Happy New Year! Starting a new year is supposed to be filled with hope and promise and looking forward to the new things God will do. But what about those things that you've waited and waited and waited for, the things you've been praying for, that still haven't happened and remain beyond your grasp?
What does it look it like to keep waiting in faith when it's a new year and God is still saying, "Not yet. Not quite yet"?
Here's an excerpt from Waiting for Wonder that I hope will encourage you in the still-not-yet places of life:
Who is this God who tells us we still must wait?
He is the God of just a little longer.
He is the God of more.
He is the God who loves us enough to make us wait longer to give us more.
I ponder this strange dichotomy as I think of my life, and Sarah’s, and the story of Lazarus in John 11. Jesus’ good friends from Bethany, Mary and Martha, sent him word saying, “Lord, the one whom you love is ill” (John 11:3). Jesus received their message in plenty of time. Plus he’d already shown that he could heal from a distance, with just a word. But he didn’t say that word. And he didn’t start for Bethany. Instead, John tells us, “Jesus loved Martha, her sister, and Lazarus. When he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed where he was” (John 11:5-6). He stayed for two whole days. He stayed long enough for Lazarus to die without him.
Jesus loved them, so he waited? He waited so that Lazarus died?
That doesn’t seem like love. Yet it is.
We, of course, know the rest of the story. Jesus returned to the sisters when Lazarus was in the grave. The one who was both their friend and the God of all the universe wept with Mary and showed Martha a deeper understanding of resurrection. And he showed them himself in a way they had never seen before. He told them, “I am the resurrection and the life” and revealed what that meant by raising Lazarus from the dead (John 11:25).
He made them wait. He gave them more.
They wanted healing. He gave them life.
He loved them, so he waited.
He loves us, and so he waits, just a little longer. And in waiting, he gives us more. Because in the wait, God is not cruel but is working. He is preparing us for the promise. He is freeing us, and he is freeing the ones we love. He waits that we may be set free.
So when God asks us to still wait when it seems the consequences are grave, when he says “Not yet, not quite yet,” remember the power of resurrection, of new life. Remember that he waits because he loves us.
He is the God of more than we prayed for, more than we hoped, more than we even knew we needed.
Wait for the God of more.
If the Lord Jehovah makes us wait, let us do so with our whole hearts;
for blessed are all they that wait for Him. He is worth waiting for.
The waiting itself is beneficial to us: it tries faith, exercises patience,
trains submission, and endears the blessing when it comes.
--Charles Spurgeon, The Treasury of David