Waiting can be one of the most difficult things we have to do as Christians. We pray and ask God for something, but the answer doesn’t seem to come. The wait stretches on and on, and we wonder why God hasn’t responded yet. Why does He make us wait?
There are several reasons why God may have us wait on an answer to prayer or for the fulfillment of a promise:
To Increase Our Faith
Waiting strengthens our faith muscles. When we have to wait, we’re forced to dig deep and trust that God really will come through eventually. Waiting develops perseverance. God wants us to trust whether we feel like it or not. He wants us to believe His word over our feelings and circumstances. The longer we have to wait, the more our faith is stretched and strengthened.
|Length of Wait||Impact on Faith|
|Short wait||Small increase in faith|
|Moderate wait||Moderate increase in faith|
|Long wait||Large increase in faith|
As the above table shows, the longer God has us wait, the more potential there is for our faith to be increased and strengthened.
To Teach Us Patience
Waiting also teaches us patience. In our instant gratification world, we rarely have to wait long for anything. With the internet, we have information, entertainment, and even shopping at our fingertips anytime. We can easily get impatient, frustrated, and irritated when we do have to wait.
But God uses times of waiting to train us in patience. As we wait on Him, we learn that His timing is perfect. He is never early or late, but acts at just the right time. When we have to wait on God, it reminds us that we are not in control – He is. Waiting helps us relinquish our grip and submit to God’s sovereignty over time and circumstances.
To Prepare Us for What’s Coming
Often God has us wait because He is preparing us for what’s coming. He is getting us ready for the answer to our prayers or the fulfillment of His promises. If God gave us certain blessings or responsibilities before we were ready for them, it could overwhelm us or even be harmful.
For example, say you pray asking God for a spouse. While you’re waiting, God may be using that time to prepare you emotionally and spiritually for marriage. The wait is part of the preparation process. He wants to get you ready so you can be the best spouse possible when the time comes.
God doesn’t work on our timetables – He works to prepare us for His perfect timing. Waiting gives Him time to get us ready.
To Remind Us of Our Dependence on Him
When we have to wait on God, it reminds us of our need for Him. We realize that ultimately it is only God who can answer our prayers and fulfill His promises in His perfect timing. Our waiting forces us to go to God again and again in dependent prayer, relying on Him to act on our behalf.
Times of waiting keep us humble. We are reminded that we can do nothing in our own strength and effort. We need God to step in and work. The periods of waiting ensure we don’t start to think we can control everything ourselves. Waiting is God’s way of keeping us in continual dependent prayer.
To Allow His Power to Be Displayed
Often when we finally get our answer after a long wait, we can clearly see God’s power on display. His intervention is obvious because our situation looked so impossible from a human perspective. Our waiting allows room for God’s power to be revealed.
If God immediately answered prayers or fulfilled promises every time as soon as we asked, we would start to think our faith or actions somehow merited His response. We might fail to recognize His grace. But when God makes us wait, His power gets all the glory. No one can doubt that it was His strength at work, not our own.
To Align Events With His Overall Plan
From God’s perspective, He sees how everything fits together – how each event unfolds in perfect coordination with His overall plan. Since He inhabits eternity, God operates on a different timeline than us. He works all things after the counsel of His own will (Ephesians 1:11).
What looks delayed or prolonged from our limited viewpoint makes perfect sense within God’s master timeline. He waits to answer prayers or fulfill promises until other connected events have unfolded. Although it feels slow to us, God sees how it aligns precisely with His sovereign plan.
How Should We Respond While Waiting?
Waiting can be so hard. So practically, how should we respond? Here are several things to keep in mind while in a period of waiting:
Thank God for the Opportunity to Wait
It seems counterintuitive, but thanking God for making us wait can be incredibly freeing. When we thank Him, it reminds us that this wait is a privilege, not a punishment. It reassures us of God’s sovereignty, wisdom, and love. Thanking God enables us to surrender the timeline over to Him.
Ask God to Reveal Any Needed Areas of Growth
God may have us wait so He can reveal sins or weaknesses that need to be addressed in our lives. Ask Him to show you if there are any ways you need to grow spiritually, emotionally, or in character during this waiting period. Cooperate with God’s refining work in your life.
Look for Ways to Glorify God in the Wait
Rather than disengaging while waiting, look for ways you can glorify God during the wait. How can you serve others? What spiritual disciplines can you lean into? Waiting times can be incredibly spiritually fruitful if we invite God to use them for His glory.
Rest in the Knowledge that God Loves You
Remember that God makes His beloved children wait too. His love for you has not wavered just because He has said “not yet.” Let your security and identity rest in His unwavering love, not your circumstances.
Trust God’s Timing Really Is Perfect
As hard as waiting can be, God promises to use it for our good (Romans 8:28). His timing and plans can be fully trusted. Release your tight grip on your own timeline and submit to God’s. He sees what we cannot.
Waiting on God is far from easy. But His delays are always purposeful and for our benefit. When we wait on God, our faith and patience muscles are stretched, character is refined, and God’s power has space to move. Waiting enables us to relinquish control into God’s capable hands.
Though challenging, times of waiting can produce tremendous spiritual fruit in our lives. As we submit to God’s timeline, we proclaim that His plans are worth waiting for. His timing is perfect and will be fulfilled at just the right moment. God reminds us through waiting that all things are under His wise and loving control.