Summary: A look at some of the major reasons that God doesn't always answer our prayers when we want Him to.
A Nagging Question: Why does God make us wait?
The questions linger in our minds.
Even someone with as great a faith as Abraham struggled with these questions.
I want to look at some of the main reasons that He makes us wait. I realize this is not as good as telling you that God is going to take your waiting away. Even though it's a consolation prize, I hope the knowledge that waiting time is not wasted time is of some comfort.
What Might God Be Up To?
1. Waiting may be requiring because of timing issues.
Sometimes we have to wait because God is bringing together a larger plan and our part in it is not just yet.
Example: Karen and I at Marshall, not meeting for five years.
2. Waiting may be required because of others' disobedience.
Sometimes God is ready to move on something, but the free will that others have stands in the way. God will not force someone to do things they don't want to do.
This was repeated again and again in the Old Testament as the prophets cried out to God asking where He was and why He didn't move among His people. All too often, His answer was that He was waiting and withholding His presence because of the sin of His people.
3. Waiting reveals whether we really want it.
Like a child in a toy store, we throw out prayer requests one on top of another. Many of those, though, are not things we're really committed to. We are unwilling to persevere in prayer for them.
Like the child in the toy store, we excitedly cry out our request, only to forget all about it five minutes later.
Waiting gives time to reveal whether this is something that's enough of a burden or concern to us that we're willing to persevere in prayer and action for it.
I find v. 8 especially significant. Jesus asks whether He will find faith on the earth when He returns. He sees to be implying that's the most valuable thing He could find when He returns.
4. Waiting builds our faith.
Faith is the evidence of things not seen.
You can't build up your faith if you're constantly given things as soon as you ask for them.
This is important because faith is something that brings great honor and glory to God. Moments of faith are moments when we believe in God for who He is rather than what He's done. I cannot build up faith if I'm never required to exercise faith.
We tend to view waiting like a battery. I have certain amount of power and the longer God makes me wait the more depleted I am.
Consider an alternative image: a pregnancy. Pregnancy also requires waiting, but the longer you're waiting, the more the child is growing and maturing. In essence, with a pregnancy, the waiting doesn't diminish; it increases.
5. Never having to wait makes you a brat.
We all know of kids who are given everything they want by their parents. We have a name for kids like that: brats.
Simply being given what you want as soon as you ask for it leads to immaturity. You would like to think that someone treated like that comes to appreciate how great their situation is, but we all know that's not true. Instead, what happens is that the child comes to expect that treatment and becomes agitated at even the slightest inconvenience.