Waiting on God is a regular refrain in the life of faith. It is an expression of the healthy heart’s desire: “O LORD, we wait for you; your name and remembrance are the desire of our soul” (Isaiah 26:8).
Not long ago I was certain that God was moving our family me in a specific direction. Confirmations from different sources encouraged us to pursue the opportunity. So we did. Doors flew open as we kept moving forward. We were encouraged and excited, for what we never thought would happen was coming together right before our very eyes. As we bathed the whole process in prayer, God seemed to be honouring our requests. Until the eleventh hour, that is. That’s when the final door was slammed shut in our faces. We were shocked, and felt cheated and tricked by God. There was absolutely no way to make our dream a reality.
Why would you do this to us, God? Why lead us on? I was deeply disappointed, though deep down I still trusted God, yet I had to be honest with God—bringing my questions and complaints to Him. God knew them, even though I am sometimes scared to articulate the words. Maybe I feared punishment or rejection.
One of the most profoundly comforting things about Scripture is how it reveals God’s compassion for us impatient waiters. Peter tells us that “the Lord is not slow to fulfil his promise as some count slowness” (2 Peter 3:9). At some point, each of us joins the “some” group. We reach places where it’s painfully clear that our sense of time-urgency must be different than God’s.
God knows that he can appear slow to us. He knows that at times we are going to feel like he’s forgotten us and is hiding his face from us. He knows that as He patiently works out his purposes, we will experience circumstances so difficult and confusing that we cry out in bewildered pain. And from this, we are to hear from God that he knows our waiting for him can be hard. He knows it can feel to us like he is taking too long. He gives us permission to ask him, “How long is this going to last?”
Here are some of my learnings along the pathways I travelled that helped my understanding of waiting on God
- When I first felt resistance, I had to recalibrate the focus of my faith and turn God ward. I began moving the weight off my own trust, off self, and gravitating back, and consciously reorient on God. Whether it’s simply spare moments or seemingly endless days, waiting is no waste in God’s economy.
- The waiting prompted me to pray differently. For me a healthy life of prayer doesn’t only necessitate hours each day in the closet, but eyes to see the opportunities in, and a heart to seize upon, the unexpected moments and seasons of waiting.
- Finally, the pain of waiting pointed my heart to the life-saving patience of God. I owe everything to His kindness and patience with me.
The unwelcome intrusions of waiting in our lives, whether weighty or seemingly trite, are powerful opportunities to welcome God into every moment and keep our hearts renewed in him.
Yes, He’s still good, even when circumstances are not.