Even in the Waiting, God is Working
If you’re a parent, you likely have a few go-to phrases you frequently repeat to your children. Maybe it’s certain words of affirmation you want them to hear daily. Maybe they are words to remind them how to live or a particular life lesson you’ve been working to teach them.
When I drop my kids off at a practice or rehearsal, I often leave them with the words, “Work hard, have fun, be coachable.” When my toddler gets out of timeout, we talk about what he’s done wrong, and I remind him why we’re here, “to love God and love others.” These are a few of the things I say over and over again, hoping they will sink into their little brains and hearts as they are repeated.
I see God using this same technique in my own life. The more I’ve learned about hearing God’s voice, the more I see His work of parenting us as His children. He is, after all, our Heavenly Father. And so this idea of repetition carries over into the way He speaks to us as well.
God is intentional about speaking to us, and we should be intentional about listening.
Therefore, if we notice a theme, pattern, or repetition, it’s time to pay attention because He’s speaking to us, hoping the message sinks into our brains and hearts as He repeatedly draws our attention to it.
“Then Jesus told them plainly, ‘Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him’” (John 11:14-15).
We studied these verses a few weeks ago in church, and then again, they showed up in our women’s Bible study just last week. Noticing the way God brought them to my mind multiple times has caused me to pause and take notice of their significance in my life.
Jesus was teaching when he got the message that His dear friend Lazarus was ill—deathly ill. Knowing the power Jesus held to heal, His disciples expected Him to drop everything and go to Lazarus to heal him; however, Jesus decided to stay two more days and continue His work. When He finally decided to travel to Lazarus’s home, He already knew the illness had led to Lazarus’s death.
Though Jesus could have performed a miracle and glorified God in healing Lazarus, He choose to wait.
Though Jesus could have prevented the pain and suffering of his friends Mary and Martha (Lazarus’s sisters), He chose to wait.
Though Jesus had the power to stop Lazarus’s death, He chose to wait.
Why? Why did He choose to wait?
He tells His disciple plainly that His delay was so that they may believe.
You see, Jesus didn’t heal Lazarus, but He did raise Him from the dead. And that miracle revealed God’s power through Him in a way that a simple healing would not have. That miracle brought more people to faith in Jesus in a way a healing would not have. That miracle was the best way to glorify God and bring people closer to Him.
And I can’t help but think about our lives . . . situations where God could have prevented trials, provided relief, brought forth solutions that would have glorified Him, but instead, He chose to wait.
Because He knew that in the waiting our own faith would be strengthened, and in the end, those who witnessed our struggles would see God’s glory and faithfulness more clearly because of the waiting.
If you’re stuck in the middle of a trial at this very moment, crying out to God, wondering why He won’t do more, why He won’t act now, can you take comfort in the fact that as you are waiting, He is working? And though you can’t see the ways He will use this situation to reveal His glory, strengthen your faith, and lead those around you closer to Him, He has a plan to do so.
Or maybe, you’re on the other side of the trial—you’ve already sat through the pain of waiting. Will you take a few moments and reflect on your own suffering? Can you look at the outcome now and see how God was working in the waiting? Can you praise Him for the work He did not just in your own life, but in the lives around you?
Friends, even in the waiting and what feels like needless delay, God is working.
Waiting is hard. Feeling like you are ignoring our needs and our pain and our suffering is hard. Help us see you more clearly in those moments and trust that you are at work even in our waiting. Forgive us for our unbelief and draw us closer to you. Father, you are an awesome, all-knowing, eternal God whose ways and knowledge and timing have intentions beyond what we can understand. Help us trust you more. And, ultimately, we pray that in every situation you may be glorified.
In Your will, through Your power, and for Your glory,