I don’t know anyone who likes to wait. Whether it’s waiting in line, waiting for our children, waiting for the car to be repaired, or whatever you might be waiting for, the time we spend waiting feels tedious. We tend to see it as time wasted or time we can’t get back.
Waiting is especially difficult when we’re waiting on God. When we wait, we don’t know God's timing. We don’t know when the healing will come, or if it will. We don’t know when the next job opportunity will be available. We don’t know when the prayers for a spouse, or the desire to start a family, will become a reality.
We don’t know the when or the how, or if what we want is really in God’s plans for us. We don’t see the full picture like God does and it can feel like we’re waiting for the unknown. But there is something we can know for certain—a promise from God while we wait.
God promises to be with us before, after, and during our wait. How do we know this and how can we be sure God will wait with us? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14 NRSV). God’s promise to be with us is in his very name. It’s a promise God will not, and cannot, break.
When we wait on God, we can rest assured that we are not alone. God’s promises unfold in God’s time, and in the time of waiting God draws us close and gives us strength to keep waiting. No matter how it feels, waiting on God is not a waste of time. It’s often when we grow closer to God and get to know him better.
Without waiting, we wouldn’t experience the way God changes us from the inside out. Without waiting, we wouldn’t feel joy in the midst of unhappiness. Without waiting, we wouldn’t feel hope when the situation seems hopeless. Without waiting, we wouldn’t feel peace that can’t be explained. These gifts of waiting come, not through anything we do ourselves, but through God who sits and waits with us.
Waiting is hard, but it is not time wasted. We may not be able to see it at the time, but when we look back we see how we grew during the wait, realize what we learned because of the wait, and know without a doubt that God brought us through the wait.
But 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 (Isaiah 40:31 NRSV).