There are basically three general answers God gives to us when we ask him for something, “Yes, no, or wait.”
1. When God Is Saying Wait, You Will Not Have a Clear “Yes” or “No”
Oftentimes we choose to believe God is saying wait because we don’t like the “no” he has already clearly given us and thus we are hoping a “wait” will one day turn into a “yes.”
Perhaps the most common way this scenario occurs is within relationships. Sometimes people pray to be with a certain person, God gives a clear no, but then we keep waiting and waiting, just hoping that something changes over time. If someone has moved on or directly told you they do not want to be in a relationship with you, this is a clear no from God.
But when God is truly saying to wait, you will not have a clear yes or no. When you are unsure of what God is saying, this often means God is telling you to wait and in time he will bring the clarity you are asking for. As Habakkuk 2:3 states, “For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.”
2. When God Is Telling You to Wait, You Will Be Benefited Through Your Season of Waiting
Waiting is not always the right response. Sometimes God wants us to act immediately. Sometimes we are in a situation where God wants us to run from temptation and not passively wait for the circumstances to change. On the other hand, there are many times in life where God really is calling us to wait. So how you can know which season you are in?
One sign that God really is calling you to wait is when a season of waiting will benefit you and mature you. God always does what is best for his people and whatever will bring himself the most glory. This means that God will not always do what is easiest or what will cause the least amount of pain. In love, God often lets us go through hard seasons that hurt if he knows this season will transform us and benefit us for the rest of our lives.
If the waiting would cause you pointless harm that does not help you and glorify God, it is not God telling you to wait. When God is really saying to wait, it will be for your good. For as Isaiah 40:30-31 states, “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
3. If Someone Is Blocking Your Way with Evil Intent, God Could Be Telling You to Wait for His Justice
The Bible gives us many instructions on how to deal with evil people who are trying to harm us. Sometimes we are supposed to confront them and seek reconciliation as Matthew 18:15-20 explains. Sometimes we are supposed to report someone to the proper authorities so they can execute the civil justice God has appointed them to enforce as Romans 13:1-5 explains. But sometimes, God just wants us to wait for him to bring about his own justice on the person who is seeking to harm us. Psalm 37:7-9 states:
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.”
4. If You Are in a Season of Suffering, God Could Be Telling You to Wait
There are two general responses God leads his people to make when they go through seasons of trials and testing: acceptance and change. Sometimes God will show you exactly what you need to change in your life so the suffering will end. At other times, however, there is no quick fix available. In these seasons of suffering, God could be calling you to wait patiently for him to bring you through the storm.
Isaiah 33:2 states, “O Lord, be gracious to us; we wait for you. Be our arm every morning, our salvation in the time of trouble.” Life is not always nice and neat. Living on this broken planet will often be very painful and hard. While we might wish God would never let us go through anything difficult, this is not how God shows his love for us.
If we become angry at God during our season of suffering, our hearts will be damaged and our internal pain will only intensify even after the circumstances subside. God desires his people to love him and to remain faithful even when life is not going the way we want. It’s not easy, but the true test of faith is how we respond to God when life is difficult and we are confused about why God is allowing this season of suffering. How you respond in these seasons of life is the real test of your salvation. Those who truly know God will remain faithful and not forsake God during the hard times.
So if you are going through a difficult time in life and your heart is breaking, sometimes there is no quick fix. Sometimes God might simply be saying, “Wait.” When we remain faithful, God will bring us through the storms. Life is not easy, but God is worth everything. Whatever we sacrifice for God in this life we will receive so much more for eternity. As Ephesians 3:20-21 states:
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”