Waiting is difficult, especially in a fast-paced world. In our increasingly connected world, high-speed data transmission has eroded our patience.
When we send a text message or upload a post to social media, we expect an immediate response and fret when replies do not arrive as quickly.
Our need to be in control of circumstances makes it harder to wait. We like certainty and clarity, and become edgy and impatient when these are absent in our life situations.
Similarly, when we bring our desires and concerns before the Lord but fail to hear from Him, we ask in exasperation, “How long more do I have to wait?”
In Isaiah 6, the prophet also asked, “For how long, O Lord?” (Isaiah 6:11-13) when he was commissioned. The Lord told Isaiah that the nature of his prophetic ministry would be very challenging—even painful.
Isaiah lamented over the hopeless situation ahead, knowing his message to the people would fall on deaf ears. Like Isaiah, we may sometimes be impatient for the Lord to answer our constant pleas and fervent prayers.
When we fail to hear from Him, we can feel emotionally and spiritually worn out. God’s response to Isaiah was to wait until God had accomplished His purpose in the nation of Israel.
God told Isaiah that while his ministry would end in seeming failure, with the land ruined and people sent into exile, He will usher in a new work with the remnant who remained faithful to Him.
Therefore, Isaiah needed to be patient and submit to God’s plans and purpose.
Waiting can be agonising, especially when we feel as if the God of hope is silent and distant. Our hope dissipates as the situation worsens with no sign of relief nor breakthrough in sight.
In such times, we are tempted to give up and pursue our own plans. God warned Isaiah and Israel against devising their own solutions, and encouraged them to faithfully and fearlessly trust Him, because He is with us (Isaiah 8:10-11).
God’s delays are His means to develop our character. David Roper writes,
“Waiting is the time for soul-making, the time to develop the quieter virtues—submission, humility, patience, endurance, persistence. The quiet virtues take the longest to learn, are the last to be learned, and, it seems, can only be learned through God’s delays, the very thing we’re most inclined to resist.” (In Quietness and Confidence)
For how long, O Lord? We need not resist times of delay and can trust God because He is working in our waiting, to accomplish His purpose in us.
Lam Kok Hiang has over 30 years of experience in full-time Christian vocational ministry. He holds a MA (Biblical Studies) from Dallas Theological Seminary and has led Cru Singapore as National Team Leader since 2006. An avid runner, Kok Hiang shares a love for books with his wife, Sharon. Together, their desire is to see young leaders rise up in local churches and missions agencies across Asia.
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