Waiting can be the hardest thing to do, especially if we are uncertain about the outcome. It would be easier if there was a guaranteed outcome, or a promise from God to hold on to. But often it seems like God is silent when we are waiting. I do not know about you, but I have no idea whether he will ever answer my prayer mostly, so it feels like am just there waiting in the dark, with questions like; “how long, o Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day?” o Lord, how long? (Psalm 13:1-3). But even through all the doubt, we can always be encouraged by how long Abraham waited and eventually got his answer.
When God says No
When we read Romans 4:20-21, that no unbelief made Abraham waver concerning the promise of God, that he was fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised, we can admire Abraham’s Faith, but it can be frustrating to wait because we think he had a direct promise from God and that is why he was content to wait. But while he waited, he sometimes doubted God’s protection and tried to fulfill the promise on his own through Hagar. Why? Maybe he thought God had forgotten about the promise and that God needed his help “maybe”. Here, I guess, most of us can relate to Abraham’s struggle with impatience. We often try to help God fulfill his plans, the plans we want him to have for us, and think we deserve. When we read Abraham’s story in the Bible, we learn that, while he was waiting, God was working on teaching him patience, molding his character, and also building their friendship. It was in those seemingly many wasted years that God transformed him and Abraham knew him more, he was ready for the biggest test of his faith when he was asked to sacrifice his promised son Isaac. Abraham was not clinging to his own understanding of the fulfillment of God’s promise. The promise could have been fulfilled in any way God chose, even raising Isaac from the dead if he wanted to (Hebrews 11:19). So, his ultimate faith lay in God’s trustworthiness.
The Precious Answer
Abraham’s wait strengthened his faith, taught him God’s ways, showed him God’s faithfulness, and he knew that God will provide everything he needed. Perhaps, as we wait on God’s answer to our prayers, he is working to forge our faith, to deepen our relationship, to make us attentive to his voice, to help us trust in him more, to transform us into the likeness of Jesus Christ and prepare us for ministry. God knows what we need, we do not. He has seen the future, we have not. He will give us what is best for us when it is best for us. Waiting is the most precious answer because it draws us closer to God rather than clinging to the outcome.