Waiting on God when He has not answered our prayers is one of the hardest places to be. There are times when we pray with everything in us and we so need God to intervene and yet, nothing changes. Status quo. Silence. Or the need gets even greater.
At first, it’s easy to pray and wait with great expectancy for God to answer big and bold. But as the days and weeks and months – and years — roll on with no answer, we can begin to wonder whether God is even listening.
Have you been in a place where circumstances are hard and though you have been praying, it just seems like God does not hear?
When the weeks and months go on without a clear answer, we can become weary in praying. I begin to pray less fervently and less consistently. It gets harder to expect God to answer big and bold. And my faith in whether God will answer can get a little shaky.
I have been there. Waiting on God to intervene, to show Himself, to fix it.
“How long, O LORD, will I call for help, And You will not hear?”
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This was the cry of Habakkuk. As I studied Habakkuk (pronounced ha-BACK-uk and not ha-ba-COOK as I was trying to do), God reaffirmed several deep truths about waiting on Him to answer prayer. I knew generally about Habakkuk, because one of my all-time favorite books is based on the last verses of this book, but I knew little about Habakkuk’s struggles as He waited for God.
Habakkuk was in a hard place and he came to God with some hard questions. Judah, the country surrounding Jerusalem where Habakkuk lived, was filled with immorality, cult worship and injustice. The dialogue between Habakkuk and God shows us 6 truths about waiting on God to answer our prayer:
1. When waiting on God, I need to bring the hard questions to God rather than letting the hard questions drive me from God. (Hab 1:2; 13) Will God answer my questions? I have found that if I lay my hard questions before God in trust, God slowly peels back the layers of my understanding. Sometimes, however, God’s full answer may not be completely revealed until I see Him in heaven.
2. When waiting on God, I need to realize God’s answer to my situation may be part of a much larger plan. (Hab 1:5) If our eyes could only pan out to see all that God is orchestrating, we might understand the wait. Sometimes we have to wait for God to answer our prayers because our situation is only a small part of the larger work that God is doing.
3. When waiting on God, I need to realize that God is at work even when I cannot see Him. (Hab 1:5) Even as Habakkuk wondered whether God was listening, God had been moving on a worldwide level to address the very problems that Habakkuk prayed about. God’s silence does not mean God’s inactivity.
4. When waiting on God, I need to reaffirm Who God is so that I can press through the wait. (Hab 1:12) When our prayers are not answered right away, we can begin to wonder whether God’s promises are really true. Is He really in charge or are we just subject to the whim of life’s circumstances? The only way to make it through the wait is to take our tiny seed of faith to God’s Word, where He rewards us with soul-deep affirmations of Who He is.
5. When waiting on God, I need to make sure that I haven’t rejected His answer. (Hab 1:13) Is God really asking me to wait or am I just looking for a different answer? Above all else, my life must conform to God’s will.
6. When waiting on God, I need to fully trust that God‘s timing is perfect. (Hab 2:3)
“If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely
take place. It will not be delayed.”
We know this; we’ve seen it’s truth over and over. God’s timing is not just better than ours, it is perfect. And if God’s timing is perfect, then we can rest in the wait.