I’ve found faith to be more of a journey that I share with someone – a relational journey like a marriage – than some gadget I carry around and use when I need it. It’s a journey that involves movement, change, growth, steps forward, steps backward, and… waiting on God to keep his promises.
For most of us it’s waiting’s that’s the hardest part of the journey. As I look back over my own journey I realize I’ve spent most of my days waiting. It’s wonderful when God fulfills promises. But on the other hand, it can be excruciating having to wait.
One of the most difficult realities I’ve had to come to grips with is the fact that God is in no hurry to work out his plans. Just ask Abraham, Moses, David and Paul. His timing is not my timing. He doesn’t seem to be in the same rush I’m in.He actually uses delays to carry out his plans. It’s been critical for me to learn how to “wait God out” when he’s delayed keeping a promise or answering a prayer because it’s been during times of waiting that I’ve been most open to becoming impatient, making bad decisions, becoming discouraged, and being flat out disobedient.
Since I’m so vulnerable during delays I’ve learned to take extra precautions. I check to see that my focus is on God because it may have become misdirected. My mind and prayers might be so fixed on some need or desire that my attention has shifted away from God turning this need or desire into an idol. God may be delaying his answer until I get my heart straight and refocus on him.
I check my motives. I might have to honestly ask myself if what I’m asking for is God-honoring and not selfish. Am I trying to twist God’s arm to get what I want? If it turns out that I am I’ve made it a habit to humble myself and make things right with him as quickly as possible. Thank God for forgiveness!
I also check to see if I’ve been harboring some sinful attitude or consistently and persistently disobeying him. Undealt-with sin gets in the way. The psalmist said, If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened… (Psalm 68:18). I ask myself, “Am I cooperating with God or am I tying his hands by continuing to sin in some way?” If I am, again I clean up my act pronto.
Now if after prayerfully going through this checklist I can honestly say, I think I’m doing pretty good with these thingsand God still has me waiting, then the best I can do is put that promise back in God’s hands, trust and wait him out knowing that if God said it he’ll do it when the time is right.
What about you? Have you been waiting a long time for God to fulfill a promise you believe he’s made to you? Are you getting impatient? Are you crying out, “When God, when?” Are you tempted to try and help him out or take matters into you own hands? Is waiting robbing of you of joy and peace? Are you ready to give up? Don’t lose heart. Listen to what God told the prophet Habakkuk:
3 But these things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day! (Habakkuk 2:3)
Remember this old saying, “God is never to early and never too late, he’s always right on time!