We have all experienced waiting rooms—in offices, emergency rooms, or airports. Often our stay is extended well beyond our expectations, and we become angry, impatient, and sometimes fearful in the face of uncertainty and delay.
Similarly, answered prayers do not always come as quickly as we hope, and we wonder if God has forgotten us or is simply too busy with others to note our needs. We may struggle to believe that God is listening, loving us and bringing an answer at the ideal time. Surely, now is the perfect time!
This week as I thought about my unanswered prayers, I realized that God himself waits.
Meditating on the story of Jesus, I thought about his thirty years of living in total obscurity in Nazareth with his parents. If I were the Messiah, I would want to get on with my ministry as soon as possible. Why wait?
God waited thousands of years after Adam’s sin before sending the Savior. “But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the Law” (Gal. 4:4 NASB). His plan wasn’t put into action immediately, but he waited for the perfect time to send Jesus to redeem mankind. I love the phrase “the fullness of time.” I can almost see an hourglass filling with sand as the details fall into place so that God’s plan can be fulfilled.
Even now God awaits the appropriate time for Jesus’s return. “The Lord is not slow concerning his promise, as some regard slowness, but is being patient toward you, because he doesn’t wish for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9 NET).
God alone knows the ideal moment to answer our prayers, seeing all things in light of eternity. Instead of losing hope and faith, we must recognize that God doesn’t hurry but moves in the fullness of time. In the interim he builds patience, faith, and contentment in us while we sit in the waiting room holding his powerful and comforting hand.
This post was first published 12/11/10 on Beyond (no longer online).