“Sarah bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.” Genesis 21:2
If God had told Abraham in Haran that he must wait for thirty years until he pressed the promised child to his bosom, his heart would have failed him. So, in gracious love, the length of the weary years was hidden, and only as they were nearly spent, and there were only a few more months to wait, God told him that “according to the time of life, Sarah shall have a son.” (Gen. 18:14). The set time came at last; and then the laughter that filled the patriarch’s home made the aged pair forget the long and weary vigil.
Take heart, waiting one, thou waitest for One who cannot disappoint thee; and who will not be five minutes behind the appointed moment: ere long “your sorrow shall be turned into joy.”
Ah, happy soul, when God makes thee laugh! Then sorrow and crying shall flee away forever, as darkness before the dawn. (Streams in the Desert)
“There are not three stages in spiritual life-worship, waiting, and work. Some of us go in jumps like spiritual frogs. We jump from worship to waiting to work. God’s idea is that the three should go together. They were always together in the life of our Lord.” (Oswald Chambers)
My work has required an unusual stretch of days and nights away from home that my wife and I endure, but do not particularly enjoy. The task at hand is meaningful, but the separation difficult. During these periods apart, I occupy myself with thoughts of my wife, bragging to others about her, writing and speaking to her, and generally loving and appreciating her on an increasingly deeper level. I catch myself saying that I cannot wait to see her, when what I mean to say is that she is worth waiting for. Absence makes the heart grow fonder if we invest our waiting rather than merely marking time.
Waiting anticipates an answer. Hanging fire is worship if in doing so we celebrate Sovereign God. Fatalism teaches we are puppets dangling from the hands of impersonal fate; sovereignty establishes us as children and servants of an all-powerful God who acts according to His nature of perfect love. We are free to stand by in faith knowing that God’s vested interest is what is best for us. Hope permeates the silence, and confidence grows in anticipation of His answer.