Suddenly and unexpectedly slammed with grief, I prayed for comfort. God’s response was specific, clear and effective. But it was not immediate. I had to wait. I felt like the guy who prayed, “Lord, give me patience and give it to me right now!” For whatever His reasons, God let me wait a bit. When His comfort came, it washed over me in a sustained way.
But why would God delay, why make me wait? It’s not as though comfort was on back order. The All Sovereign Lord of the Universe could have responded instantly. Why wait? Perhaps it is to help us build faith.
Peter wrote about waiting for God’s promises, saying:
In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. (`1 Peter 1:6-7)
James wrote about waiting after praying for wisdom, saying:
But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. (James 1:6)
As we wait for God confidently and then have that trust vindicated, our “faith muscle” is developed. As our faith grows, our relationship with God grows stronger.
Perhaps God also makes us wait to give us time to be spiritually strengthened and matured. Isaiah knew about waiting. He wrote:
“…but they who wait for 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)
Good comedians have a well developed sense of timing. When one says, “Wait for it…” you know it’s worth the wait. Better yet when God does.