Living in a fast-paced country like Singapore with easy access to so many instantaneous forms of communication, waiting has become something unpopular. I must confess I have not gotten a lot better about waiting. I am now writing this pastoral message on a reasonably fast laptop. Whenever my husband and I want to buy a new laptop, the first thing that we consider is its RAM. Otherwise, it will cost me a ‘wait state’, which means a delay of a very small portion of a second.
After admitting to you that I do not like waiting, I am now in a better position to remind you that you do not like waiting either. Otherwise, why do we have so many fast-food restaurants? Why else would microwave meals be so popular? That is all because we do not like waiting. We tend to want instant gratification. I have even heard a story of someone who bought a degree just because he hated waiting out the number of years needed in serious studies before he could obtain one. We also often hear of bribery cases in which the perpetrator wants to speed up a process by enticing another with monetary reward. It is typical human nature to seek instant gratification.
Sometimes, we feel that God has let us down because He does not provide an immediate answer to our prayer. Frequently, our attitude is, “Answer me speedily, O LORD; my spirit fails!” (Ps. 143:7) Our spirit of prayer diminishes. We become apathetic about prayer and do not want to pray anymore.
However, waiting on the Lord is good for us as it helps us develop patience and perseverance. It calls on us to exercise faith in God’s promises and to act on the basis of what he has said, rather than on what we see. Waiting requires us to deny fleshly lusts and to set aside our desire for immediate gratification. King David spent many years waiting to be crowned king and fleeing from Saul’s wrath. Waiting is a virtue. David writes, “Wait on the LORD; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart” (Ps. 27:14). In another psalm, he encouraged us with these words, “I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry. He … set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps” (Ps. 40:1-2). David grew to be ‘a man after God’s own heart’ by waiting on him (Acts 13:22; see 1 Sam. 13:14).
When we become frustrated with God’s apparent delay in answering our prayer, it is good to remember that he is interested in developing our faith and perseverance (James 1:2-4). Wait on the Lord! Waiting is part of the divine design of things. Waiting is no accident; it is purposed.
Let us continue waiting on the Lord in prayer. We look forward to seeing you in our monthly prayer meeting.
Sweet hour of prayer! Sweet hour of prayer!
Thy wings shall my petition bear
To Him whose truth and faithfulness
Engage the waiting soul to bless. (William Walford)