Why God makes us wait and how to wait well
Sometimes I feel like most of a Christian’s life is based around waiting. It might be waiting for a new job opportunity, or a marriage partner, or a child, or maybe something else. And just when you think you’ve passed one round of waiting, the next round comes along! Waiting can be very difficult, and the advent of technology has made us accustomed to getting a lot of things right now, when we want it. Are you hungry? There’s an app for that- you don’t have to cook. Don’t want to wait for the bus? You can get an Uber. Need an item for the house? Amazon can deliver it within hours!
All of these are great but what do you do when you have a problem that can’t be fixed by an app?
When we find ourselves in situations where we’re waiting on God to act, there are different ways to deal with it. We can sit around moping and complaining about the fact that this thing we want is just not happening when we want it, or we can get on with living our lives and trusting that God has it all covered. I saw a post recently that said ‘the person God is shaping you into is more important than the thing you are waiting for’. That really spoke to me and I truly believe that when God is making us wait, it is because He is doing a work in us, and He won’t stop until that work is completed. Philippians 1 v 6 states that ‘He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ’. So, when it seems like God is making you wait, just remember that He is doing a good work in your life.
So, why does God make us wait?
Sometimes God makes us wait because He wants to do something greater in our lives, or He wants to give us a bigger testimony. I know the experience of praying and wanting something so badly, waiting for what seemed like forever, and finally receiving something that was so much better than what I desired in the first place. You see, God knows us so well and He always has our best interests at heart. I think if we could hear God sometimes we would hear Him say, ‘if only you knew what I have in store for you…’ And when God does something greater in our lives, our testimony brings Him even greater glory.
Waiting teaches us patience. Patience is one of the fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5 verse 22. But, we don’t just have tons of patience when we become Christians. In fact, the best way to build on patience is to have something to be patient about. And patience is good for us because it produces character and spiritual maturity (see Romans 5 verse 3-5). It is never about instant gratification with God, but about making us more like Christ.
So, what should we be doing whilst we are waiting for God to act on our behalf? How do we wait well?
Give praise and thanks to God. There’s something about praising God that just lifts your spirits. When we praise God, we shift our focus from our problems to Him. We’re able to focus on His greatness, and His sovereignty, which in turn makes our problems seem smaller and insignificant. And before God, they really are! Thanksgiving works in a similar way. As we thank God for what He has done for us in the past, it brings to remembrance all the times He has come through for us and all the prayers He has answered. And we know that if He has done it before, He is definitely able to do it again.
Be positive and don’t lose hope. It is important to have a positive outlook and a belief that we will actually get what we are asking God for. The book of James (1 verse 6) says that he who doubts will not receive from God. If we’re coming to God for something, we must believe that He is able to give it to us. Sometimes you may experience negative thoughts, and doubts can creep in, but try not to dwell on them. Fix your eyes on Jesus and on His Word. Listen to messages that build and encourage your faith. Sometimes I go on YouTube and look for videos from Christian speakers talking about the same issues I’m facing and I always feel encouraged after watching them.
Trust in His timing. Not only does God know what is best for us, He also knows the best time for us to have those things. This can be difficult to deal with because a lot of the time God’s timing is very different from ours. But, we have to remember that because He is outside of time, and sees the bigger picture, His timing is always perfect. Even though we may not understand it on this side of eternity, we have to trust that as the good Father that He is, He will not give us something when it is too late, or when it is too early that we cannot handle it.
Get familiar with and hold on to His Word. There are so many Scriptures that tell of God’s promises and His faithfulness to fulfil those promises. Psalm 37 verse 4 is one of my favourites and it says, ‘Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.’ Another verse (Psalm 84 verse 11) says that ‘no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.’ Reading the word of God and claiming His promises does not just lift our spirits but also helps to strengthen our faith whilst we are waiting.
So, trust God, wait well, and see Him come through in a special way for you!