Very often, especially in this day and age, when we want something, we want it now. It is just the same way our toddlers behave. “I want it now”! In spite of age and our so-called maturity, we still, essentially, behave the same way. When prayers go up, blessings must come down; but we want the blessings right away. The time between the promise of God and its fulfilling is very important. That waiting period is also the watching period, because when we are waiting, we must also keep watch. Moses knew he will lead the Israelites out of slavery and bondage when he was 40 years old, but this did not materialize till he turned 80. It took 25 years after David was anointed King by Samuel before he actually sat on the throne. In each case it was a long time of waiting by our standards.
The idea of waiting presupposes that there is already a promise made. The Lord’s promise for you may be that you will have a God-fearing spouse, it may be that your own child is on the way. Whatever the Lord has promised to you, there must be a waiting period. The promises and the fulfillment are usually the highlights, but the main story is in the waiting. You see, God has a destination for each and every one of us in our journey of life, but it matters to God how you did on the journey. Waiting on the Lord is waiting for God’s plan for you to unfold. In Psalm 106, the Psalmist talked about those that do not wait on the Lord. “But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his plan to unfold (vs 13). “So he gave them what they asked for (vs 15a). It is always good to allow God’s plan to unfold, otherwise we will receive what we asked for but that is not in the plan of God.
In Matthew 26:41, Jesus told the disciples to “watch and pray”. Here watching also goes with praying. Reading the previous passages, we see here that the idea of watching suggests staying awake, being vigilant, and being on guard. Spiritually it means being alert and being focused. So, when we talk about waiting and watching, we are essentially saying that during this period between a promise and its fulfillment, we must stay focused, we must remain alert, we must be vigilant, and we must be on guard. Jesus was even more explicit with Peter in that verse, He said “Watch and Pray so that you will not fall into temptation”. During the period of waiting, we must be careful not to fall into any expectation. Vigilance and focus helps us to walk in obedience and to worship God wholeheartedly. The period of waiting and watching is a time that we must remain intensely focused on God, trusting that whatever He says, He will surely do. Hebrews 10:35-37 says “do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised. For, ‘In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.’” The key is to do His will, persevere, and stay trusting and the Lord will fulfill what He promised.
We also grow spiritually while we are waiting if we are watching. In waiting and watching Moses learnt to be humble and to be completely dependent on God. A man who was the nephew of a powerful King became a shepherd rearing sheep in a foreign land. Of course, he had to learn patience and he had to learn to be content with His new life, a sharp contrast to what drove him there in the first place. David, on the other hand, went from being a successful warrior who just killed a giant to a man being pursued by his own King. But, God showed him mercy as he was protected and housed by the same Philistines whose giant he killed. So David himself learnt what it means to show mercy. He had the opportunity to kill King Saul twice but did not do it, he showed mercy because he has received mercy.
Brothers and sisters, in our own eyes, we feel that any delay is too long, but our Lord who is pruning us and growing us seeks to take us through a time of waiting and watching so that we will become better Christians. His promises are sure for us. But let us wait on Him and as we wait let us keep watch. He who promised will bring it to fruition. “Wait on the Lord, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land.” – Psalms 37:34. – Pastor Simbo Odunaiya