“The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” (Lamentations 3:25-26 ESV)
In life, we all experience situations that seem hopeless. Perhaps, you are in a place where you feel stuck and desperately long to move on, but you see no way out. Maybe you have been praying for someone for years and they remain unmoved. Perhaps, there is a relationship, where despite all your efforts, nothing has changed. You may struggle with a character flaw that has caused you (and probably others) pain, and have cried to God to help you change. Or maybe you or a loved one suffers from ill health, and just getting through each day is a battle.
Doesn’t all this endless waiting seem so contrary to the triumphant note resounding throughout God’s word, where redemption and victory were not only promised to His people, but also miraculously provided?
The sense of failure can be overwhelming, and it is possible to feel worthless, unloved and abandoned by God. “Why does God treat His people so badly?” This is what Moses felt when he obeyed God’s command and went to Pharaoh asking for the Israelites to be released.
Then Moses turned to the Lord and said, “O Lord, why have you done evil to this people? Why did you ever send me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has done evil to this people, and you have not delivered your people at all. (Exodus 5:22-23 ESV)
Over the years, I have had to wait for God to fulfil His promises, and there are many things for which I am still waiting. I am waiting on Him to work changes in my life and character, in situations, in people, in the church, even in nations that I am praying for. Yes, I have seen God’s hand of deliverance work numerous times on my behalf, but there are have been many, many more times when I have wished that God would just hurry up.
“I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him.” Isaiah 8:17 ESV
Has all this waiting been a bad thing for me? Not at all! Important lessons were learnt, that have value not only for this life, but also in the one to come. I have become more, not less confident – in God’s willingness and power to intervene in my situation. I have learnt to lean more on God and less on my own resources. I have begun to understand His character – and this knowledge gives me much happiness and relief.
During your wait, He will teach you many things you need to be effective as a Christian; moreover He will reveal Himself to you. “… but your eyes shall see your Teacher” (Isaiah 30:20 ESV)
People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them (Isaiah 30:20-21 NIV).
There was a time when I imagined that because God was perfect, He couldn’t help being a perfectionist as well, and looked with disapproval at my many missteps. But I now realise that my Teacher is actually very patient, forgiving, tolerant and non-judgmental. I can truly rest in His love and relax in His care.
The waiting period is the time for incubation – when hidden from sight, new life grows and matures till it becomes capable of independent survival. Unlike a full term healthy newborn, a premature baby struggles to feed and survive in the outside world. So, God releases us from our waiting rooms when He sees that we are fit and able to thrive in the environment, where He means to use us.
I remain 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. Psalm 27:13-14 NIV
Thank you Lord for the waiting periods in our lives. It is Your will that we change and grow out of our worldly mindsets, become strong and able to handle the pressures of life. Help us to trust You without wavering. When we feel despair, please help us remember that You do love us and will make everything well for us in the end.