When was the last time you heard someone say, “I hope this takes a little longer?” Never. As Americans, we don’t like to wait for anything. If we can’t google it, download an app for it, or get it within 5 minutes we find ourselves at a loss.
Waiting on God can seem even more difficult. We long for him to show up in our lives in the way we want. Maybe it’s healing for a sick family member, a new job, or relief from constant pain and stress. God may be answering your prayer, just not in the way you’d like. He might be saying one of the following things:
Since we get so many things in life instantly, it’s becoming more difficult to understand God’s timing. His plans certainly aren’t our plans. Waiting does seem to develop perseverance though which should lead to increased reliance on Him. Waiting for God is not a new concept. David understood this when he penned Psalm 27:14, “Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” If things in your life are not working out today in the way you’d like, be strong and take heart. God may just be saying not now.
If you order a brand new couch or appliance from the store you normally can’t just walk out of the store with it in most cases. After you order it, you enter the valley of waiting for that purchase you just had to have. While God certainly can and does answer some prayers immediately, I’ve found he often gives us an answer of, not yet. We may not be ready, or God may be orchestrating other events or people. (2 Peter 3:8-9) I’ve only come to better understand this in the past few years as I’ve had the benefit of life experience and age.
Not at all
An answer of not at all may mean that God has something better for us. Our perceived loss, might be an eternal gain. We can miss the fact that God sees the total picture, we don’t. While it can be extremely frustrating, I would remind you that God’s plan is the best plan. He may be protecting you from you, or from something else entirely. Paul asked God 3 different times to take away his “thorn in the flesh”. Instead, God responded with “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:8-9)
God is never late, He’s never early, but always on time, His time.
Here’s a couple things to do while you “wait”:
Pray for discernment, wisdom, and patience.
Read what God did in the lives of other people he made wait. The life of Joseph (Genesis 37-50), David (1 Samuel 16-31) or Paul (2 Corinthians 12)
Look for how God might be working in the midst of your time of waiting.