"Be still and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10) is not a suggestion. It is a gentle, loving answer to the question, "How long do I wait?" and to the emotions we feel when we voice our frustration: "I've been praying about this for days (weeks, months, years)!"
I have a mental image that I rehearse in my mind when I, too, tire of waiting at not seeing an answer.
The image is that of a serene pond, like the one pictured above. All outward appearances indicate that nothing is happening. The water reflects the scenery around it. It might ripple when the wind blows, but basically it looks like a still-life painting.
Underneath the surface, however, the pond teams with activity. Fish scurry amongst the weeds looking for food, tadpoles morph into adult frogs, and the water abounds with microscopic organisms. The underwater microcosm, hidden from our view, contrasts starkly with the serene surface of the pond.
When problems arise we wonder, "Where is God in all this mess?" He assures us in His Word that He has not left us or forsaken us (Deuteronomy 31:8). The minute He heard our prayers He began orchestrating the answer (Daniel 10:12). We send up heartfelt pleas then search to see if the water stirs. Meanwhile God is at work under the surface preparing the people, the connections, the provision that we need. He neither slumbers nor sleeps (Psalm 121:3). While we sleep He is actively working on our situation. At just the right time, His answer will appear. His timing is always perfect.
Like you, I have been praying for people and circumstances and waiting weeks, months and years to see the fruit of those prayers. A lengthy wait does not mean that God does not care or has forgotten.
My last post was four weeks ago. Every week since then I attempted to write a blog but to no avail. I prayed. I jotted down thoughts, but each time I sat down to write nothing flowed. Finally when I asked today, "What do You want me to write about?" I heard the Lord's quiet inner voice say, "Patience in Waiting." At last I had my answer!
Sitting at the keyboard I realized that waiting on the Lord for the right time and the right topic resulted in the content for the blog. Was I always patient? No. I did not understand why nothing came to me when I prayed and attempted to write. Why wouldn't God want me to continue sharing what He is teaching me? These last few weeks of waiting made no sense, until now.
What does God want us to learn while we are waiting? It goes far beyond mere patience, although that is a wonderful fruit of the Spirit. As a loving heavenly Father He is teaching us to discern His voice. Deception is rampant and will only increase as Satan attempts to delude believers. The enemy loves to throw out a quick fix in hopes of snaring us.
Learning to wait upon the Lord sharpens our discernment skills. A thought pops in our heads. Is it from God? We must take the time to test whether it originated with God, our flesh or the deceiver. God is not in any hurry and neither should we be. It is more prudent to wait than to jump in with our own fix only to find ourselves undoing the damage we have done by not waiting. Think of Sarah and Ishmael whenever you are tempted to rush God's answer (Genesis 16).
One of my favorite verses is Proverbs 16:3 (Amplified translation): "Roll your works upon the Lord [commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and] so shall your plans be established and succeed."
- If we want God's best answer to our prayers we must be willing to wait for His perfect timing even if that means weeks, months or years.
- Focus on the Lord - who He is, and His promises - not on your situation.
- A quick solution may come from the wrong source. Take the time to get confirmation.
- If we have truly committed our situation to the Lord and if we are willing to wait on Him, He promises to cause our thoughts to agree with His. It's a guarantee for success!