Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bowed deeply in prayer, his face between his knees. Then he said to his young servant, “On your feet now! Look toward the sea.” He went, looked, and reported back, “I don’t see a thing.” “Keep looking,” said Elijah, “seven times if necessary.”
1 Kings 18:42-43
Waiting. Why do we find this so difficult? We are surrounded by quick fixes that have disengaged us with the ability to wait: Amazon prime delivery, Jamie's 15-minute meals, Netflix, email, McDonalds, speed dating and 24/7 opening times. In today’s world, we do not have wait very often. When we do have to wait, we whip our phones out and try to be productive or at least occupy our minds. Why? We have a time scale. We have deadlines. And God needs to fit into the demands of our busy lives, right? Elijah needed an answer from God. He needed this rain to come. He was desperate. But Elijah did not give up after the initial non-response. Elijah stopped and waited on the Lord. He got on his knees and waited for the Lord to move. When God did not answer straight away, he persevered.
It is ok to wait on God. Waiting can be good. We need to allow ourselves to wait. But waiting is difficult and we can start to believe some lies: "I must not have heard God correctly." Waiting does not necessarily mean you heard God incorrectly. We give up too easily because we do not see what we want to see when we want to see it. This is why it is so important to invite God into our wait from the very beginning. Instead, we often try everything possible to make things happen before letting God be a part of our wait. However, as we spend time with Him and in His Word, we gain confidence in His plans. "If I am waiting, I must desire something not in God’s will for my life." In the waiting we can test our desires against the Bible. Sometimes passages seem to conflict and it can be difficult to determine God’s will for your life. This is when we can ask others to pray into our lives for wisdom, discernment and ultimately for God to move. "If I am waiting, I must not be praying enough." It can be so discouraging in the wait. Yet, we need to faithfully follow the teaching of Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:17: “Never stop praying”. Our wait does not end because we pray but our resolve can be strengthened, helping us to face each day. "If I am waiting, I must not have enough faith." Jesus is a gracious and merciful God. Your praying, scripture reading or level of faith does not make Him more gracious. God makes us wait at times so we can glean valuable lessons. But He never does so out of spite. In the waiting we feel as though God is no longer interested or active in our wait. As far as we can tell, He has abandoned us. God did not abandon Abraham and Sarah. God did not abandon the Israelites. God did not abandon King David. God did not abandon Elijah. God has not abandoned and will not abandon you. We know we are waiting well when we truly experience peace in God’s pauses and plans. That peace is demonstrated in the resting of our thoughts and actions.