Waiting is perhaps one of the toughest things to do. Whether waiting upon the Lord or ‘waiting for Godot’, the interminable march of time where nothing seemingly happens can be excruciatingly frustrating. The hectic lifestyles that most of us live exacerbate the problem. We often become annoyed while waiting in line to buy food or trailing behind a slow car in the fast lane. We get anxious when we wait to take an examination, and even more so, when we wait for the results to be announced. We hate the way that the bus or MRT train seems to take forever to arrive. We worry while waiting for medical test results, and fret over when we will meet the person of our dreams. We pray long and hard about a problem that we are facing, and get upset when there appears to be no answer from God.
As Christians however, being impatient is not an option open to us. Instead, the Bible exhorts us to “wait upon the Lord” (Isaiah 40:31), even though it is difficult. Nothing tries our faith like waiting on God for answers to prayer. Waiting is difficult because of our fallen nature. We want to be in control, take things in our own hands, devise our own solutions. However, God is sovereign.
He has His own perfect plans for us and in His time, He will reveal them to us. Jeremiah 29:11 reads “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” So in the meantime, we wait, and here are some reasons why we have to.
First, waiting builds and transforms our character. For one, we learn patience but more generally, waiting erodes the rough edges of our lives. Through waiting, we learn to be more dependent upon God. We also develop an intimacy with Him, just as we become closer to people who stand by us through difficult moments. By being fervent in prayer and examining the scriptures, we begin to see our shortcomings and overcome them, because we want to please our Saviour (2 Corinthians 5:9).
Second, waiting reveals our true motives. If our motives are not right, we will not likely wait long enough for something to happen, or to see through what we have started. Conversely, if our motives are right before our Lord, we will persevere, asking Him for strength and guidance, until we have accomplished what we had set out to do (Romans 8:28).
Third, waiting builds anticipation. Children become excited during Christmas or their birthdays because the wait produces anticipation of presents. When the big day arrives and presents are opened, happiness and gratitude are expressed. Because of the wait, we will tend to cherish what we receive typically more than what others might (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
Finally, waiting increases God’s glory. This works at two levels. One, we submit ourselves and our quest for personal glory to Him. Instead, we adopt a stance that whatever we do, we do so for His glory (Colossians 3:17). Two, the struggles we encounter while waiting become personal testimonies and life experiences that we can employ to minister to others facing similar situations (Galatians 6:2). In the process, people experience the grace and love of God, hence glorifying His name.
Whatever the problem situation or difficult challenge we are facing, the Bible tells us to wait on the Lord because His power is limitless and His steadfast love will see us through (Psalms 103:13-19). That is something worth waiting for.
By Dion Goh (YCKC Bulletin 14&15 March 2015)