Hardly a day goes by without my having a conversation with someone who has been “waiting on the Lord” for some sort of answer to prayer, guidance or provision.
Just the recognition that others who we may perceive as being even more spiritual than we are (really?!), seems to immediately help us to accept our circumstance as something other than God’s neglect.
It is truly fascinating to see how quickly we move from expressive praise and thanksgiving to the Lord who answers our prayer, all the way to the other side of the spectrum where we literally begin to doubt if God is listening at all.
Recently, I’ve been reading a book about King David, one of the most prominent figures in all of the Bible. It’s a bit strange that David is well known for his many achievements (defeating Goliath and breaking the bondage of fear to the Philistines, his great skill as a poet and musician, as well as his rather overwhelming skill as a warrior for Israel). When we see that long list of accomplishments, it’s hard to imagine that this is the same man who sinned so dramatically. He was an adulterer, a murderer, a mercenary and not a good role model for a father.
None-the-less, he is described in scripture as “a man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22) and as the most influential king in the history of Israel.
What is rarely understood about David were the long periods of time between the moments God made a declaration or promise over his life to when they came to pass (such as when Samuel anointed him to be the next king of Israel in 1 Samuel 16:12 to when he literally took the throne many, many years later).
What we do in those seasons of waiting for God to act on His promises is very revealing. When we begin to perceive God’s promises to us, whether in scripture or through a messenger from the Lord, as “rights,” we are in danger. We begin to believe that such things are owed to us by God or our “right” that we have been granted. This attitude actually seems to delay the fulfillment of the promise even more. I know many sincere believers who have mistaken the promises of God for something that is “owed” to them by God. When good hearted people begin to claim promises and even demand that they be released by God, they are overlooking one very important dimension. Everything that we receive and are given by God did not come to pass because of some formula that God established, rather all such answers and provisions are more about our relationship with the sovereign God who does work all things together for our good. (Romans 8:28)
I feel encouraged today to speak specifically to those of you who might be in a position of waiting on God to fulfill a promise that you believe he made alive to your heart many weeks, months or even years ago. For whatever reason, the fulfillment of that promise is yet to happen. (I can relate to those kinds of circumstances when speaking about healing for my lower back condition and the significant limitations it places on my life.)
However, my responsibility in this time is to continue to worship and praise the Lord for being my friend, my ever present help in time of need and the one who, because of His character, “will never fail me nor forsake me.” (Hebrews 13:5)
It is that very posture that enables some people to actually grow more in love with God and more confident of His presence in their lives than those who seem to find answers to prayer around every corner on the journey of life.
Remember that even the Lord Jesus did not see the fulfillment of His request to be spared the suffering and death of the crucifixion; but as a result, purchased eternal freedom for all who put their trust in Jesus and what He did for us.
The bottom line is to understand that if God is saying “not yet” to one of His promises, that’s because something far more significant and satisfying is being worked out in the hidden places of His eternal kingdom. Ours is not a faith of formulas, it is a faith of relationships.