When You Have to Wait

Have you ever been frustrated by having to wait? Not too long ago I was driving the Anthony Henday on the west side of Edmonton. In front of me was an older “cautious driver” who was having trouble getting to the speed limit. You can guess what happened. Someone in a 4x4 was in a hurry and couldn’t get past this vehicle for a few kilometers. Once the way was open to pass the slower diver he pulled up beside her and started yelling and swearing. Right! Like that’s going to help someone who is already nervous about being on the freeway!

I read about a Toronto man who was charged in 2005 because he hit an older lady with his cane. Apparently she was a “slow walker”, refusing to make room for him to pass her on the sidewalk. To be fair, she hit him with her cane too but not as hard!

For those of us who are living in the fast-paced world we’ve created and continue to support, waiting can be a painful experience. But still we wait. We wait in traffic, at hospitals, in grocery store line ups. I was on hold for on the phone for about 30 minutes the other day. In one report a major telecommunication company left someone on hold for 3 hours before customer service was able to talk to them.

Here’s the thing. Sometimes God asks us to wait! Perhaps you’ve been hoping, wishing, praying that your circumstances would change but you continue to struggle on. You don’t understand why the situation remains. You begin to believe that you’re either a bad person or that you’ve done something to deserve the trouble you’re experiencing. You might even believe that God hasn’t heard your prayers! But He has. His answer is “continue to seek Me, continue to trust Me, wait!”

In the book of Habakkuk the prophet asks God a big question. It’s not unlike the kind of questions people wrestle with today. He asks, “How can You use Babylon to punish Your people when they are way worse than we are?”

Habakkuk describes their way of life like this: they catch their prey (the people of God) like fishermen catch fish in their nets “then they will worship their nets and burn incense in front of them [claiming that] these nets are the gods who have made [them] rich!” (Hab. 1:16).

After pouring his heart out Habakkuk waits to hear from the Lord. And God does answer. God told the prophet that He would deal with Babylon but that “These things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled” (Hab. 2:3). In other words, wait!

Having to wait isn’t necessarily a bad thing. John Ortberg said, “Biblically, waiting is not just something we have to do until we get what we want. Waiting is part of the process of becoming what God wants us to be.”

As you wait for your circumstances to change, for that relationship to improve, for that health concern to be addressed, as you wait ... find strength in the fact that God knows your situation and is working on it. Put your trust fully in His timing.

“Wait for the Lord; Be strong, and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord” (Psalm 27:14).