Then you will know that I am the Lord, for they shall not be ashamed who wait for Me (Isaiah 49:23 NKJV)
I love reading stories of men and women of faith. The reason I read the stories is because my spirit is encouraged and strengthened through the difficulties of life they went through with God. In the end, all, without any doubt, testified to their process with God, the promises of God and the presence of God.
But just as real and important is that in each of their stories was a time of great waiting before the Lord.
Waiting it seems is part of God’s design for our life here on earth. Waiting is a common experience. God’s Word is full of promises of blessing to those who wait for Him: Job, David, a myriad of prophets. There is plenty of encouragement in the Bible concerning a need for waiting and those who have excelled in it
Here are a few of the things I am learning as I continue to walk through my own season of waiting.
Waiting is the process of becoming what God wants us to be. What God does in us while we wait is as important as what it is we are waiting for. Waiting, biblical waiting, is not a passive waiting around for something to happen. For me it is drawing near to God every moment and allowing my relationship with Him to develop as we journey together.
The Bible is full of people who learned their success in life was directly proportionate to their intimacy and dependency upon God. For many of them it was a matter of life and death. Waiting during the difficult times developed their relationship with God and dependency upon Him.
There is purpose in the process. Take a look at Hebrews 12:1-2. ‘And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith’. Waiting on God forces us to look to Him. It casts our eyes rightly to Christ as the source of our faith and the assurance of our salvation.
Waiting has a way of bringing out the best and worst in people. People who don’t have good motives won’t wait long because they’re not interested in the commitment it takes to see something through. They’re too interested in short-term gains or success.
Most of us have good intentions, but a lot of what we want to accomplish is from wrong motives. Waiting has a tendency to refine any motives that are not bringing glory to God.
Waiting prepares us by purifying our desires. God purifies our desires by delaying their fulfilment. A desire with a waiting sign is a desire being smoothed in a riverbed of God’s activity. The rough edges—the selfishness in our desire—become smooth. The desire is purified. The dull exterior starts to shine.
Waiting is the motif of the Christian life, the recurring melody that plays in the background of every season of life. God often inserts long periods of waiting into his people’s lives before he uses them for his purposes. Abraham and Sarah are promised a child of their own but must wait twenty-five years for Isaac’s arrival. David is anointed the next king, but he must wait more than a decade while he runs for his life and lives in a cave. Paul is called to the gospel of salvation of the Gentiles, but not before he endured fourteen years in the wilderness. Waiting is God’s way of doing things.
Waiting teaches us to walk in a manner worthy of the gospel. How we live when our ambitions for ministry are delayed significantly shapes who we become. God uses the waiting season for this purpose. I’ve always believed God is just as interested in the journey as He is the destination. We may not always understand why we have to wait, but the good news is that God never asks us to wait without Him.
Waiting is to be a time of actively preparing for what will come. Waiting for God to move is a reminder that we are really waiting for God to fulfil his ultimate promises for us. We are waiting for God to prepare a final home for us. In John 14:2, Jesus said, ‘In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?’ So we linger here on earth, ‘…waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ.’ (Titus 2:13)
Waiting is not a time of idleness. Waiting is good because it allows us to actively prepare, not just for now, but for eternity.
What am I waiting for? At this stage I don’t know, but His Word stands fast and sure; it can never fail. For in my waiting, I am resting in Him and have a firm foothold that gives me confidence in Him, and I can say, ‘They shall not be ashamed that wait for Me.’
But in that gentle, quiet voice, he also speaks the words I’ve heard over and over again … my son, wait.