in the waiting . . .
I yell at my phone when it freezes…hurry! I push the elevator button again and again as if that will make the doors open any faster. If a website doesn’t load within seconds, I move on.
Sometimes when I text my husband and don’t get a quick response, I’ll call and leave a message. When he doesn’t call back, I might resort to texting a series of annoying question marks. ? … ? … ? He does this to me too!
Patience. What in the world is that?
Four days for an Amazon delivery? That’s an eternity. Technology has conditioned us for instant gratification with a click of the mouse.Why wait a whole week for the next episode when you can download the entire season and binge watch to your heart’s content?
Satisfaction at our fingertips.
That’s what we want. We’ve become the least thoughtful, most impatient culture of all time.
Our patience as online users is almost nonexistent. We want meaningful answers, but give it to us in a soundbite. After a few seconds of buffering, we simply click the back arrow and jump to another site. What if we were that hasty and impatient with ourselves and others? At what point do we consider bailing out—not just on a website that’s clunky or slow—but more seriously, on a career, a friendship, a marriage?
But even in the age of instant-everything, some things take time. And the best things in life are more than a click away. Patience is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Fruit takes time to bud and grow and ripen. So what should we do when our deepest questions can’t be googled and the answers to our prayers take longer than we expect?
Keep praying and don’t give up!
Pray like David, that giant-slaying, shepherd-king of Israel, who earned his Ph.D. in waiting on God. Reading his prayers shows us how it’s done.
“I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and He turned to me and heard my cry” (Psalm 40:1).
“Indeed, none of those who wait for You will be ashamed” (Psalm 25:3).
“Wait for the Lord. Be strong and let your heart take courage. Yes wait for the Lord” (Psalm 27:14).
But is waiting on God like hitting the pause button on prayer? Not at all. If anything, the waiting intensifies and should make us more active in our prayers. In Psalm 130, David pours out his heart to the Lord and doesn’t hold back.
“From the depths of despair, O Lord, I call for Your help. Hear my cry, O Lord! Pay attention to my prayer”(Psalm 130:1-2).
A few things to consider:
- Consider yourself. As he waits, David reflects and examines the state of his heart and life. “Lord, if You kept a record of our sins, who, O Lord, could ever survive? But You offer forgiveness, that we might learn to fear You” (Psalm 130:3-4). While we wait, we can search our own hearts to confess any sin that may hinder an answer to our prayer. “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends You and lead me along the path of everlasting life” (Psalm 139:23-24).
- Consider your prayers. The answer may be delayed because we’re asking for the wrong things and for the wrong reasons. James explains that, “Even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure” (James 4:3).
- Consider your focus. Waiting helps us to focus (and refocus) our heart, soul and mind. David doesn’t twiddle his thumbs and pace the floor—he focuses his thoughts and aligns himself with God’s Word. “I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait, and in His Word do I hope” (Psalm 130:5 NASB). Reading and repeating God’s Word helps us focus on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable (Philippians 4:8). God’s Word is the plumb line for our prayers. When we pray the scriptures, we pray the thoughts of God and His will is certain.
- Consider God’s ways and be watchful. David prayed, “My soul waits for the Lord more than the watchman for the morning; indeed, more than the watchman for the morning” (Psalm 130:6). God may answer prayer in ways we don’t expect. When Elijah prayed fervently for rain, the answer came in a cloud as small as a man’s hand, on the horizon (1 Kings 18:44). Waiting requires watchfulness, so don’t dismiss those whispers from heaven.
- Consider God’s purpose and stay hopeful. Even as he waits, David reminds himself (and us!) who God is, what God has done, and why we should continue to hope in Him. “Oh Israel, hope in the Lord; for with the Lord there is unfailing love. His redemption overflows” (Psalm 130:7NLT). God wants us to live with great expectations, with an enduring sense that God is for us, that He loves us deeply and will, at any moment, move in power on our behalf.
When God delays, He isn’t disconnected.
He waits … with purpose. He is after a purpose greater than our immediate gratification. Remember, God doesn’t just fix our problems—He fixes us in the process! So, what should we do in the waiting? Keep praying. Keep trusting. Keep going.
The best really is yet to come!
In time, we will receive what can’t be lost and the waiting will only increase our joy!
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Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble and keep on praying.