Waiting on the Lord can be frustrating. Sometimes I get impatient waiting on God to answer my prayers and wonder why he seems to be unresponsive. Why is he taking so long to answer? Is he even listening? Does he really care? Waiting on God is difficult but God has good reasons for making us wait. In a recent sermon on difficult spiritual lessons, my pastor discussed the reasons that are listed in Eric Speir’s article, 5 Reasons God Makes Us Wait.
Waiting can be difficult because we don’t always have the capacity to tolerate delays. We want what we want now! But God is not in a hurry like we are. God’s timing is always right.
My pastor started out his sermon by reminding us that Jesus also had to wait on God. He knows our struggles and He is with us in our struggles. God does not ask us to wait alone.
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?Psalm 22:1-2
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?
My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, but I find no rest.
1. Waiting reveals our true motives
According to Speir, people who do not have good motives or intentions are not willing to wait because they don’t have the commitment to see it through. They’re too interested in short-term rewards to wait.
Being unwilling to wait doesn’t necessarily mean that our motives are bad. But if we are not willing to wait for something, it demonstrates that we don’t value it enough to wait. I will not wait in line for hours to buy tickets to a concert but I will wait for years to go on a nice vacation.
2. Waiting builds patience in our lives
Speir says that waiting for small things teaches us to have the patience to wait for bigger things. This brings to mind the concept of deferred or delayed gratification. Those who lack self-control give in to the desire for instant gratification even when much greater rewards come to those who wait.
Patience is a virtue and it is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. An article on iBelieve.com offers what it calls 6 Ways to Grow in this Fruit of the Spirit.
- Patience is waiting quietly, without complaint
- Patience is waiting eagerly, with longing
- Patience is waiting to the end, i.e. seeing it through
- Patience is waiting expectantly for God to finish what he starts
- Patience is waiting joyfully when you face trials because we know that God uses trials to build character
- Patience is waiting with grace for yourself, that is, not beating yourself up for being imperfect. The Spirit will help you in your weakness.
3. Waiting builds anticipation
Speir mentioned how excited kids are about Christmas; waiting for presents builds up their anticipation so much that they can’t wait to get out of bed in the morning. The good news is that the joy of anticipation doesn’t have to stop when you grow up.
Waiting for something we really want builds anticipation. Deprivation heightens our desire for the thing we’re missing out on. The joy doesn’t have to stop when we get what we’ve been waiting for. When we wait a long time for something we really want, we treasure it even more when we get it.
4. Waiting transforms our character
We all have flaws. Waiting is one way that God smooths off our rough edges. In his comments on patience, Speir noted that our perspective on life is often wrong; our values are often wrong. We tend to think that money and possessions are important. But material things are not important to God. His purpose is to change us, to transform our hearts.
Moses was a flawed character. As a young man, when he saw an Egyptian beating one of his people, he impetuously beat him to death. When God sent Moses to speak to Pharaoh, Moses resisted because he was not an eloquent speaker. God used 40 years in the wilderness to transform Moses into a great leader.
Waiting renews our strength. It builds up our ability to persevere. It builds up our endurance.
but those who wait upon the LordIsaiah 40:31
shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings as eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
and they shall walk and not faint.
5. Waiting builds intimacy and dependence on God
Last but not least, waiting leads to greater intimacy with and dependence on God. There are some who say that religion is a crutch for the weak. I agree. I am not ashamed to say that I am weak. I am also not ashamed to say that I need God. I make many mistakes. If I’ve learned anything in my 55 years, it is that don’t know everything and I need help.
God is my best friend. He loves me more than I can fathom. He is always with me. I am His and He is mine. He has my back. He will never forsake me.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.Proverbs 3:5-6
Waiting on the Lord builds trust. When God doesn’t do what I expect Him to do, I trust that he is working in ways that I cannot see. I know that his ways are always higher; his plans are always good.
When You don’t move the mountainsTrust In You, Lauren Daigle
I’m needing You to move
When You don’t part the waters
I wish I could walk through
When You don’t give the answers
As I cry out to You
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You
How should we wait on the Lord? Quietly, eagerly, expectantly, joyfully, trustingly.