I had the privilege of first presenting this devotional to my fellow Christian Writers Guild Craftsman class members at our residency in August 2012.
I enjoy shopping, so I’ve made my share of online purchases. Every time, a confirmation email with a tracking number appears in my inbox, and I know where the package is located in the delivery process. Then, right on schedule, my purchase arrives.
One day while I walked to the mailbox to retrieve my gray sequined cardigan, I thought of an unanswered prayer and concluded, Wouldn’t it be great if unanswered prayers came with tracking numbers? Imagine clicking a link to get an estimate of the answer’s arrival.
If only it were that simple.
Waiting on God’s timing for an answer in a world of tracking numbers and other conveniences designed to eliminate or ease the waiting process can be discouraging. God asks us to wait many times in our lives, and while we may not have tracking numbers, we have his word to help us. Here are things I remember when waiting is difficult.
Be vigilant because the forces of evil are looking to capitalize on the discouragement that can come from waiting. Satan would love to convince you that what you are waiting on will never happen, and your circumstances will never change. Don’t listen to Satan’s lies because if God has asked you to wait, then he is at work. Paul reminds us in Ephesians 6:10-11, “Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”
Though we may experience setbacks that often accompany the waiting process, trusting God will bring us peace and hope. Isaiah 26:3-4 tells us, “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal.” Romans 15:13 reminds us, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Be thankful. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us, “Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Even though the wait is challenging and we are not thankful for the circumstances, we can be thankful for God helping us mature because of the situation. We can give thanks for God’s faithfulness in the past and praise him for it. Psalm 13:6 says, “I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me.”
Our lives would be easier if God provided tracking numbers while we waited for prayers to be answered. But in his wisdom he gave his word instead, and he uses times of waiting to develop our vigilance, to hone our trust, and to increase our thankfulness.