Waiting on God to Do Something

Sometimes it feels like God takes way too long. He could stop all the pain and confusion in a moment. He could meet the need. But He doesn’t.

Waiting on God

(Photo: hurricanehank, via Vivozoom)

Waiting on God is often confusing. He has operated this way for a long time.

When Mary and Martha of Bethany sent a message to Jesus that their brother Lazarus lay sick, Jesus stayed right where He was. When He finally did arrive, He found that Lazarus had been dead four days.

In other words, Jesus took His sweet time showing up.

Why does He do this?

Waiting on God is Hard

From all appearances, Jesus’ delay betrayed His lack of concern. Or maybe even a lack of ability (John 11:21, 32, 37). Pain always tempts us to view Jesus this way.

But this story reveals the exact opposite. Remarkably, Jesus delayed because He loved them (John 11:5-6).

As hard as we try, we often struggle to wrap our minds around the contradiction. After all, it’s hard to feel God’s love when we cry out to Him, perhaps for years, but He seems to ignore us.

Our pain blurs what Jesus sees clearly.  We need to begin to look with eyes of faith as we’re waiting on God.


(Photo: Bethany, the town where Jesus raised Lazarus. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

What Waiting on God Can Teach Us

Jesus saw what Lazarus’s death would produce—an opportunity to believe for those who would witness a miracle. He knew the sisters would grow to see that God loved them on a level deeper than simply removing pain.

Here we must grow as well.

  • Because Jesus waited, we can know He wants to give us more than relief.
  • Because Jesus wept, we can know He feels our pain, strengthening us with His presence along the path His sovereign will sees as best for us.
  • He loves us enough to let us hurt so that we will gain what we could not otherwise.
  • He walks with us—and weeps—along the painful road that leads to death . . . but then, also to resurrection.

God aims to exalt Himself by working for those who wait for Him. —John Piper

Most of the time we want God doing our will, not His (whatever it is). How blessed we are that He lovingly ignores our ignorant protests at His unreasonable ways. He loves us enough to allow the pain that will ultimately benefit us far beyond what feeling good ever could.

We need eyes to look at life with His perspective that sees the end in spite of the road that takes us there.

Question: What lessons have you learned by waiting on God? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Adapted from Wayne Stiles, Going Places with God: A Devotional Journey Through the Lands of the Bible (Ventura, CA: Regal, 2006), p. 134. Used by permission. 

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