God gave amazing promises to men. He told Abraham “I will make you a great nation, I will bless you. I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you, I will curse. Through you every family on earth will be blessed.” (Gen 12:2,3 GW). Joseph dreamt that the sun, moon and eleven stars bowed down to him (Gen 37:9). David was anointed king over Israel when King Saul was reigning (1 Samuel 16:13). But these men had to patiently wait in faith for the fulfilment of their promises: Abraham for 25 years, Joseph for 29 years and David for around 15 years.
Waiting is not meant only for Old Testament heroes. The Christians to whom the epistle of Hebrews was originally written had endured a lot of hardship and pain, were publicly insulted, mistreated and their property was violently seized from them (Hebrews 10:32-34). They were not asked to pray more or run to others for prayer nor were they asked to keep speaking and claiming the promises as popularised by the Word of Faith movement. Though these are not wrong, the Biblical advice given to them was to wait! They were told in Hebrews 10:35-36 (ISV) “Don’t lose your confidence, since it holds a great reward for you. For you need endurance, so that after you have done God’s will you can receive what he has promised.”
Similarly if God has promised you something but you don’t seem to receive it, confirm that you have understood His Word correctly and that there is no sin or disobedience blocking the answer. Seek Godly counsel and prayer and you may find reasons why you haven’t got an answer from God. But in some occasions God may just be asking you to wait! Unfortunately God does not tell us how long the wait will be and He seems to like to give His promises well before the time of fulfilment! God could have delayed giving His promise to Abraham and spared him many years of longing for a son or delayed Joseph’s dream and allowed him to stay longer with his family or delayed David’s anointing so that he did not have to keep running endlessly from King Saul. But God in His infinite wisdom gave the promises early and made these men to wait without a specific timeline. He does this since such testing of faith produces endurance (Jas 1:3). So if you have been made to wait don’t get desperate or give up. Some desperately approach a great number of persons for help and prayer or get frustrated with God. (At least I am guilty of these). You cannot artificially speed up the process. Waiting is not easy and this does not seem to be commonly taught.
God seems to be making me wait. How much ever I pray and seek his face for a very important issue in my life, He doesn’t seem to open any door. A keen reader will note that I have even made references to this waiting in my blog over the years ago in these articles Problems and Christians, I will be with him in trouble and God is not a genie. I have been told that my problem is because I have not done God’s will (i.e., LEF’s view of God’s will). The Daniels of the Laymen’s Evangelical Fellowship say that I need to repent and doors will be opened. Some would feel that because I write against wrong teaching in the Church, trouble has come upon me. But I believe that God’s message to me is “Be still in the presence of the Lord, and patiently wait for Him to act” (Psalm 37:7 NLT) and to be “followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. (Heb 6:12). This post could probably be more appropriate to me than to my readers!
We start our life as a Christian by faith (John 3:16, Romans 10:9) and we continue to live by faith (Hebrews 10:38). But it is not often taught that along with faith, there is an element of waiting to inherit our promises. Although Abraham waited 25 years, Joseph 29 years and David around 15 years before their promises were fulfilled, in our age we do not always connect inheriting the promises of God with waiting. We seem to prefer to blame it on sin or lack of faith or other reasons and seek out our own solutions. But Hebrews 6:11,12 (ISV) teaches “we want each of you to continue to be diligent to the very end, in order to give full assurance to your hope. Then, instead of being lazy, you will imitate those who are inheriting the promises through faith and patience.
“Be strong and of a good courage” (Joshua 1:6). “We don’t belong with those who turn back and are destroyed. Instead, we belong with those who have faith and are saved.” (Heb 10:35 GW). By waiting, Abraham, Joseph and David saw the fulfilment of God’s amazing promises. Job received double for what he lost. So “endure until your testing is over. Then you will be mature and complete, and you won’t need anything.” (James 1:4 GW).