We are forever in a hurry and want everyone else (especially God) to understand the urgency of our requests! But you know what? It is quite rare that God tells us to hurry up! Even regarding repentance, he says, “In repentance and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”1 Even then, there is a calm and reflective response, not a rushed and imperious one. We are reminded to “Be still, and know that I am God.”2 We are to remember that “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him. The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”3 We are commanded to “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart, and wait for the Lord”4 And fewer words could be more powerful and soothing to us, for waiting on God is surely our hardest and greatest lesson.
However. 🤨 Sometimes we should consider this: God waits on us, too! Hear this: “Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you.”5 🤔 Hmm. It sounds like he is withholding grace! What is he waiting on? Does he not love us? Why does he not act swiftly? Well . . . lots of reasons. But first, let’s get one thing straight: “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases.”6 And another thing: Nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”7 God never withholds his love from us. Never. He has always loved us, loves us now, and will love us forever. But he does withhold grace and mercy sometimes! 😧 What? How could this be? “His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning,”8 right? Yes, they are available to us. Every day.
But never forget that “the Lord is a God of justice.”5 And so sometimes he waits . . . . . . for us to repent. And sometimes we are “unwilling”1 to repent! When are we “unwilling”? Every time we do not follow in his ways. “Ah, stubborn children,” declares the Lord, “who carry out a plan, but not mine.”9
You see, our plans are not his plans. Quite the opposite, actually. God says, “You turn things upside down!”10 And frankly, we do. But still . . . are our plans so bad, really? 🤨 I mean, I am an intelligent human. Am I not capable of getting things right? Well . . . probably not. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.”11 And so God waits for us to acknowledge that his idea is best and that his plan is best: “Let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him.”12
Sometimes God is waiting on us. And we thought we were waiting on him! 😕 We thought God was being slow to act. And all the time it was us! What shall we do? It is painfully clear: “He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you.”13
He waits for us.
1Isaiah 30:15 2Psalm 46:10 3Lamentations 3:24-26 4Psalm 27:14 5Isaiah 30:18 6Lamentations 3:22 7Romans 8:39 8Lamentations 3:22-23 9Isaiah 30:1 10Isaiah 29:16 11Isaiah 55:8 12Isaiah 55:7 13Isaiah 30:19