Why would God call you to grab hold of something, and then suddenly leave you hanging? Or to put it another way, why would God speak to your heart with a promise of something new – a new direction for your life – and then, once you have accepted it… His leading seems to go cold and silent? He leaves you only to wait … and sometimes dismally so.
Have you ever felt that way? It’s okay to admit it. In fact, it may surprise you to know that some of the most devout and respected Christian leaders of our time have expressed having those same thoughts. It’s a pretty common experience.
“At such times, questions run through our minds: Is He listening? Does He care? Why won’t He help me? If you’ve experienced a situation like this, you are not alone.” From What we should do when our prayers remain unanswered, by Charles Stanley
Not only is this common in our time, but it is a recurring theme throughout the Bible.
- Abraham waited for 25 years before receiving the promise that a son would be born to him.
- Joseph was made to become, first a slave and the then a prisoner – for several years – before realizing the promise that God had given him in a dream.
- Moses – once a prince in Pharaoh’s palace – was made to tend sheep in the wilderness for forty years, before being sent back to Egypt where he led the future Israelites out of slavery, just as God said that he would.
So why do we have to wait? Is God somehow unprepared for completing the things that He has planned for us? Does God need time to get His act together before things can actually begin to happen? Of course not. He is God. He is all powerful, all knowing, and all present. It’s not a matter of God needing the extra time, but rather: ‘it’s us.’ Let’s consider Moses’ experience again:
“Moses saw the oppression of his people and felt certain that he was the one to deliver them, and in the righteous indignation of his own spirit he started to right their wrongs. After he launched his first strike for God and for what was right, God allowed Moses to be driven into empty discouragement, sending him into the desert to feed sheep for forty years. At the end of that time, God appeared to Moses and said to him, ” ’. . . bring My people . . . out of Egypt.’ But Moses said to God, ’Who am I that I should go . . . ?’ ” (Exodus 3:10-11). In the beginning Moses had realized that he was the one to deliver the people, but he had to be trained and disciplined by God first. He was right in his individual perspective, but he was not the person for the work until he had learned true fellowship and oneness with God.” From Individual Discouragement and Personal Growth, by Oswald Chambers
The truth is, even when we might think that we are ready for the next step or phase in our lives, we often are not. God knows this and He also knows exactly what—or how long—it will take to get us there. “The Lord isn’t slow to do what he promised, as some people think. Rather, he is patient for your sake. 2 Peter 3:9a (GW)
Isaiah 30:18 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)
The Lord is waiting to be kind to you.
He rises to have compassion on you.
The Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all those who wait for him.