I remember as a kid being so impatient! I absolutely hated ever having to wait for anything. Christmas and my birthday seemed to take so long to come around, and I remember our first trip to the beach being the longest five hour ride I had ever experienced up to that point. Our culture in general can be very impatient, and we tend to prefer things to happen instantly. If we want food now, we can just hit a drive-thru. If we need information on anything we can just pull out our phone, and if the website dares to take more than five seconds to load we go completely crazy!
There are times when waiting is necessary, specifically when it comes to God’s direction for our lives. Many times we want God to just draw us a map and give it to us instantly with everything laid out perfectly. However when we pray, God’s response is often for us to wait. There are times when we even know what is coming or what He is calling us to do, but He still insists that we wait. I have seen God come through literally at the last possible minute on many occasions and have been left with this simple question: Why wait? Why can’t God heal the cancer now or at least let us know if He is going to so we can be emotionally prepared. Why can’t God show me where I am supposed to go to college now? Why can’t I meet my future spouse now? Why do I have to wait? Why does God sometimes make us wait? Obviously only God truly knows the answer to such questions, but I have jotted down three reasons why I believe waiting is sometimes necessary.
Waiting Builds Intimacy
“Be still and know that I am God.” -Psalm 46:10
When Jesus ascended into heaven in Acts 1, He had given His followers specific instructions concerning the coming of the holy spirit. His instructions were to wait for the holy spirit to come and they would be filled and equipped to be His witnesses. They did what Jesus said and gathered together in the upper room praying and waiting! This must have been difficult especially after everything that had happened, but God’s primary concern was developing intimacy with Him before sending the holy spirit. God could have sent the spirit immediately and given them their marching orders, but that wasn’t His plan. Often we want the immediate results of seeking God when He mainly wants us to find joy in seeking Him period! Often we want to know the destination of our journey when God mainly wants us to learn what it means to walk with Him during the journey. To put it simply, Jesus wants us to know Him intimately and seeking Him while we wait leads to this intimacy.
Waiting Builds Trust
So often we want to depend on our own plans, creativity, and structure. We like to be in control and know exactly what is coming and how it is going to happen. The idea of trusting without visual confirmation is a hard concept for us to handle. When God tells us to wait, we are forced to completely depend on Him as far as the future goes. Jesus told many of the disciples to simply leave their jobs and follow Him without hardly any details. They had to just trust in Him that they would be provided for while they waited as they followed. Waiting ultimately leads us to trust God and be confident in the fact that we can trust Him. It teaches us that we can take God at His word even if the end result of our obedience has not been seen. When we let go of the reigns and choose to wait, yet see Him come through time and again, we know that He has our backs and that He is a God who can be trusted.
Waiting Builds Character
Finally, waiting ultimately builds our character. While we often just want to know what God wants us to do and where He wants us to be, He desires to make us like His son Jesus! As I look back on my walk with Christ and reflect on the times where I grew the most, I can always trace them to a time of uncertainty or difficult trial where I had to wait. Whenever things just come easily I often get comfortable, apathetic, or even arrogant. However, when we have random curve-balls and don’t have immediate answers it reminds us how dependent we are on God’s provision. This is also when we see His power at work in our lives and the lives of those we interact with. Simply put God wants to develop longevity in us and waiting teaches us the perseverance that develops the character of Christ.
God’s ultimate goal is not for us to live a comfortable life with no problems, but to take up our cross, follow Jesus, and become more like Him daily! If you are waiting on God right now, be encouraged! It just may be that He is preparing you for something so amazing, He wants to first develop your trust and character through intimacy with Him. As hard as it can be, let’s trust His timing and for the time being just enjoy Him! He WILL come through, He cannot fail, and we will be stronger in the end!