Do you have a prayer that has been met with no response? You may decide that this is a ‘no’ from God, but perhaps it’s a ‘not yet’.
Our perception of time differs from one moment to the next. If we are bored or anxiously anticipating something pleasant, time drags. If we are overwhelmed with things to do or enjoying a pleasant experience, time flies by.
Waiting for the Best Time
When we have a need, the resolution cannot come quickly enough. When we have a need great enough to bring to God, we really are hoping He will resolve it now. Or better yet, why didn’t He handle it before it even became an issue!
But God’s time is not the same as our time. In fact, I’m thinking that cultural changes, events, acts, realizations, and our emotional, spiritual and mental developments are some of the things that God tracks (and sometimes orchestrates) instead of minutes and years. Peter left us this logical conundrum – “…with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Peter 3:8) which expresses this irrelevance of time.
But because God sees all the events of our lives and the thoughts of our minds, His timing is always perfect. His perfect time may be immediate as for the disciples when they healed people around Jerusalem (Acts 5:16). Or it may be a few years: God gave Joseph a dream that did not come to fruition for 13 years (Gen 37, 39-41): the Egyptian exiles wandered for 40 years before entering God’s promised land. And the Messiah’s perfectly timed arrival was 4 centuries in the making as can be seen in Dr. Leed’s post entitled Eye-Opening Events Between the Testaments.
These huge events make our problems seem kind of small in comparison, yet God knows every hair on our heads. He loves us, knows what is best for us and knows when it I best for us. I once waited for God’s response to my desperate prayers for several months. But then WHAM His resolution came in one day. You can read about it here.
Waiting on God Changes Us in Important Ways.
It takes practice, but as we let God help us in each situation, we develop patience which is one of the most important Christian virtues. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22). It’s developed only under trial, so we must not run from difficult situations. But “let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:4).
Trusting God often requires not knowing how He is going to accomplish what needs to be done and not knowing when He will do it. But as we see God’s faithfulness over and over, we rely less on ourselves, and gradually place our trust in Him.
When God directs our paths, He sometimes leads us in ways that don’t make sense to us. But if we try to reason it out, rationalize His leading and don’t follow His path, we will only prolong our struggle. Most of us have spent our lives trying to take care of ourselves, but when we accept Christ as our Savior, we must have faith that He will care for us.
Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6 )
What to Do While Waiting on God
1) Prayer / Meditation
The priority for your wait time is prayer and meditation. Let it be your rock.
- Pour out your heart to God with all your concerns and doubts.
- Pray for guidance, patience and strength through the waiting season.
- Pray for God to reveal the next step in His path for you.
- Pray for your heart to be open to the work God’s doing during the wait.
- Pray for transformation and renewal.
- Pray for peace of heart and trust.
- Clear your mind and listen for God’s messages.
It’s not easy to go to prayer when you’re frustrated in the wait, but as you develop this habit of (and utter dependence on) prayer, you’ll find the waiting becomes easier.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7 NIV)
2) Read Your Bible
Stay in scripture, especially in periods of waiting. Often what feels like waiting is really a time of preparation. It may be that our heart needs some work, or it may be that God is moving in other areas to prepare the way.
Study God’s Word, especially His promises. “He will never leave you, nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6b). He will be with you through the entire waiting process. Stay focused on Him and His Word and the reasons for your time of waiting will eventually be made clear.
Staying in scripture keeps you grounded in God’s plans and promises. When you’re in that period of waiting, daily reminders of God’s faithfulness will sustain you. Reading about God’s power and plans will fill your heart with hope. Studying biblical people who endured seasons of waiting reminds you that you’re not alone in this struggle. The Bible may also be helpful in determining if your prayer request is being met with a ‘no’ or a ‘not yet’.
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. (Romans 15:4 NIV)
3) Surrender to the Process
Change is a process and can take time. When God is working a change in your life or carrying you through a challenge, it may take time to fully work through the process.
Surrender to God’s work in your heart. Submit to His timeline and process. Let go of your attempts to control and plan your way out and allow God to lead.
Entrust your ways to the Lord.
Trust him, and he will act on your behalf.
He will make your righteousness shine like a light,
your just cause like the noonday sun.
Surrender yourself to the Lord and wait patiently for him.
Do not be preoccupied with an evildoer who succeeds in his way
when he carries out his schemes.
Let go of anger and leave rage behind.
Do not be preoccupied.
It only leads to evil.
(Psalm 37:5-8 GOD’S WORD Translation)
4) Who is Waiting for Who?
Could it be that God is waiting on us? To arrive at the perfect time for Him to act, perhaps we must first realize, develop or become involved in something. If God answered right away, many of us would be ill-prepared to handle His solution. Our personal, national or international circumstances may need to change to make the most of His intervention.
Ask yourself: Is there a purpose in your waiting? Do you have some work to do to prepare for the next season? Is God working on your heart? Is the motive for your prayer acceptable to God.
Consider the lessons and submit to God’s work in your life. If you need to deal with a sin, confess and turn away from old ways. If you need to forgive, do the hard work to let go and forgive. If you need to rid your heart of some stubborn habits or beliefs, dig deep and allow God to do his work.
Exodus 13:17-18 tells us that God led the Israelites the longer, harder way on their journey to the Promised Land because He knew they were not yet ready to go in. There had to be time for their training, and they had to go through some very trying situations.
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5:3-5 ESV)
5) Focus on the Blessings
Instead of focusing on where you’re going, look around you and find the blessings that already surround you. Even if your situation is dark and stormy, be especially vigilant about looking for blessings.
You could even create a blessing list by writing down everything good that God has blessed you with. Keep the list handy and read it whenever you are feeling low.
There’s nothing like helping others to get a better perspective on your own issues. Where can you be a blessing to others at this time? Who has God placed you near that you can bless? Who can you pray for and encourage?
In all things, be full of praise and thanksgivings – even while waiting, even through the storm, even when you’re frustrated. You may find that affirmation and song will lifts your spirits.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. (Philippians 4:8)
Wait as long as it takes. He may not answer right away or even give us what we think we need, but God will provide what is best for us when it is best for us.
As much as we want to move forward NOW – sometimes we’re just not ready. We have more to learn, more to change, more to grow. Sometimes the wait is for God to align other pieces of the plan. Sometimes the wait is for God to align the pieces of our own heart.
Always have an expectancy that He will provide. There are times when we might give up if we knew how long it was going to take, but when we accept God’s timing, we can learn to live in hope and enjoy our lives while God is working on our problems.
Then be alert for His answer.
God is never accidental. Everything he does has a purpose. He is the expert…let Him handle it
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In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait expectantly. (Psalm 5:3)
I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord. (Psalm 27:13-14)
My times are in Your hand;
deliver me from the hand of my enemies,
and from those who persecute me.” (Psalm 31:15)
We wait in hope for the Lord;
he is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
May your unfailing love be with us, Lord,
even as we put our hope in you. (Psalm 33:20-23)
I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
I wait for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning, (Psalm 130:5-6)
Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40: 31)
He has made everything beautiful in its time … God shall judge the righteous and the wicked, for there shall be a time there for every purpose and for every work.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11,17)
And He said to them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.” (Acts 1:7)
But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing (James 1:4).
“What to Do When You’re Waiting on God” by Joyce Meyer
“Waiting on God: Why It is Important to Wait on God” by Amy Blossom
“When God’s Timing Is Taking Too Long” by Joyce Meyer