Up till now we have spoken of faith mostly as active. By faith we pray. By faith we do minister for God. However there are times when faith must not do anything but wait on God to provide.
In the Old Testament, the psalmist celebrated waiting patiently for the Lord in Psalm 40;1. Isaiah also promises that those “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” in 40:31. So those who wait for the Lord are putting their heart in a good place. Faith regularly must spend time waiting for the Lord to act. Isaiah 26:8 says, “We have waited for You eagerly; Your name, even Your memory, is the desire of our souls.”
For many centuries the Jewish believers waited for the arrival of the Messiah. Now that He has come, we are still waiting – waiting for His second coming. 1 Corinthians 1:7 “… awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ,” Titus 2:13 ” looking for (waiting for) the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,” Hebrews 9:28 “so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.” Jude 21 “keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.”
Waiting, though, is not completely passive. When we wait in faith we are really expecting God to do something. So we wait expectantly. Those who wait without faith end up giving up. They have no endurance. Those who expect good provision from the hand of God, keep persevering in their requests and keep watching for the answer to their prayers. An expectant heart is full of hope and aglow with joy.
So along with waiting is seeking God’s direction and provision. We should not jump at every opportunity that arrises, but we should not be stagnant either. Waiting for God to act when we do not do what we are supposed to is not faith but presumption. If we believe God will lead us, we need to work toward seeing His provision. On the other hand we should not go through every open door. What a joy it is to be praying and waiting for God to act, then see Him provide. The truth is that God tests hearts for a good amount of time before He answers. Yet when He answers it can be sudden and overwhelming resulting in exuberant joy. So waiting is passive in one sense, because we do not want to rush ahead of the Lord, but it is active in another sense because we seek God’s provision and His power. Proper waiting allows us to see how God is at work.
Someone who waits needs to put full trust in God and His word. Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding, 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.” God is working for us not against the believer. Romans 8:28 “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
Someone who is waiting for the Lord must have his head up and looking for strange ways God may provide. Psalm 5:3 “In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.” God’s resources are far above us, and it brings Him honor to answer a prayer in a way that has His fingerprints on it – unmistakably from the Almighty.
Also while the answer is delayed one must guard against anger, anxiety, doubt, and fretting. When the wicked prosper and our prayers go unanswered, it is easy to become resentful, jealous, or to lose heart. Proverbs 37:7-9 “Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes. 8 Cease from anger and forsake wrath; Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing. 9 For evildoers will be cut off, But those who wait for the LORD, they will inherit the land.”
We also need the encouragement from fellowship of the brethren while we wait for God to work. The brethren can bear our burdens, intercede for us in prayer, and bring timely words to cheer our souls. They remind us not to focus on the size of our problems but the size of our God. This removes fretting and grumbling. When we remember the cross of our Savior, all our needs and wants are put into perspective, and worship fills our mouths rather than complaint.
While we wait for God’s provision, we also have our own motives cleansed so that we can first test our hearts, make confession, and yearn for the will of God more. Someone has said that waiting is our giving God the benefit of the doubt. It is also a way of bowing the heart to the sovereignty of God. Through the wait of faith, my faith grows stronger and stronger.
So often we go about doing things thinking we are trusting God and we are really just trusting ourselves, our resources, our money, our ingenuity, our degrees, our experience, and our own eyes. Rather than waiting for God to work in a way that glorifies him, and clinging to Scriptural promises, and persevering in prayer, we act prematurely. Lying just below the surface of our actions and decisions is a motivation of wanting to alleviate our fears or wanting to save face or impatience. In the midst of dilemmas and predicaments and even dangers we must always take things to God in serious & sustained prayer before jumping to solve issues by our own abilities. God’s purpose in our lives is NOT to make things easy for us nor just to fix our problems but to show his power and glory through our lives. God does not help those who help themselves, he helps those who believe in His power to accomplish His promises
Trust the promises of God. Trust the person of God. Trust the protection of God. Trust the provision of God!