My 7-year-old sons concept of time is still developing. He thinks that a two-minute wait is an enormous amount of time; to a 7 year it probably feels like it is! Waiting can feel like a challenge at whatever age we are. I have many promises that God has made me that I am still waiting for him to fulfil. When God asks us to wait on a promise it can feel like a challenge; the important thing is that how we wait matters. We can either wait passively or expectantly.
Often when God promises us something we can become passive in the waiting. We sit back and wait on God to fulfil it, but as time goes on we start to feel frustrated and disappointed in God and start to fix it ourselves. This process can lead us to feel bitter, angry.
The other way to wait is to wait expectantly. This is a wait that involves hope and belief that what God has promised he will fulfill. It is living with a hope and a faith that the God is faithful to keeping his promises. When the Bible talks about faith and hope it refers to the great heroes of the faith and I love what is says about Sarah –
“By faith, barren Sarah was able to become pregnant, old woman as she was at the time, because she believed the One who made a promise would do what he said. That’s how it happened that from one man’s dead and shriveled loins there are now people numbering into the millions.” Hebrews 11:11-12 (Msg)
Now we know from the story that while Sarah did end waiting expectantly it was a journey. Firstly she did try to fix God’s promise herself by starting a family line through her servant Hagar. But once she stopped trying to fix it herself she lived with hope; despite all the evidence to the contrary she lived believing what God had promised. She waited expectantly. She lived knowing that the God who brought her to it would bring her through it. How do we wait? Do we go to God and surrender our will to his or do we allow the waiting to drive us from God?
Paul and Silas knew about waiting. In Acts 16 they’s been thrown into prison after being attacked and beaten. They were in prison, chained, unable to get out and instead of allowing despair to come they waited on God.
“But at about midnight as Paul and Silas ere praying and singing hymns of praise to God…suddenly there was a great earthquake so that the very foundations of the prison were shaken and all at once the doors were opened and everyone’s shackles were unfastened.” Acts 16:25-26
Despite their circumstances Paul and Silas lived knowing God would show up. When we are waiting we need to do the same. They hoped, they believed, they praised, they worshipped, they allowed God to be their everything. Waiting means surrender to our own dreams and desires, it is the choice to hope and serve God while we wait believing in the God who keeps his promises. How are you waiting?