The Waiting Game
"The Lord is good to those who wait hopefully and expectantly for Him, to those who seek Him." Lamentations 3:25a (AMP)
Sometimes I see God answer my prayers right away. I'm excited, thankful and ready to tell everyone about His goodness. Then, there are those other times when my prayers linger and miracles seem far away. As time creeps on, my doubts creep in.
I used to think waiting on God to answer my prayers was like playing a game. Who would last the longest? Would I continue to ask, plead and persevere? Or would I give up first because I was tired of waiting? Or maybe God would give me what I wanted because He was tired of hearing all my whining and complaining.
If my prayers were answered quickly, I'd give Jesus a quick spiritual high-five, shout Hallelujah! and then move on to my next request. But, if time went on and my miracle didn't show up, I'd get discouraged and frustrated. My waiting turned to worry. My perseverance shifted to pouting.
Lord, why haven't You answered my prayers? What are You waiting for? Can't You see me struggling? You're taking too long and I just don't understand why.
I began to think God might be holding out on me. Maybe He really didn't care about me. Or, maybe my circumstances weren't important enough to Him.
But as I grew in my relationship with the Lord and learned to understand His character, my attitude changed. I realized how much God loves me and knows the desires tucked deep inside my heart. He promises to meet my needs (Philippians 4:19), and His miracles are not a thing of the past.
Today's key verse tells us that after we pray and ask God for a need, want or desire, we should wait with expectancy and hope.
You might be thinking, Leah, you just don't understand. I've been waiting for God to answer my prayers for so long.
Maybe you've resigned to believing there's no hope. Sure, you started out confident and faith-filled, but as time goes by you've started to wonder if any good can come from your circumstances.
Maybe you've wrapped an invisible wall around your heart so you won't be disappointed if God doesn't come through for you.
Friend, I understand. I've been there. I've felt that way, too, and it's a lonely place to live each day.
So what does it look like to have an attitude of hope and expectancy as we wait on the Lord to answer our prayers?
I've learned to intentionally shift my focus to three things:
God's Promises: I read Bible verses and speak them aloud daily. As the power of God's Word weaves hope into my prayers, encouragement fills the empty places in my heart. I'm reminded once again of God's unfailing love and faithfulness.
Praise & Worship: I listen to praise music throughout the day in my house, car and at work in my office. The lyrics and melodies splash over me with joy as I sing along. I sense God's peace and pleasure and in those sweet moments, my worries fade, turning my doubts into confident expectancy.
Thanksgiving: I thank God for the answered prayers and miracles in my past. I remember how God always came through in those tough times of great need, and I thank Him in advance for His answers yet to come.
If you've asked God for answers but find yourself waiting longer than you planned, take a moment now to thank Him in advance for His answer. Trust that He is working behind the scenes on your behalf. Don't give up. Look forward in hope and expectancy for Him to respond and remember that the Lord is good to those who seek Him.
Lord, thank You for remaining faithful to me. Help me have hope and expectancy as I wait for Your answers to my prayers. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Isaiah 30:15a, "This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: 'In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength ...'" (NIV)
Isaiah 30:18, "Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!" (NIV)
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
When was the last time you thanked God in advance for an answer to your prayers?
Write Isaiah 30:18 on a 3x5 card and replace the word "you" with your name. Speak this verse aloud throughout today and wait expectantly as you seek the Lord in prayer.