Faith, patience, trust, Water from the Sanctuary Week 3
God's purpose in making us wait.
“I have called upon You, for You will hear me, O God;” Psalms 17:6
God has a purpose in making us wait...
Sometimes we pray and we pray and we don’t see the response that we want or the response that we feel that we need from God. We have been taught and we have memorized so many verses about prayer. For example, we know that “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” James 5:16 so why am I still sick?
We know that “this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him” 1 John 5:14-15 so why are there single mothers in this world who have prayed to the God of provision who are still struggling to make ends meet?
Everyone knows that with faith the size of a mustard seed we can move mountains, so why am I still staring at mine?
Perhaps, just maybe, God has a purpose in making us wait.
The just shall live by faith...
I know none of us like to wait, but let’s explore the benefits that God brings into our lives when he makes us wait on his answer.
First of all, let’s talk about what faith is and what faith is not. Faith is “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” Hebrews 11:1. Therefore by definition once you receive something, even if you received it by faith, you no longer require faith to believe in its possibility.
“We were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? Romans 8:24. Faith is not believing in something you have seen. You cannot have faith in a God you have seen, that is why Jesus said to Thomas: “because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” John 20:29.
The Bible also tells us, once in the Old Testament and three times in the New Testament, that: “the just shall live by faith” (Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11 and Hebrews 10:38). If our justice (our righteousness) comes by faith and faith is the substance of those things that we are hoping for without having seen them yet, then God has to make us wait in order to build in us that which will bring us our righteousness.
Let patience have its perfect work...
Our Heavenly Father is good and loving and he gives good gifts. He knows which gifts are good for us. He knows much better than we do. That is why Proverbs 10:22 says: “The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.” God will only give us a blessing in its proper time, when no sorrow will come with it if we allow him to guide our life. If we don’t want to wait, we can push and push until we get what we want, but we will likely find a great deal of sorrow at the end.
Aside from cultivating faith without which it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6) learning to wait teaches us patience.
No one wants to learn patience. No one wants to learn how to wait well, especially not in our “I want it- and I want it now!!” culture. We have been conditioned to expect answers immediately. We have phones in our hands that can find the answer to virtually any question we dare ask. Those same phones can get us food and movie tickets and the list goes on, all without our having to wait or even move from our sofa!
Every industry is moving toward catering to this “Me! Me! Me!” “Now! Now! Now!” mentality. So why is our God a God who “will hear us?” Maybe he won’t hear and respond right now, but he has certainly never been late in doing so! But why is he a not a God of right now? The Bible tells us in James 1:3-4 “the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”
I am not sure how allowing patience, in other words waiting will cause me to lack nothing, but, oh boy, do I like that promise! For a promise like that I am willing to try! Sometimes all we can do is hold onto the promises in God’s word to convince ourselves that it is worth it to do things God’s way as opposed to the world’s way.
If we don’t want to wait, we can push and push until we get what we want, but we will likely find a great deal of sorrow at the end.
Are you holding onto your tears?
Real and true relationship...
The final reason why God is not a God of “now” is that we need to learn to trust him and trust is built on multiple experiences with a person who is stable, loving and shows themselves to be the same person over multiple interactions. God cannot do this for us if our relationship with him is transactional. If we simply say God I want a new car and ‘poof’ we have a new car, sure it might seem we that we learn to trust him because he gives us everything we want, but there is no relationship built. There is no give and take, no real trust built from knowing another person.
I want, and I hope that after reading this, you want a real relationship with the God who “will hear” maybe not now, maybe not tomorrow, but certainly just in time. He desires that real and true relationship with you in which you trust him whether you are having your tears wiped by a God who just said “no,” are being held by a silent God, or are running giddy from the feet of a God who just said “yes!”
God will wipe your tears away if you let him. He wants to be close to you, he wants to hold you while you wait, console you when the answer is no and celebrate with you when the answer is yes. Many times we shut him out. Many times we search him out when we want something, but if the answer is "wait" we look for someone to hold us through the waiting. If the answer is "No." We take our tears to someone else and if the answer is "yes!" Well, sometimes we don't even remember to say "thank you!"
Funny things is, we are the ones who need the relationship with Him and not the other way around, but in his loving grace, he is the one who seeks us out!