It’s official. For the first time, one of my kids has strep throat. I was sitting with my daughter today, waiting for the results of the strep test and she complained, “It just isn’t getting better, mom. How long before I get better?” Now, I know very well that after a few doses of the “pink medicine” her throat won’t be hurting any more. But, when you’re the sick one, wellness just can’t come quickly enough.
Have you ever asked God—“How long?” How long before I’m well? How long before You rescue me? How long before I see the fruit of my labor? How long before we receive what You have promised?
These aren’t questions unique to our impatient modern culture.
- Psalm 35:17 How long, Lord, will you look on? Rescue me from their ravages, my precious life from these lions.
- Habakkuk 1:2 How long, LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save?
- Psalm 13:1-2 How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?
Whether it is waiting for God to rescue us or waiting for God to fulfill a promise to us, it’s hard to trust in His timing. We tend to tap our foot with impatience after a while and begin to think He must have forgotten about us. I myself have prayed with the Psalmist, “Be pleased to save me, Lord; come quickly, Lord, to help me” (Psalm 40:13).
You can be honest with God and share with Him your desire for a quick intervention. He created time and knows exactly what pressure time places on us. Still, after we’ve cried out to Him to “Come quickly, Lord!,” then we need to trust Him to deliver us at exactly the right moment. He doesn’t always intervene when we expect it or desire it, but ultimately He is always “right on time.”
In the meantime, do not give up hope that your deliverance will come. As Psalm 27:13-14 says, “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” Notice that waiting doesn’t necessarily mean we are doing nothing! Nor does waiting mean asking God for something and then feverishly trying to make it happen on our own.
While we are waiting, we need to “be strong and take heart.” Waiting itself is an active discipline of seeking God and investing more and more in our relationship with Him, making sure we are focusing on His face and not on our need.
About three months into their journey between Egypt and the Promised Land, the Israelites arrived at Horeb, where they camped out for about a year.
Really meditate on this for a moment.
The people who left Egypt eager for no more than a one-month trek across the wilderness to the Promised Land had already been journeying for three months. Then, they arrive at this mountain and God doesn’t move them again for a year. They didn’t keep their things in their backpacks or set off in the direction of Canaan on their own. They set up camp and actively waited for God to move them on. During their waiting, Moses went up on the mountain and entered into a covenant with God, receiving the Ten Commandments. It was a time of great spiritual intimacy for the nation as they saw God’s glory displayed on that mountain in powerful ways.
But, they didn’t stay there forever. In Deuteronomy 1:6-7, Moses says, “The Lord our God spoke to us at Horeb saying, ‘You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Turn and set your journey and go to the hill country of the Amorites . . .”
Only God knows the answer to your question, “How long?” Just remember that waiting doesn’t mean doing nothing. For my sick daughter, waiting means taking her medicine, doing what she is responsible for doing, and letting the medicine work. If God has you in a season of waiting, be strong, take heart and actively wait for Him, using every moment of this time at the mountain to seek greater intimacy with Him and eagerly await the display of His glory.
And when He says to you, “You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Turn and set your journey and go,” then go! Break camp and move on! Don’t get so comfortable at the mountain that you neglect to continue the journey.
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2011 Heather King