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Waiting is not a waste!
- Jacob Ninan
We know that it is one of the most difficult things for us as human beings to wait for God's answer. Our intellectual problem is that we know He can, and can't understand why He doesn't! Our emotional problem is that we so much want what we have asked for that it is almost unbearable to live without it. Our spiritual problem is that the devil questions how we can trust God when He doesn't answer our prayers. But why does He delay?
Instant gratification is what we would like. But that's what 'spoils' kids. Even world history teaches us that those who become great in any area of life are always those who have learned to curb this impatience and learn to wait for the right time.
There are several examples in the Bible of those who had to wait. We know Abraham who had to wait 25 years before he received the son whom God had promised. Moses had to wait 40 years in the desert before God called him to lead His people, for which Moses had thought he was ready 40 years earlier. After David was anointed as king of Israel he not only had to wait to actually become king, but in the meantime he had to run for his life from place to place. After Joseph received two dreams that suggested honour and respect, he seemed to go further down with each step during the next 13 years.
God is no sadist, as the devil would have us think. He takes no thrill in watching our anguish. When He does something for us, we can be sure that He has a clear and good purpose for us (Je.29:11). He sits in heaven and does whatever He chooses, and no one can stop Him (Ps.115:3;Da.4:35). He is well able to do, then and there, what we ask for, but He believes He can give us something far better than what we have asked for (Ep.3:20). If we instantly got what we wanted, that would be all we would get. But when He deals with us during our time of waiting He changes and transforms us, our way of thinking, our understanding of Him and life, etc., and finally He gives us what we want or something even better.
Waiting tests our faith in God. It causes us to examine our priorities about what is important to us. We get to know God better through direct interaction with Him rather than through second hand information. It makes us tougher and less easily moved. It leaves us with more maturity to handle the thing we asked for than we would have had otherwise. It causes us to understand what others go through in similar situations, and perhaps that initiates our ministry towards them (2Co.1:4).
When we wait for some of the promises of God to be fulfilled in our life, perhaps what we need is endurance (He.10:36). How foolish it would be to get impatient and give up after some time, when the answer is already on its way! Those who place their trust in the Lord will not be put to shame ultimately (Ps.9:10), as we shall see with hindsight. Even if we face challenges on the way to the promises, let's not forget that only our impatience can divert us.