We live in a microwave society where everything seems instantaneous. Instant popcorn, fast food, microwave vegetables. Our phones hold vast libraries worth of information at our fingertips. We watch TV “on demand” to see shows at whatever time suits our needs.
In high school, I had a pen pal in England. If I received a letter and responded the next day, I got a note every 10 days. Now with email, we can communicate across the globe in less than 10 seconds. With everything available so quickly, we can lose our ability to wait.
Waiting is never easy. So God, in His great love for us, provides opportunities for us to grow. Hebrews 10:36 says, “For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise.” (NKJV) One of the byproducts of obedience over the long haul is the ability to persevere. The more we heed God, the more we see Him care for His own.
The story of the persistent widow and the unjust judge (Luke 18:1-18) has always struck me. The widow demanded justice every day from the judge and wore him down. He granted her justice so she’d leave him alone. God is a just judge, and avenges His children speedily. It probably didn’t feel fast to the widow, but God took care of her. Part of our job is to ask God for help.
Matthew 7:7-11 (HCSB) says “Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” The original Greek verbs denote a continued action, not a one-time occurrence. We are to keep asking, not just ask once. We need to continue praying and not give up.
We must keep praying, because sometimes God says no before saying yes. Trying to find my first real job was stressful. I had seasonal work, which had the possibility to lead into full time employment. The position I wanted to fill was in my field of studies. My coworker had a different educational background and unrelated work experience. I assumed I’d get the job. I didn’t.
I was devastated. I couldn’t understand why she was hired. In my mind, I was more qualified. I questioned God’s wisdom in withholding this job from me. This showed a lack of faith when I acted like God didn’t care. Our Heavenly Father always heard me, but I needed to endure. Daniel fasted three weeks before the angel brought a message to him because of a spiritual battle. I had to pray and trust God, knowing He would come through.
Fortunately, God answered my cries. A month later, I was offered a three month-internship that required me to move. I knew it was where God wanted me. If I had had a full time job, I wouldn’t have had the courage to leave for another short-term job. Even after moving in faith, it still took months to get a permanent job. I worked for a temp agency until God gave me a good job with nice people.
God’s no turned into a wait so He could give me His best. Ephesians 3:20-21 says, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (NKJV) God exceeded my expectations and generously provided for my needs.
My part is to pray and trust. God’s job is to hear. His timing and ways are perfect. However, God’s timing rarely seems to be my timing. When I pray, the answer is often wait. Sometimes, I wouldn’t have appreciated the things God had for me if I had received them sooner. Other times, God was laying groundwork behind the scenes for my future. I just didn’t know about it when I first prayed. Had I received my original requests, I would have missed out on better things.
Ask God boldly for all things, great and small, knowing He hears your voice. Keep praying until something changes. It might look different than what was on your original radar, so watch out. Good things are coming, just keep praying.
Joanna Eccles has led Bible studies for over ten years and completed the year-long C. S. Lewis Fellows Program. She is passionate about discipleship and helping people know God better. Joanna enjoys coffee, traveling, and reading, and currently lives in Virginia.