What if the answer is “wait?”?

Nowadays, who enjoys waiting for something or someone? In our society, everything has to go as quickly as possible. The current ways of communication allow us to receive answers within seconds. Even the things we order can be delivered within days. Compared to how things used to be, waiting has become scarce. When waiting is necessary, for example at a train station when the train is running late or is canceled, I have seldom seen patient and contented people.

What if the answer to our prayers is “wait?” Is it not often, especially in this day and age, that we wish for an instant answer to our prayers? And yet, in some situations, God does not send us an answer to our prayers immediately but makes us wait for an answer. Especially in our younger years, there are many decisions to be made, such as choosing a career; a marriage partner; a place to live, including location and type of housing; and much more. In many instances, the answer is “wait.” In times like these, a song has become very meaningful to me.

“Lord, my soul abides, hopes patiently,
Trusts in You completely, You help willingly.
Be not dismayed, brightly dawns the day,
After winter’s coldness spring will come to stay.
In ev’ry trial, in darkest night,
Lord, protect and shield me, my Lord, my Light.”

“To abide” means more than “to wait.” In the Bible lexicon, we find this definition:

“Abiding means to have a patient lookout for the help of God that comes in the end.” In Psalm 43:5, we read: “Why are you cast down, o my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.” In a different translation, the word “hope” is replaced with “I trust you, Lord.” This verse has often been a comfort to me in times of waiting. Here, the thanksgiving at the end is not questioned. It is a fact that the psalmist constantly reminds himself of. The psalmist was certain that God’s help would come in the end. We as Christians can trustingly wait, knowing that God will help.

The enemy wants to attack us, especially in times of waiting. He wants to use the time of waiting to weaken our faith and shorten the time of waiting by encouraging us to move in our own strength and disregard God’s will. The Bible gives us a warning about this in the story of King Saul in 1 Samuel 13. God would have confirmed his kingdom forever if he would have waited for God’s answer. But as he waited for Samuel, he became impatient and went against God’s commands.

Therefore, it is very important to turn to God in prayer and to ask God for the necessary patience and strength in times of waiting. The Bible can also encourage us in times of waiting. In seasons like this, I would look up verses related to the topic of “abiding” and study those passages. During those times, the phrase “and I will thank Him” has stuck with me. What an immense blessing we can receive, not only if we thank God after our time of waiting, but also giving thanks during the season of waiting, knowing that He has a way for us and that it is the best way, even though we may not always understand it in the moment.

When I look back on those times of waiting, I can only thank God. Those times can bring us closer to God and strengthen our relationship with and trust in God. If you are in a time of waiting right now, I would like to encourage you to “wait upon the Lord!”


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