Are you (a) patient in the Lord’s waiting room?
Trusting God and trusting in His word sounds easy enough. But when you don’t see the results of your many heartfelt prayers, often times the same prayer request over and over, it becomes more difficult to believe and much easier just to resolve it yourself the way you think it ought to be. Our patience with God’s timing is short-lived.
Take Abram for example. Granted this wasn’t a known prayer request of his, but no doubt he must have been praying for an heir. So when he was 75 years old, married and childless, God spoke to him and promised to make his family line a great nation:
“And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Genesis 12:2-4
When he and his family caravan arrived in Canaan at the Oak of Moreh, the Lord appeared to him again and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” Genesis 12:7
After Abram and Lot separated, the Lord said to Abram, “Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward, for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever. I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring can also be counted.” Genesis 13:14-16
This time God says it in a vision:
“…’Fear not; Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great. Bug Abram said, ‘O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my houses Eliezer of Damascus? Behold, you have give me no offspring, and a member of my household shall be my heir.’ And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, ‘This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.’ And he brought him outside and said, ‘Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.’ Then he said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be.’ And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.” Genesis 15:1-6
By now Sarai, Abram’s wife, is getting frustrated about this child thing. She has heard about God’s continued promises to Abram, but nothing is happening. She is still not pregnant, and certainly isn’t getting any younger! He is 85 and she is 75!
So 10 years after God first promised Abram countless children, because they doubted God’s word and were impatient, they took matters into their hands. He got Hagar, Sarai’s servant, pregnant to carry on his seed and his name. Surely this was what the Lord wanted them to do since Sarai was so old and technically beyond child-bearing years!
13 years later, when Abram was 99, God appeared to him again and said, “You shall be the father of a multitude of nations.” Abram laughed! He doubted again, because he was very, very old, as was Sarai. One year later, when Abraham was 100 and Sarah was 90, their promised son Isaac was born. God kept his word; He kept His promise after 25 years.
Perhaps the Lord was waiting for Abraham and Sarah to get so old that it seemed impossible for them to have a baby. Maybe He wanted to show them that with God, all things are possible.
What we need to remember is that our timing is not God’s timing. Our plans are not necessarily His plans. Our ways are not His ways. He knows what the future holds, and is busy arranging it to be just that. His schedule does not fit into our lifestyle most of the time! Oftentimes, there are many steps that have to occur before our prayer can be answered for a variety of reasons. To question the Lord’s timing and why hasn’t He answered yet, or why is the answer no, is not our job.
That is what He means by faith. To have faith in the Lord means to trust Him across the board, in every aspect. Faith in who He is, that our future is with Him, that He hears our prayers, that His Spirit is within us, that His power is available for us, that He knows our needs, and that He will answer our prayer requests. If we doubt any one of those, perhaps that is a matter of our heart which needs examining. To have the faith of a child; that is what Jesus said.
Hopefully we won’t have to wait 25 years to have our prayer request answered, but if that is what the Lord has in mind, then our job is only to trust and accept that He has a plan. That is where the excitement of christian living is! We have a God that knows our future and has our best interest at heart, whether we believe it or not.
“‘For I know the plans I have for you’, declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all our heart.'”
Jeremiah 29: 11-13
Being in the Lord’s waiting room requires patience, faith, and perseverance. Even though you are waiting on His answer, realize that there are countless others around you in that waiting room as well. Engage in conversation with those near you, find out what their needs are, and pray with them.
“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:20.
Now that’s one way of getting a quicker answer!!
“And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart..”
Food for thought: Patience is a virtue the carries a lot of weight/wait.
Fun fact: The average time in a waiting room is 21 minutes. Do you agree?
Photo by: Kari Wiseman – Man sitting among mountains