We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope[b] for it. But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.) ~Romans 8: 24-25
“Ugh, it’s hard to wait!” my three-year-old whined from the back seat. “I know, buddy. We still have a little while to go. Wanna listen to some music?” I asked.
This refrain has often been my son’s dramatic response to so many things in his little life. On this particular day, I was driving him and his sister to my parents’ house, about an hour away. He let out this little cry of frustration about 15 minutes into the ride. “Oh, this is gonna be fun,” I thought to myself.
And while I have yet come up with a kid-friendly way to say “Son, remember how in Romans Chapter 8 God instructs us to wait patiently? Do that and shut it!” I can, thankfully, remind myself of this very principle when I get antsy, and whine to God about how hard it is to wait.
Ah, waiting. It’s the virtuous thing to do, right? Delayed gratification is a sign of maturity, they say. Good things come to those who wait, they say. “Yeah, right,” I say. Waiting is hard work. Waiting is especially hard when you feel like you’ve prepared, you’ve done your part and you’re waiting on God to make or reveal a pathway to the thing that you want.
You could be waiting to find just the right house to move into, or the right person to date, or the right job offer, or the right time to have kids (girl, don’t rush it!) The truth is, it’s a challenging task to continuously pray and wait for God’s perfect timing.
But that’s exactly what the Lord instructs us to do. In the passage above, Paul is talking about waiting for the second coming of Jesus, but surely, this principle applies to waiting for anything we are anxious and ready to receive.
If we don’t have the thing we’ve been praying for, we wait patiently–and confidently–for God to respond. And good thing we don’t have to do this on our own. If God instructs us to wait patiently on him, surely he will help us to follow his instructions. So our prayer becomes “God, this is the thing I truly desire. I pray for it AND I also pray for the patience to wait on your timing.” (We also need to be sure that the thing we’re praying for is what God truly wants for us, but that’s another post!)
Ultimately, we have to remember that God loves us (1 John 4:10), He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7) and He has an ultimate plan for us (Ephesians 2:10). He’s not some spiteful Dad toying with our emotions, just refusing to give us the things for which we ask. He’s a good Father who can see farther than we can and knows more than we do. We trust Him in the waiting, knowing that all of his plans for us are good (Jeremiah 29:11).