There are times in the Christian’s life when we wait upon God, when we wait for relief from some kind of affliction, and when we wait for a long time for God to answer prayer. I am certain that you have experienced times like these, and know that the temptation in such times is to despair and to demand, to grow angry and impatient. But in The Mystery of Providence John Flavel warns: Though God means to give you the comfort or mercy you long for, he usually first exercises your patience by making you wait. He does that for these three reasons:
1. Because this is not the right time for you to receive that mercy. Simply stated, God does not judge time as you do. You are in a hurry, but God is not, and he knows the perfect time to dispense his mercy. “For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him” (Isaiah 30:18). Will you wait for his timing?
2. These difficult circumstances have not accomplished in your heart what God means for them to accomplish. Though you may be earnest and impatient in your desire for what you believe are better circumstances, God will wait until the trial has accomplished his purposes.
3. The more you pray and the more you search your heart, the sweeter the relief will be when it comes. God means to overwhelm you with his grace, and it may take fervent prayer and humble patience for you to respond to his mercy in the right way. “It will be said on that day, ‘Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation’ (Isaiah 25:9 ESV).”
Always consider that God’s heart can be toward you even while his hand appears to be against you.
As a sinful human being, you are prone to judge your circumstances by your senses and observations. Always consider that God’s heart can be toward you even while his hand appears to be against you. If your circumstances continue unabated you may be tempted to think that your prayers have been useless and that you are without hope in the world. You may even go so far as to conclude that God is angry with you and has closed his ears to your prayers. But the God who has saved you will never turn his back on you.