Waiting can be excruciating and agonizing – especially when we don’t know what the outcome will be. While we wait, we hope for the best thing that could happen and worry about the worst.
Waiting can be like walking into a dark room. You walk very slowly, feeling your way along to the next step, hoping you won’t stub your toe or fall. In the meantime, we ask God, “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day?” (Psalm 13:1-2).
We love it when God immediately says yes to a prayer request. We aren’t quite as excited when the answer is wait.
Anxiety tends to exacerbate when we have to wait on the Lord. There’s a desire that’s on our heart. We sense that God has promised something to us. We make our requests known to him. We hope for an affirmative answer. We pray fervently, as the Bible commands.
Some of God’s greatest saints have been forced to wait a long time for an answer. Abraham had to wait 25 years for the promised child, Isaac. Joseph had to wait 22 years before his vision from God was fulfilled. Moses was in the wilderness for 40 years before God’s call came to him. David waited many years before he became king. Even Jesus had to wait until he was 30 years old before he began his earthly ministry.
Though waiting is hard, it serves as a faith builder. Waiting has a way of revealing the latent idols in our lives - anything other than God we seek in an attempt to find joy, peace, meaning, and purpose. Idols are where we invest our time, talents, and resources. They motivate our choices. Because our minds are focused on them, they influence our moods and emotions.
Idols cause anxiety. Worry is often the result of a mind fixed on an idol. No idol on this earth can ever meet the deepest longing of our heart. Only the Creator can. Waiting exposes our idols in this world that have taken a priority over God.
Putting an idol to death during waiting kills anxiety and increases faith. It is here we best learn to trust God. Let God conform you to Jesus’s image (Romans 8:29). It is his goal for you in this life.
Leave the temporal. Pursue the eternal. Develop an eternal perspective. And watch anxiety diminish.