Waiting On God

Posted byEnglish Editor May 28, 2018 Comments:0

It’s been said, “Waiting for God to bring His purposes to pass is the biggest problem we face in our Christian life; there is something within us that would rather do the wrong thing than wait.” True words!

One of the Christian life realities is that none of us have a natural inclination to wait. We want to get something, and we want to get it now! Despite often reaping painful consequences for failing to wait, we are still prone to committing this sin often. An all-knowing God is fully aware of this tendency of ours. That is why he has repeated often in his word about the need for us to wait for him and not rush ahead. 

What does it mean to wait for the Lord? 

It does not mean being lazy or being passive. It simply means to “actively trust in God alone to come through for us.” It means we turn from trusting in our wisdom, riches, strength, and connections with people and trusting in God alone.

Taking it upon ourselves to change a situation or grumbling and complaining that the wait is too long will bring nothing but the loss of peace and much misery. George MacDonald rightly said, “In whatever man does without God, he must either fail miserably or succeed even more miserably.”

Wayne Stiles, in his excellent book, “Waiting on God” writes:

We want happiness first; God wants holiness. We want pleasure; God wants purity. Just like waiting at a red signal—if we skip the signal, we can [and at times do] get into an accident. Same way, if we jump ahead of God because waiting seems to be such a waste of time, we will get hurt. Waiting is a process through which God changes us—more than changing the circumstances.

Perhaps, you are tired and discouraged as a result of waiting for the Lord. “How long, O Lord?” is your constant cry. You are almost at the point of quitting. Don’t! I want you to enjoy the blessings that come as a result of waiting for the Lord by focusing on Isaiah 64:4-5a:

4 Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him. 5 You come to the help of those who gladly do right, who remember your ways.”

This passage tells us in clear terms that God acts on behalf of those who wait for him [4b] by coming to help them [5a]. However, it also says the 2 characteristics listed below should mark our lives if we desire God to act on our behalf.

1. We should have a high view of God’s Character [4a]

2. We should pursue a holy life [5a]

Nothing new and unfamiliar to us. But hopefully, a good reminder that will encourage us to wait for the Lord.

1. We should have a high view of God’s Character [4a]

Notice how the first part of Isaiah 64:4 reads, “Since ancient times no one heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you.” Isaiah had a high view of God. Before this verse, Isaiah mentioned God’s actions in the past, specifically making the mountains quake [Isaiah 64:3]. This was a reference to the shaking of Mount Sinai when God gave the ten commandments. Isaiah sees the God of the Bible as a mighty and powerful God and none like him. He also knew this God was loving and merciful to his people [Ex 34:6]. And because he had such a high view of God’s character, he was confident that God would come through for his people.

The same or even greater confidence should characterize us—who, unlike Isaiah, live on this side of the cross. Through Jesus, we have a clearer picture of God’s character. And an understanding of his character should encourage us to wait on God to act on our behalf confidently.  So, let’s continually focus on developing a high view of God’s character by reflecting on his attributes which reveal his character.

2. We should pursue a holy life [5a]

The first part of Isaiah 64:5 reads, “You come to the help of those who gladly do right, who remember your ways.” Notice that God comes to help or act on behalf of “those who gladly right, who remember [God’s] ways.” People who pursue a holy life with glad hearts will receive God’s help. Belief in God’s character and behavior in submission to his commands go hand in hand as part of waiting on him.

The people in Isaiah’s day were not experiencing God’s deliverance because they were living in sin, “But when we continued to sin against them [i.e., God’s ways], you were angry. How then can we be saved?” [Isa 64:5b]! In addition, they were not even calling out to God [Isa 64:7]. They had no prayer life. Even when they prayed and fasted, it was only an outward act, and God rejected such hypocrisy [Isa 58]. Sin blocked God from acting on their behalf—“But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear” [Isaiah 59:2].

In the same way, you and I cannot expect God to act on our behalf if we live in sin. Sin always blocks God’s blessing! However, if we pursue holiness, we can be sure he will “come to the help of those who gladly do right, who remember [his] ways.” That’s why we must pursue holiness.

So, there we go. If we want God to act on our behalf as we wait for him, we need to have a high view of his character and pursue holiness.

Final Thoughts. 

Often we are discouraged while waiting for the Lord. We start doubting God. We become angry and irritable because things are not happening the way we want! We can even become envious of others. That’s what Asaph did when he saw the wicked prosper and the righteous suffering [Psa 73]. Easy to forget that a righteous God is in control! We can even become very lazy. Thoughts such as: “What is the point of serving God? He does not care about me. I have been waiting for so long, and he has not come through. Why continue to serve him?” can start controlling us.

We forget that God acts even while we are waiting for him. He is building our character. He exposes the idols of our hearts so that we can repent and turn from them. He is developing patience, tolerance, humility, and compassion in us so we can be sensitive to the pain and struggles of others and thus minister effectively to them.

In addition, God also teaches us to acknowledge his sovereignty over our lives during the waiting process. He teaches us that he is the potter and we are the clay. He is the ruler of all. He does what he wills, when he wills, and how he wills. None can compel him to do according to their agenda. He wants us to acknowledge these truths wholeheartedly.

John Piper rightly said, “God aims to exalt Himself by working for those who wait for Him.” Warren Wiersbe, in his book “God Isn’t in a Hurry,” rightly said, “The best thing you and I can do is to stop looking at our watches and calendars and simply look by faith into the face of God and let him have his way—in his time.”

Second only to suffering, waiting may be the greatest teacher and trainer in godliness, maturity, and genuine spirituality most of us ever encounter. So, let’s not look back on how long we have waited or look ahead as to how long we may need to wait. Let’s not get irritated, angry, discouraged, or even afraid and thereby ruining our peace and the peace of people around us—let alone display a negative testimony to the people around us.

Is God good only if he acts fast and in a way favorable to us?

If the answer is ‘Yes’ then it reveals we are just using God to get what we want rather than allowing him to be God and shape us as he wants. Let’s repent of such a sinful attitude. Let’s lean on him for strength to wait in a way that is pleasing to him. There’s no need to worry about tomorrow. Each day has enough trouble of its own [Matt 6:34]. God gives us strength and grace for us to wait for today. When tomorrow comes, it becomes today, and his grace will be sufficient for that day. Let’s learn to believe that even a ‘No’ answer is still God acting on our behalf for our good and his ultimate glory.

So, I encourage you to wait on God biblically. This awesome “God” who is like none other “acts on behalf of those who wait for him.” He does indeed “come to the help of those who gladly do right, who remember [his] ways.”