Waiting is hard to do.

I don’t like waiting. It always seems like such a waste of time. And from what I can tell around me, hating to wait is the REAL pandemic.

I’m as guilty as the next person when it comes to sneaking a glance at text messages when stopped at a red light. I’ve been snapped back to reality by the honk of a horn when I’ve gotten too engrossed in reading my messages. But I had to laugh a few weeks ago when I was pulling up behind some cars that had stopped at a traffic light and one of the people waiting in line beeped their horn within a quarter second of the light change. That person REALLY hates waiting!

Whether we’re waiting in line at a fast food place, waiting for the bus or train to come, waiting in line at a doctor’s office or waiting for an upcoming event – waiting is always a difficult thing to do. All you have to do is mention the three letters “DMV” and people begin to get agitated.

A couple of days ago my wife had to visit the store of our cellular provider to fix a phone issue. She waited for over an hour to fix a five minute problem. The thing that exacerbated her frustration was an employee who sat for most of that time and ignored the customers in line. Feeling ignored by someone whose job it is to assist you is a sure way to get your frustration levels up to the top of your scale.

Actually, that brings us to today’s verse:

Sometimes dealing with God feels an awful lot like being ignored by someone whose job it is to assist you, doesn’t it?

We learn from His word that He is all knowing, present everywhere, and infinitely powerful. Not only that, but He tells us that He loves us. So this seems like the perfect mix of qualities for a God who would never keep us waiting.

He’s never surprised when a need arises in our lives, even when we are. His ability to respond is never limited, even when ours is. And His available resources are never constrained, even when ours are. So why, we wonder, do we end up having to wait for God to answer our prayers?

Part of the issue, of course, is that our perspective of the overall picture is quite limited. We simply do not see things from the perspective God does. Another part is that we don’t understand that waiting on God is not a waste of time, it is a developmental process that benefits us greatly.

The issue of not understanding is what causes the greatest amount of questions and the deepest of our pain. We face serious situations often involving life-threatening issues. Our loved ones or ourselves have needs that cannot be met by the resources we have in our hands. It may be a life threatening illness or a debilitating accident that drives us to our knees. It could be a financial challenge we cannot possibly afford. We face these situations and ask God for deliverance. Or intervention. Or at least some assistance. And then we wait. Listening.

And sometimes we hear nothing.

So we begin to wonder why. We’re waiting, and trying to do “all the right things” while we wait. We’re seeking Him. We’re trying to be patient.

What can you do when you don’t know what ELSE to do? What does God expect of us as we wait upon Him?

Let’s discuss a few lessons I’ve learned along the way. I hope they’ll help you.

First of all, I realize that grappling with life-and-death issues is not something to be met with glib answers. That’s not my intention, even though I realize that these next words of mine may sound that way if you’re in the midst of a personal crisis. I’ve been there, and my best counsel for walking through the dark valleys is this — Don’t forget in the darkness what you’ve learned in the light. I can’t tell you everything that will lie along the path to the answer of your prayer. But I can tell you that, at the end of the path, you’ll find a God who cares deeply. It has been said that hindsight is 20-20. I can tell you that you will look back and see that God has been faithful.


Waiting on God is not some passive hang-in-there-and-see-what-happens waste of time. No, our waiting on the Lord involves an active faith.

We need to quiet our hearts as we wait upon God. The bible tells us that in quietness and confidence is our strength. Let the love of God draw you closer to Him. The psalm writer says, “I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a child quieted at its mother’s breast; like a child that is quieted is my soul.” When our children were younger, my wife and I used to have “cuddle time” in the morning. As they awoke, the children would come into our bedroom and they’d begin the day enjoying the strength that comes from close and caring parents. There’s something special about being held close by loving strong arms.

Intimacy does not flow out of time together in a group, intimacy flows out of time together one on one. This is why time alone with the Lord is critical. It develops the intimacy that undergirds our walk. Scripture calls the Church “the bride of Christ” – and the Bridegroom desires a deliberate and deepening closeness with His bride. As you wait upon the Lord and listen for His answer to your prayers of deep need, don’t forget to let Him draw you close. His touch is a healing touch, and His peace passes all understanding. That means that deliberately placing yourself in His presence will allow peace to dwell within you even when it makes no sense. You can have peace even when you don’t yet have answers. First lesson, let the peace of God guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Hearts and minds. Emotions and thoughts. Soak them in His peace. You might call this “pressing in.”

The second lesson deals with our determination. You might call this “pressing on.” Don’t allow unmet needs or unanswered prayer to be a barrier to walking out your faith and serving Him. Our reasonable service to God requires that we continue to present our bodies as a living sacrifice to Him. Living for Him day by day, running with perseverance the race that has been set out before us. We were created with a purpose, we have a call to fulfill. You ought not wait for every prayer to be totally fulfilled in your life before you start serving Him any more than you’d wait for every light to turn green before you pull out of your driveway to go to work. Do the good that God has called you and gifted you to do.

After you’ve pressed in and have determined to press on, my final encouragement to you is that you keep an attitude of expectancy. Keep looking to God for His grace, His strength, His wisdom … and His answers in His time. Waiting on God is not passive, it is incredibly active. Keep looking for God’s answer, keep expecting Him to work in you and through you. And as you’re looking, keep looking up.
When you’re facing a problem, what you see will be a function of which direction you look. Look DOWN and see the problem, look UP and see the problem SOLVER. His answers will come. Probably not in your time frame (because we want all our answers NOW), and certainly not always the answer we had hoped for (because we want all of the answers to our prayers to be YES).


What do you do when you can’t look up, because you’re in so much pain or confusion that you don’t know which direction is up? Recently I read about a man who survived a speedboat racing accident. His boat was running close to top speed, and it bounced and then hit a wave at a dangerous angle. The combination of speed, size and angle of the wave sent the boat spinning crazily into the air. The force of the spin caused him to be thrown from his seat while the boat was upside down, propelling him deeply into the water. So deep, in fact, that he had no idea which direction the surface was. He had to remain calm and wait for the buoyancy of his life vest to begin pulling him up. Once he knew which way was up, he could add his efforts and swim for the surface.

When your life has gone so topsy turvy that you find yourself in deep water, when you’re in over your head and have no idea which direction is up — remain calm; God knows the proper direction. Your “life vest” may be some other Christians, a verse of scripture, a small daily devotional written by an anglican bishop, or even some leading from the Holy Spirit. But God will not abandon you. He will lift you up.

In 1979 a Christian music group named “The Imperials” released a song whose chorus sums up today’s devotional quite well …

He didn’t bring us this far to leave us
He didn’t teach us to swim to let us drown
He didn’t build His home in us to move away
He didn’t lift us up to let us down


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