“Your waiting time is currently estimated to be over 4 minutes. Please hold,” a soft computer voice says on the other end of the line. After that annoying jingle plays for the 3rd time, I check my watch – it’s been 12 minutes, and I am thinking to myself, “Do they have any idea how precious my time is?! It is being wasted right now!”
Waiting (or being kept waiting) is something most of us dislike. Whether it’s trivial situations or major ones, nowadays we award almost anything a sense of urgency. We have become so used to a hasty lifestyle and guaranteed immediate response that we fail to remember how to wait. We often expect that same speed in our spiritual life. If God doesn’t instantly reply as we’re used to from Google, Amazon, or customer service, we become restless, anxious, and can even grow resentful toward our heavenly Father. We ignore that there is a purpose in the slower paces, in the times where we walk through endless desert, or face many closed doors.
About a year ago, I was waiting for clarity on some important decisions to make. I was waiting for healing. I was waiting for a change of heart. I was waiting for transformation of my disbelief. I was waiting for a better job opportunity. I was waiting for borders to open so that I could reunite with my fiancé. The “waiting list” was pretty lengthy. And God sort of told me, “Your waiting time is currently estimated to be for an unforeseeable time. Please hold.”
There were dark days and my cries to the Lord were ceaseless. And then, in His timing, God revealed the purpose of my walk through the desert. “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:14) “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)
Be still. When we are still, we can be reminded of His promises: He gives rest to the weary; He works everything for our good; He will make our paths straight; He loves us and gently cares for us in our hardship; He does not ever forsake us, but is always with us.
Slowly, faith arose and in the midst of my suffering, my laments turned into praise.
“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry… He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.” - Psalm 40:1, 30
Our circumstances might not have changed and our prayers are not answered (yet), but by meditating on these promises and on His Word, we are reminded of a truth so much more powerful than any affliction – His unfailing and steadfast love. He meets us in the waiting, the hardship, the pain, and He faithfully, compassionately and graciously walks with us.
As much as God provides all things, He also takes or withholds. As much as He interrupts and speaks to us, He also pauses, delays, and chooses temporary silence. It is not about if the Lord will intervene, but about when. If we submit ourselves to the will of the Lord, He will gently redirect us. In the waiting He does His deepest work, He prepares us to receive His blessing. He strengthens our faith by teaching us to have confidence in Him. He protects us by withholding blessings. At times, God simply says no. We may never find out why, but we can be confident that God meticulously works out every detail. Sometimes what we are waiting for becomes more important to us than God Himself, and so He conforms our desires to His again.
In his song “I Will Wait”, David Leonard sings
“I am reminded from where You have brought me
And where You have placed me for today
I won’t forget that Your hand will hold me
Your love sustains me through the wait
I will wait on You, Lord
I will wait on You, Lord”
The Lord moves in mysterious ways, but He never makes mistakes and He certainly leaves nothing to waste. We are not in control. But we can choose to have faith in the Lord. We can choose to trust God, to put our hope in Him, to ask Him for strength and patience. We can ask Him to give us enduring and expectant hearts. We can choose to be still and know that He is God. We can choose to lift our hands in praise while waiting on what only God can do.
I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. - Psalm 130:5
Blog by Loulou Dannenberg of CrossWay International Baptist Church.
Published on 14. April 2021 from Berlin, Germany.
Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash.