisdom weve learned through our time spent in the waiting room.
Faith that pleases God is a faith that is able to surrender Gods promises back to Him with the confidence that He will fulfill them according to His timing, plans and purposes. When God shows us His plan for our lives or the lives of our loved ones, it seems so real as though it is going to happen soon. I believe this is His way of keeping us strong when the waiting comes. It can be easy for us to get discouraged while we wait because what God showed us seemed so real at the time. Our faith can be tested during these times, this is when we need to remind ourselves of all of the times God did exactly what He said He would do, it just took longer than we had thought. During these times of waiting we must lean on the scriptures that give us hope and remind us that God is faithful, He is good and He loves us.
2) Attitudes of the heart can be exposed during times of waiting
a) Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but desire fulfilled is a tree of life (Pr 13:12).
Seemingly unanswered prayers can sometimes cause our view of God to come to light. We can feel as though God has forgotten us, or that Im not good enough for God to answer my prayer and deliver me out of my situation. My view of God was brought into light while I was waiting on Him for children. My faith was tested. I had to learn that God knew what was best for me but also for these boys. God had a plan to bless me with children all along, He just had a better plan than I did! These negative views of God or even ourselves can and will cause depression leading us into a place of hopelessness. We must learn that being divinely delayed does not mean being denied.
The Lord wants to be gracious to you and bless you with good gifts. Gods delays are divine and delightful because, in the end, we will experience the pleasure of a promise fulfilled.
b) Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him! (Isa 30:18)
If we do not stay confident in the goodness of God we can lose hope and our faith will become weak. Trusting in Gods good intentions for our lives causes our hearts to be strong, it give us the courage we need to continue on in the midst of our hardships and struggles. Waiting on God is a privilege. God is behind the scenes working and doing things you and I cannot see, He is setting you and I up for success. He is intertwining His Spirit to our spirit causing us to think like Him, look like Him and act like Him. He is removing all of the negative thinking we may have toward Him and ourselves, taking us to a place of peace and joy. There are tremendous blessings to those who wait for God.
c) I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord (Ps 27:13-14).
3) Recognizing that the Lord is with you in your time of waiting
a) Even in what seemed to be the biggest trial and time of waiting on God. Joseph knew that God was with him, and so did everyone else! God had never left Josephs side and He made all that Joseph did prosper.
Now his master saw that the Lord was with him and how the Lord caused all that he did to prosper in his hand (Ge 39:3).
The future belongs to God, we can trust that it is sure and secure. It may be beyond our grasp, but it is not beyond His. In the meantime, God is creating significant opportunities and outcomes all around us. So we need to wait for Him and not rush through life, we need to make sure we are not missing out on the Lord of today by only looking at the Lord of tomorrow. What is it that you are waiting on God to do? Is it the return of a prodigal, salvation of a loved one, healing, a job, a spouse? Have you found yourself so focused on the promise that has not been fulfilled that you are missing out on all of the blessings that surround you? Today.... lets allow God to help us step away from the door that has not opened for us yet, and allow ourselves to see that God is with us and He has made us prosper in all we dothat Gods delays are not denials; and lets take in all of the beauty that surrounds us, and be thankful for all God has done and will do. Lets learn how to live in a place of peace and joy while we wait on the Lord.