One of the hardest aspects of the Christian life can be waiting on the Lord. We live in a culture that gets everything it wants immediately. We even complain if our fast food doesn’t come quickly enough, and we want the Lord to answer our prayers just as quickly.
But if we go back a few thousand years—long before instant grits and minute rice—we still see people who were impatient with God. Many times the men were guilty of taking matters into their own hands, while four women in particular stand out as being patient prayers. They were not perfect, but when it came down to it, they kept their trust in the Lord. They are Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, and Hannah.
All four of these women had the same plight: bareness. In their culture it was humiliating for a woman to not be able to provide a child for her husband, and in any culture it is at the very least saddening. And so these women each continued to pray that God would send them a child, and the Lord eventually blessed them with children according to His timing.
To Sarah He sent Isaac, the child of promise who made Abraham the father of God’s people. To Rebekah He sent twins, Jacob and Esau. Jacob’s name would be changed to Israel, and that name would stay with his descendants forever. To Rachel God sent Joseph, then Benjamin. Joseph became the second most powerful ruler in the world, and through him the world was saved from famine. And to Hannah the Lord sent Samuel, a prophet, the final judge, and the man who anointed David to be Israel’s king.
Listen to how Warren Wiersbe describes the conditions that preceded the birth of Samuel:
“As He often did in Israel’s history, God began to solve the problem by sending a baby. Babies are God’s announcements that He knows the need, cares about His people, and is at work on their behalf. The arrival of a baby ushers in new life and a new beginning; babies are signposts to the future, and their conception and birth is a miracle that only God can do (Be Successful, page 14).”
Maybe you have found yourself in the shoes of these women, waiting on the Lord. Perhaps, like them, it is bareness that bothers you the most. Or maybe you have been waiting on the right mate, job opportunity, or for that prodigal son to come home. Whatever it is you may be waiting for, remember that God’s timing is not ours.
Do you realize that we would have peace in the Middle East if Abraham had waited on the Lord for his son Isaac? Instead, he took another wife and had a son with her first, and their descendants have been at war ever since.
The providential timing of the birth of Isaac led to the providential timing of the birth of Isaac’s son Jacob, and to Jacob’s son Joseph. The timing of Joseph’s birth put him in a position to keep the world, including Israel, alive through a severe famine.
And the birth of Samuel during the time of the judges is also significant. God raised him up at the perfect time to revive Israel and anoint David to be their king.
In every situation God’s timing brings about what is best for His purpose. You might not see it right now while you are waiting, but you must trust that God has not forgotten you, and that He has a plan for your life.
“For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
(For more on this topic, read my book Asleep in Heaven's Nursery here)
Related blogs: The Age of Accountability and David's Two Sons, Rachel Dowd Book Sponsorship Program, and Asleep in Heaven's Nursery)