One of the hardest things God asks us to do is wait. Psalm 27:14 says “Wait on the Lord and be of good courage, and He will strengthen your heart.” Easier said than done. We want what we want, and we want it…NOW!
As we study God’s word, the Bible, we learn all sorts of things about Him. We learn that He takes care of His own. We also learn that nothing is too hard for Him. Another truth He wants us to understand about Him is that His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are higher than ours.
Most people understand what it means to trust in God, but trusting in Him fully is something we rarely do. When times get rough, we eventually resort to praying. This should be our first line of defense, but it rarely is. We pick up the phone and call family and friends, which is a good thing to do. But it shouldn’t be the very first thing we do.
At the first sign of trouble (and how often do we actually recognize the first sign?), it should be an automatic response to turn to God and call upon Him for help. And even after doing that, we tend to expect rapid response. Let’s be honest. Waiting for the solution to any problem is hard.
Part of the problem is that we find it hard to believe God is able to solve our problems. Another hindrance to our faith is our unwillingness to trust that He will take care of us. Many people don’t feel His love. It’s there, according to Scripture, but realizing it is difficult for most people.
Because of all the pain and degradation people have been forced to endure, they assume that God doesn’t love them. If He did, why would He allow those terrible things to happen? (Remember, His ways are not our ways.) We claim to know better than He what’s best for us. Well, we don’t.
Nobody enjoys suffering, and God certainly doesn’t enjoy watching us suffer. But He is able to see the big picture of our lives, as well as eternity. He can see the end as easily as the beginning, and He is the only one who can see how suffering helps us learn to depend more upon Him and less upon ourselves and other mortals.
Once we realize how much God truly loves us and longs for a close relationship with us, then we are more willing to trust Him with our lives. When we open our hearts to Him through faith in Christ Jesus, He takes ownership of us. We belong to Him. That means we no longer have to be afraid of death. Leaving this world means being with Him forever.
So why do we, as His children, worry and fret when things don’t go right? Why do we panic and despair? If we know that we belong to Him, shouldn’t we trust Him to lead us and guide us according to His perfect will? His sovereign will?
Waiting on Him to do what He wants to do in our lives shouldn’t be difficult. Not if we truly believe in Him. Not if we know we are His for all eternity. But even those of us who have received Christ Jesus as our personal Savior find it hard to wait for Him to provide what we are longing for. We find ourselves wondering if what we desperately want or need will really be ours.
One of the things God does in the lives of His children is orchestrate events that, hopefully, compel them to look to Him for comfort and courage. Sadly, those events catch us off guard and we are often thrown into a tailspin. Even though we have devoted many years to studying the Bible and have developed a fairly strong prayer life, we still freak out when our plans get blown apart and we’re faced with catastrophe. Or at least something overwhelming and perplexing, not to mention heartbreaking.
At times it seems downright cruel to make us wait. Especially when a loved one is in critical condition or we’re on the verge of bankruptcy. But being a child of God doesn’t mean we’re exempt from pain and terror. It means we have been equipped with spiritual strength to endure. It means we have a loving heavenly Father who uses surprising methods to draw us nearer and condition us to rely upon Him before we rely upon anyone else.
Parents, spouses, friends, and those in spiritual leadership are some of the people we call upon for help when we’re in trouble. But God wants us to turn to Him first. Scripture tells us that He is an ever-present help in trouble. He will never leave us, nor will He ever forsake us. Although we often feel as though He has abandoned us, all we have to do is spend time reading and meditating on His word to realize that He has not.
If we rely on how we feel, we will be tossed about by every wind of doubt and deception. Satan is the father of lies. Remember what happened to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden? The devil appeared as a serpent and told Eve to eat from that tree. Well, he is still lying to us. We can choose to believe what he says, or we can choose to believe what God says. And we won’t know what God is saying unless we are reading his word, seeking His will, and waiting for Him to speak to us.
Sadly, what we hear is often not from God but from our own stubborn determination. We want what we want, and we want it now. But when we reach the point in our lives where we are willing to surrender our will and trust God to know what’s best for us, we will find it much easier to endure hardship as well as uncertainty. We will find it much easier to wait on the Lord and be of good courage. Our hearts will be strengthened as a result of the spiritual training He provides.
As we put our lives in His loving, mighty hands and believe with all our heart that He loves us and knows what’s best for us, only then will we bear the agony of waiting for something to happen. It may not be what we were hoping for; but if we’re trusting in Him, we can rest assured that whatever does happen is according to His perfect plan. While we’re looking at only a sliver of our lives, God sees the whole thing. He’s preparing us for eternity. And a big part of that preparation requires our willingness to wait.
“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith.” (1 John 5:4)