You’ve prayed and prayed. Your journal is full of dreams and visions where God has confirmed what He’s put you on this earth for, but you’re waiting.
Then, one day it happens.
The promise and promotion that you have been waiting on comes to pass, but it is placed in the hands of someone who isn’t you, someone who you don’t feel has been waiting as long as you have. You take a deep breath and tell yourself, if God can do it for that person, He can certainly do it for you. After all, you do have His promise.
The months go by and you are still waiting.
You log into Facebook and see that yet again, someone else has received your promise. Facebook informs you that the newly married couple at church is pregnant … with twins. Maybe you check your email and find out that not only did you not get that promotion, but you also now have to train the person who did in some aspects of the position.
By the time you reach church on Sunday and hear that the person you’ve been discipling is walking into your promise of ministry this season, you are aware of only two things: There is not nearly enough air in the church and there is a gaping hole in your heart where faith and expectation should be.
What do you do when it feels like you are being passed over by opportunities? Worse than that, what do you do when it feels like God is flat-out ignoring you?
When the promise is being placed in the hands of everyone around you, and the wait is making it look like the promise is a lie, you do one thing: You grow.
You grow in your understanding of God.
God doesn’t ignore His children, and He certainly hears their every cry. When we are in the place of waiting on the manifestation of our promises, it can feel as if God has abandoned us, or even as if He is punishing us, but none of this is so.
In my own experiences, waiting has shown me the lies and false theologies that I had been raised to believe about God. For years, I believed that if I was not hearing a clear response, then it must be because I wasn’t fasting or praying enough. Daniel 10:12-14 shows, however, that when our hearts are truly set on seeking the Lord, He hears us the first time we pray and that a delay sometimes has much more to it than we can see with our natural eyes.
Waiting should build our faith, not destroy it. If you are finding that the waiting is causing you to harden your heart or to pull away from the presence of God, I encourage you to examine your thoughts and beliefs about His character against Scripture. The God described in Psalm 37:25 and Isaiah 55:9-11 is not ignoring you.
You grow closer to your appointed time.
The promise doesn’t override the process.
There is a time for everything so in its time, the Word of God will prove true in your life. David, Abraham and even Christ himself had to wait until the appointed time to receive the manifestation of their promise. Consider the story of Joseph. He was only 17 when he dreamed and shared the mystery of God with his family but he wouldn’t find himself living that dream until more than 20 years later. Not only did the process of the pit, Potiphar’s house and prison prepare Joseph’s leadership, they also positioned him!
God is a master craftsman, and has an amazing way of bringing every detail into alignment. The parents of John the Baptist were barren until old age, not as punishment (they were righteous), but so that he could be the forerunner that Scripture had spoken of. I also believe that God knew Mary would need the encouragement of her cousin Elizabeth. In God’s timing, the things He has promised will happen, and if it is anything like the appointed times of Esther and Ruth, it will be a blessing to more people than you think.
You grow in your desire for the promise.
Yes, waiting sucks, and waiting can make the promise look like a lie. But the waiting is where the promise takes shape.
Consider Hannah, the mother of Samuel. She wanted a child, but it was not until she reached the place of complete hopelessness and dependence on God that she received the desire of her heart. The Bible says that Peninnah provoked her, and they went to offer sacrifices year after year. However, one day she had had enough, one day she cried out to God from the fullness of her heart. No longer was that desire about her, but now she promised to return the child to God. The Lord answered her prayer, not just by giving her Samuel, but by giving her seven children (1 Samuel 1-2:5).
In the waiting, we find out how much we really want the promise.
You grow in your ability to manage the promise.
The wait is the refiner’s fire. Waiting is for preparation. Christ was born, learned to walk, talk and submit to the authority under which He found himself in this world (Luke 2:51-52). If you want to lead, follow Christ’s example and learn to follow. If your promise involves being granted authority, learn to first submit. Authority, in a Biblical construct, is servanthood (Mark 10:42-44). You become not only accountable for those whom are submitted to you, but also responsible to meet their needs within the context of your leadership.
If you cannot humbly submit to the authority over you, leadership will crush you. In the waiting, you learn to shoulder leadership by learning to humbly follow.
God’s nature is not mean and God does not lie. When we are waiting, our trust (or lack thereof) is put on display. When others are handed the job, ministry or child we have been believing for, our character, views about God and motives are brought to the surface.
We want the promise, but are we willing to be prepared to be transformed by God as we wait?
Waiting does not mean denial and it doesn’t mean rejection. In your waiting, I want to encourage you to seek the Lord concerning His character, His promise and your process. God sees you, and knows exactly what He is doing.
Your expectation is not in vain.