As Christians, we bring all sorts of requests to God, including prayers for guidance, health, a godly spouse, or a friend’s salvation. Sometimes God answers these prayers right away. But other times, he tells us to wait.
All of us will eventually have to wait for an answer to prayer. A few months ago, I began bringing a specific request to God. This request is close to my heart, and I know that I need God’s help and guidance. But right now, he has asked me to wait for his answer. As days turn to weeks and weeks turn to months, it has been easy to grow discouraged.
This is not God’s will for those who wait. Psalms 27:14 encourages us: “Wait on the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait on the LORD.” Waiting is difficult. But God does not want us to grow discouraged. He calls us to keep trusting in him and to remain encouraged. We can take heart as we wait for him.
Trusting God as We Wait
While waiting, it is easy to believe that God doesn’t hear or doesn’t care about our prayers. But this is a lie. Peter reminds us of God’s faithfulness in 2 Peter 3:9: “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” In this verse, Peter is talking about Jesus’ return, but it also applies to our own requests. God is faithful. He has a reason for making us wait, even if we can’t see it.
God knows that it is difficult to keep trusting him while we wait. The Bible gives us ways to bolster our faith. For example, the author of Psalms 77 strengthened his faith by recalling what God had accomplished in the past. He wrote, “Then I thought, ‘To this will I appeal: the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand. I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.”
This strategy has helped me as I wait. This summer, some of my close friends moved away. The first week after they left, I struggled to have hope. Many days I was driven to the point where I prayed, “God, if you don’t help me, I don’t know what I’ll do.” Each time, God came through, encouraging me and giving me strength. Since then, it has been easier for me to trust God, since I know that when I needed him most, he did not let me down.
Another way to remain encouraged is thankfulness. I Thessalonians 5:16-18 admonishes us: “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” It is difficult to remain discouraged while thanking God. Remember to thank him for the encouragement of a friend; a simple, daily win; or the roof over your head. Also, don’t stop asking for an answer. I Thessalonians 5:16-18 tells us to “pray continually.” Go ahead and tell God how hard waiting is. He cares about you and is willing to share your pain.
Keep Obeying God
Finally, we must keep obeying God. For me, this is one of the most difficult parts of waiting. As I grow discouraged, I easily become selfish, growing lazy towards my responsibilities and uncaring towards others. But part of trusting God is obeying him in mundane, everyday areas. Luke 16:10 reminds us: “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” God wants us to honor him not only by trusting him with big things but by obeying him in small things. Don’t allow discouragement to keep you from obeying him.
We are called to take heart as we wait. That doesn’t change the fact that waiting is hard. But no matter how hard it gets, we must not give up hope. Galatians 6:9 urges us, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” God understands that waiting is hard; but he calls us to take heart. Behind the scenes, God hears you and is working for your good. You can rest and trust in him.
Sarah Howell is an eighteen-year-old, homeschooled deep thinker. She loves enjoying and creating beauty of all forms. She focuses on writing speculative fiction but also writes articles and blog posts. Throughout her teen years, Sarah has struggled with doubt and with trusting God with her life and her trials. This has taught her that struggling doesn’t make her any less worthy of love- “wilted is not worthless.” Her goal is to encourage other young women in the same struggles.