In my first book I said that the word “wait” was the worst four-letter word in the entire Bible. I still think it is the hardest word to put into practice. Isaiah 30:18 tells us that God waits to be gracious to us and shows mercy to us in the meantime. The verse then ends with the fact that those who wait for Him are indeed blessed.
Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore He exalts Himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for Him.
So, I’ve been thinking… Why does God wait? Why does He make us wait? He is God! He could just have a thought and it would instantly happen. Miracles take no effort on His part. Like the universe, He just speaks and it comes into being.
I had a pastor years ago who was talking about the trials and suffering we face in life. He said, “It takes crushed grapes to make sweet wine.” He was right. But you know, it also takes something else to make sweet wine. It also takes time. Time to mature, time to sweeten, time to give God the glory for everything we learn along the way.
Is God making you wait? Have you been praying for something for a long, long time? When I’m waiting I run through a mental checklist of faith. It goes like this:
- Is God, God? Yes!
- Can He do anything He wants to? Yes!
- Can He make miracles happen? Yes!
- Have I prayed and surrendered to His will on this? Yes!
- Could He do it? Yes!
- Has He done it? No!
- Do I know why? It’s none of my business! God knows what He’s doing!
Now there are lots of reasons why God doesn’t answer prayers. In Matthew 7:7-11 Jesus says that a good father doesn’t give a snake when the son asks for a fish. But I’ve been thinking… what if the son, in his ignorance, asks for a poisonous snake? A good father will say, “NO – but wait – I’ve got something coming that will be even better for you.”
Because we live in an “instant” world of fast food and microwave cooking, when we pray, we want the answers to be “what we want – and when we want them.” God often answers our prayers with, “NO – but wait – I’ve got something coming that will be even better for you.”
If we search the scriptures we find that God often makes people wait for blessings. Even his “special” people have to wait. I’ve been thinking about Abraham who waits many years for the promised son, Joseph who had to wait in jail for God’s plan to come about, Moses who waits 40 years tending sheep in Moab before God gives him the call to ministry, David who waits years between being anointed king and actually being king, Daniel who had to wait for his dream to be explained, Paul who waited about 14 years before he went on his very first missionary journey. These were not spiritual lightweights yet God put them on hold for significant periods to produce the “sweet wine” we each can learn from today.
Even Jesus waited 18 years to start His earthly ministry. He was 12 in the temple with the wise men when He showed He was fully equipped to begin teaching and ministering. But God had Him wait until He was 30 to start His public ministry of building His church. Why did God make even Jesus wait? Luke 2:52 gives us the clue. It says,
“And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.”
Perhaps God is giving each of us an opportunity in our waiting – an opportunity to give Him all the glory and praise for the process. Through the process of waiting and learning how to submit to God’s will in our waiting, God is increasing our wisdom, and our stature, and our favor with people around us, and our favor with God himself. That’s a growing process. If we can graciously wait on God, it can be a real testimony to those who haven’t yet learned to. And… That is why God gives us the growing experiences of making us wait. He’s waiting until we are “sweet enough” for His purposes. So, while you’re waiting on God be the best “waiter” ever, giving Him all the praise and glory along the way.
But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31
Think about it…