Lately I have been noticing in the Bible that God made (and makes) lots of promises. And I believe that He fulfills every single one of His promises. If He says His yoke is easy and His burden is light, then it is. If He says He will send a Messiah, He will (did). If He says we will find Him when we seek Him, then we will.
What I've found is that it's the space in between the promise and the fulfillment that is so difficult. The waiting. And this is where I think we can identify with Israel. They knew the promises God had made to Abraham, the prohesies about the Messiah, and think about how long they waited. Not to mention the fact that the fulfillment looked nothing like what they had imagined (but that's another thought, for another time).
When I am calling upon and believing upon the promises of God, I want them NOW. Not a few days, weeks, months, years, or decades from now, but NOW. You know that verse that says crying may last for an evening, but joy comes in the morning? I don't want to wait a whole evening, I want to stop crying and have joy NOW.
I think this might be where faith comes in. Lots of times I want to skip faith. I want to go straight from belief to living in victory. But I have learned that the valley between my belief in God's healing and power and my actual experience of walking in it can be long and deep. During that time all I can do is keep my eyes on the prize and hold on. And even though I've come to realize this, I'm still often tempted to despair, to give up, to think God isn't listening and doesn't care about my desire to walk in wholeness.
What are you waiting for God to do in your life? Heal depression? Provide you with a job? Bring you a spouse? Recovery from illness? Stronger faith? Loving Him more? Not being so tempted by sin? Restoration of a relationship? I truly believe He's working on it - for His glory and your joy. You just might have to wait. And only God knows how long.
But really there must be something to this whole waiting thing. Remember the part in the Gospels where Mary and Martha are all upset that Lazarus is sick and they want Jesus to come heal him and instead He WAITS until Lazarus is dead? I looked up some other verses with the theme of waiting and this is what I found:
- Noah & Co. waited a long time to get off that stinky ark.
- Ruth had to wait to see what Boaz would say concerning her fate.
- Hannah had to wait for a son (oh, how I love Hannah).
- Job had to wait for his awful suffering to end.
- Psalm 27:14 - Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!
- Psalm 69:3 - I am weary with my crying out; my throat is parched. My eyes grow dimwith waiting for my God.
- Proverbs 8:34 - Blessed is the one who listens to me,watching daily at my gates,waiting beside my doors.
- Romans 8:23 - And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
- Romans 8:25 - But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
- Galatians 5:5 - For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness.
- Hebrews 6:15 - And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise.
- Hebrews 10:12-13 - But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet.
- 2 Peter 3:13 - But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
- Jude 1:20-22 - But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt;
So, you can see we're in good company. We're not the first saints to wait and I'm sure we won't be the last. It's what we do in the waiting that is key. Do we cling to faith, to hope, to who God is? Do we trust His character and love when we don't understand His actions (or lack thereof)? Waiting is a testing ground, a grooming process. Will you draw closer to your Creator or will you turn from Him in frustration?
Waiting for God's promises and God's provision is always worth it. Even when He provides in ways we couldn't have imagined. Sometimes it might even take years to understand and see how He provided, but He always provides.
I think He knows that the real prize isn't what we're waiting for (although that can be great), the real prize is drawing closer to Him in our waiting, seeing Him move, and realizing that His ways are so insanely better than our own.
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6