Most Americans hate waiting. We want everything fast. Promotions. Food. Opportunities. You name it. Why, then, do we have to wait? Why doesn’t God answer everything immediately? We know He hears us.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve asked how we can wait, using Abraham’s tamarisk tree, knife, and cave that enable us to remember God’s promise will surely be fulfilled. I’ve asked how we can wait, as faith imparts power to make us strong in the wait.
But why do we even have to wait? We still want to know. In the wait, we see God’s purpose coming as we learn who He is, what He does and His identity for us.
There are several reasons for the wait.
God’s reasons for the wait
God always prepares the best time for what He planned to happen. When He delays, we wait for the best time much as a mother waits nine months for her baby to be born. Nine months is the best time.
But when the proper time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born subject to [the regulations of] the Law, Galatians 4:4 (AMP)
Israel waited 400 years to be freed from Egypt. Why? Because the Amorites were not yet ready for God to hand them over to Israel as they took possession of the land He had promised them.
God sometimes must wait for other people to be ready before He can fulfill a promise for us.
In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.” Genesis 15:16 (NIV)
In the years preceding the birth of Christ, the Greek language became the dominant language in the larger region, the Romans built a wonderful system of roads and the Essenes studied the Old Testament to understand what really needed to happen for the prophecies to be fulfilled. Some scholars think this is how John the Baptist learned.
Everything was ready for the Gospel to quickly spread: a common language existed, moving about was easier and they had opportunity to be ready. The preparation had reached full measure.
God never changes His mind
We are tempted to doubt and fear when the promise or answer are not quick to come. The LORD told Balaam to tell Balak why He would not curse Israel by speaking against what He had already spoken.
God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? Numbers 23:19 (NIV)
Because He never changes His mind, we can count on His promise.
So shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth: it shall not return to Me void [without producing any effect, useless], but it shall accomplish that which I please and purpose, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:11 (AMP)
I love to substitute a specific promise, such as “By His stripes I am healed,” and then rejoice that His promise does produce a change or effect in my life. Did you notice that it pleases God to do that? It pleases God to heal you or provide for you or deliver you? Or whatever the promise is?
I must change my mind
What do we need to change our minds about? And why?
“Repent” is a much-misunderstood word. It does not mean we must change our behavior. It means we change our thinking. Then our behavior changes, the result of changed thinking. Jesus described what this would look like in the Sermon on the Mount. Try reading Matthew 5:3-10, for example, by changing “for” to “because.” Many scholars believe that is a more accurate reading. The verses become promises rather than rules, showing us what renewed thinking really is.
Why change our mind or thinking? To better know or understand what God says and does. To be open to receiving from Him.
The unspiritual self, just as it is by nature, can’t receive the gifts of God’s Spirit. There’s no capacity for them. They seem like so much silliness. Spirit can be known only by spirit—God’s Spirit and our spirits in open communion. 1 Corinthians 2:14 (MSG)
Waiting is transformational
Waiting is an opportunity for transformation. It is a growing process. We don’t suddenly become everything we need to be. We grow, just as a baby grows into adulthood.
How is waiting transformational? It happens as our thinking changes. Jeremiah provides steps for us.
See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.” Jeremiah 1:10 (NIV)
We uproot thinking patterns that falsely enrich us and try to master us because they don’t really enrich us. As we see in Scripture some aspect of thinking we need to correct and yield to God’s way of thinking, we uproot that old way so we then increasingly become mastered by God’s way (and it is always from a heart that delights in us and wants the best for us.)
We tear down idolatrous religious structures. Religion focuses on keeping rules and performance while God’s way is always by grace or by providing what we don’t deserve at all. All of salvation, including forgiveness and healing and provision, are by His grace. (Ephesians 2:8)
We destroy or reduce to disorder the thinking that says my own way is better than anything God has. The word “destroy” is also used when God scattered or confused the language of the people who were building the tower of Babel to reach up to heaven. We don’t need to try to reach up to heaven; Christ came down in order to bring all the kingdom of heaven has down to us.
We demolish strongholds. In my most recent book, Holes to Whole, I shared my definition of a stronghold. There are two kinds of strongholds in Scripture. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 describes strongholds we must demolish while Psalm 18:2 declares the LORD is my stronghold. Then what is a stronghold? My definition of a stronghold is “anything we believe in response to a word or event so that it controls us, any place or condition that provides a sense of security and safety, although in a locked and limited manner so we are not free and cannot be the real person God designed us to be.” Strongholds are in our minds, whether lies or truth. We either believe the lies we fabricated to cope or God’s truth that never changes.
Then we can begin building and planting. Planting what God says so we build as the living stone.
Why do we even have to wait? Waiting has benefits. In the wait, we see God’s purpose coming as we learn who He is, what He does and His identity for us.
What might God need to adjust in your thinking to move you toward greater confidence in all He has for you? He is answering your call.
17 Every evening I will explain my need to him. Every morning I will move my soul toward him. Every waking hour I will worship only him, and he will hear and respond to my cry. Psalm 55:17 (PassionNTPsa)
Carol Boggess, author and speaker at A Healing Journey
Carol Boggess © 2021
Rivers – A Journey of Restoration From Broken to Breakthrough and God Sees Broken Hearts
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