Why does it seem that God is so slow in acting? It seems like you pray for something, especially something that needs a timely resolution, and you wonder when He is going to do something. And when you get frustrated, then you start tinkering with the situation, thinking either you can fix it yourself or that God wants you to play a part in fixing it. Sometimes it is true that God wants your participation, but sometimes the way we interpret participation is different than God’s definition.
When we pray, we do have to wait. But what does it mean to wait? Let’s take an example from everyday life. What do you do when you put your dinner in the microwave to reheat? Do you just stand there and watch the timer countdown? Or do you get your beverage ready, your eating utensils, maybe put a napkin by your place on the table and then, if it’s not ready, you watch the timer as it counts down to zero. Did you just stop, stand there and wait for it? Nope, you continued along the way. Did you have to be still and wait for it? Maybe, depends on what little tasks came to mind. This is a very simple example, as you know what will happen once the microwave timer dings and you know what dish you’ll be eating. Prayer is different in that we pray for our intentions and let God have His way. It would be like putting in a chicken dinner in the microwave oven and it comes out as beef, you just never know how He will answer your prayer. But the waiting game is similar, in that you can continue to prepare, but need to keep that open mind that God may answer your prayer different than you imagine.
There are times when we feel the need to stop and wait to see what God will do. It reminds me of a story of a flood situation, where a person had great faith that God would see him through the flood, and waited at his house. Even as the evacuation orders came in, he stayed. Then the trucks to take people out, followed by the boats and then the helicopters for those that were stranded on their roofs. Even then he stayed, waiting for God to save him. When he perished in the flood and met God face to face, he asked Him why He didn’t save him, and God responded that He tried: by sending the evacuation orders, the trucks, the boats and the helicopters. Sometimes our waiting needs to be active; God may be leading us on a path that will answer our prayers. We may not see that we are on our way to the destination God has planned for us, but He does.
It can be a balancing act trying to figure out how active we need to be in our waiting for God. As our prayers continue to forge a relationship with God, let us ask for the wisdom to understand when to be still and when to act in our wait.