When God doesn’t seem to answer my prayers as I like or according to my timetable, I can become anxious, discouraged, and frustrated. I’ve had times when I’ve become disillusioned. I can easily forget that He is always, always working out His glorious, life-giving plan, whether I see His hand or not. He works as powerfully through our waiting and periods of divine silence as He does through His miraculous acts.
As Christmas approaches, which I know will be hard, maybe even disappointing, for many this year, I’ve been contemplating all that occurred prior to Jesus’s birth. The longing, the waiting, and the loving, sovereign hand of God that worked through it all.
The nativity story begins with a faithful, older couple named Elizabeth and Zechariah. Luke 1:6-7 tells us “Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.”
These two verses, sitting back to back, really hit me. Elizabeth and Zechariah honored God, despite the deep ache they must have felt, despite their decades’ long unanswered prayers. And I’m certain both—the fact that they remained faithful to God and barren, provided such comfort to so many others in their community. Those who were pleading with God, perhaps for children of their own, maybe for healing, or that opportunity that never seemed to come, and were beginning to wonder if they’d perhaps done something wrong. If God’s delay or decline revealed His lack of favor or came from the result of some sin.
In those moments when negative thinking threatened to consume their minds, did they pause and reflect on the unanswered prayers of this well-known, well-respected, godly couple? And in their reflection, did they find the strength to wait just a little longer, and to trust that God saw them, heard them, loved them, and was working in their waiting, just as, I believe, He worked in Zechariah and Elizabeth’s?
If you’ve read the full story, you know God did answer Zechariah and Elizabeth’s prayers in an awe-inspiring way. After decades of barrenness, He planted a mighty man of God in Elizabeth’s womb, the one who came in the power and spirit of Elijah to prepare the way for our Savior. I love that part of the story. I love seeing those miraculous, only God could, moments. But today, let’s sit in the waiting, that place we’re sometimes tempted to rush through, remembering that God is working, even there. He is with us, even there.
If you’re currently in a season of waiting, may you will sense God’s presence and His love. You aren’t forgotten.
How might God be using your waiting period for something glorious and life-giving?
Speaking of waiting, and waiting well, you might find encouragement in our latest Faith Over Fear podcast episode on fighting our anxiety and finding peace by resting, intentionally, with Christ.
The Courage to Take a Risk for Friendship – Ep. 50 – Faith Over Fear
For those who find waiting raises their anxiety level, here’s one of the most effective ways I’ve found to battle anxious thinking …
And don’t forget, Giving Tuesday is almost here!