Waiting on God is not easy for most people. Especially when you are waiting for God to deliver you or help you in difficult circumstances. There are times in our life when God does not respond immediately to our prayers. Or to our cries for help. It may seem that God is not aware of your difficulties, or that He is not going to respond. These times can be confusing. And it may even seem like God is far away, or just plain not listening.
Fortunately we have some insight and guidance in God’s word to help us during the difficult times we have when we need to wait on God. There are some examples in the Bible of other people’s struggles with God not responding immediately to their prayers. And having to wait on Him for deliverance or help. In Part 1 of this series on Waiting On God we will look at some of these examples.
Waiting On God
The story of Lazarus (John 11)
“Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was the Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. So the sisters sent word to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.” But when Jesus heard this, He said, “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when He heard that he was sick, He then stayed two days longer in the place where He was.” – John 11:1-6
These verses say that Jesus loved Lazarus and his sisters Mary and Martha. But when Lazarus was very ill, Jesus did not go immediately to help Lazarus. It was confusing as to why Jesus did not go to help his beloved friend immediately.
In fact Jesus purposely waited until Lazarus died, and then he went to them. You could understand why some people would think “What kind of friend is this ?”. They must have thought “why would you wait, if you loved us ?”. Imagine your thoughts and feelings if you were in that situation.
Your feelings & emotions and thoughts would not have been the truth about the situation, or about what Jesus was doing. Our emotions & feelings, and what we think we see in circumstances are usually not the truth about what is happening. Or about what God is doing in and through the situation. Often times our emotions and what we see are deceiving.
Waiting On God
Here was Mary’s reaction: Therefore, when Mary came where Jesus was, she saw Him, and fell at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled. – John 11:32-33
Jesus’ reaction to Mary’s words shows how much He cares for them (and for us). He was deeply moved and troubled by their sorrow.
But Jesus had something different in mind for this situation than Martha and Mary did. They thought he would come immediately and heal Lazarus. Like He had healed so many before.
Instead Jesus waited until Lazarus died, and then raised him from the dead. The result was that God and Jesus were greatly glorified. And ultimately many people believed that Jesus was the promised Messiah.
“Therefore many of the Jews who came to Mary, and saw what He had done, believed in Him.” – John 11:45
Waiting On God – God Is God And We Are Not
God is God, and we are not. He does not do things the way we would do them. Or the way we think He should do them.
God even tells us this in His word: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts”. – Isaiah 55:8-9
Even though waiting on God is difficult, we must learn to trust God, especially in difficult circumstances. Especially when we do not understand at all what He is doing. Or when He appears to not care about us. Or when it appears like He is not listening to our prayers or is not going to answer. Going through these circumstances helps to strengthen our faith in the Lord. And it leads to a powerful personal experience of God’s faithfulness, power, and wisdom.
Biblical Examples of People Who Had to Wait On God
There are many other examples in the Bible of people who went through the experience of waiting on God. In some cases they needed to wait many years before God responded to their prayers or cries for help. Or they had to wait for something that God had promised.
Waiting On God – Job
Job suffered more than most people would ever have to suffer in their life. For a long time God never answered Job’s prayers. And it left him feeling sorry for himself and very confused. Yet he never walked away from God.
“Oh, that I had someone to hear me ! I sign now my defense-let the Almighty answer me; let my accuser put his indictment in writing.” – Job 31:35
Finally God did answer Job. “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? “Now gird up your loins like a man, and I will ask you, and you instruct Me! “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding, Who set its measurements? Since you know…” (Job 38:1 to Job 40:1 and Job 40:6 to Job 41:34)
Job was humbled by the suffering and by God’s rebuke. In the end Job knew God more intimately by experiencing Him in a real and personal way. Job said this about the experience: “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees You; Therefore I retract, and I repent in dust and ashes.” – Job 42:5-6
In the end God restored everything Job lost two-fold. But the greatest blessing for Job was that he had a deeper and more intimate knowledge and intimate fellowship with God. (Job 42:10-17)
In Part 2 of our series on Waiting On God we will continue to look at real examples of real people that needed to wait on God.
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This article was originally published by Kevin Bart at Pursuing Intimacy With God.