As we pray, study God’s Word, and face the vicissitudes of life that come at at us, Scripture tells us over and over again about the comforts that come with waiting on God. What exactly does it mean to wait on God? What are the comforts and blessings that come when we do wait on God? Is the Fruit of the Spirit, patience, implicated in our waiting on God? If we learn what it truly means Biblically to wait on God, what is God trying to teach us through our waiting on His timing?
The Sovereignty of God
There are many attributes we could study concerning God’s character. God’s sovereignty, however, speaks to who God is in contrast to who man is. God’s sovereignty simply means that God is God. He does what He pleases, when He pleases, how He pleases. It is tempting to qualify this statement with God’s other attributes, so as to not make it sound as if God is whimsical and arbitrary. Nothing God does is antithetical to His holiness and justice. However, let’s stay focused on God’s sovereignty for the moment without moving too quickly to qualify the power and glory that is His being as seen in the simple fact that God is the great I AM. There is nothing that is outside of God’s control. All that happens in the world and to us individually is under His control. Two years ago I experienced a cerebellum stroke that still effects my ability to walk to this day. (I wrote about this experience, beginning here). Obviously, the why question emerged for me, but I’ll probably never have a specific answer to that question, other than it was God’s will that I had the stroke. The important thing for created beings to realize is that no one gives God counsel or advice for what and how He does things. He is sovereign, and He is His own counsel. Two important Books in Scripture can highlight this truth for us: The Book of Job, and Genesis in detailing the life of Joseph. God is God, and He is sovereign over His Kingdom, and rules as He knows best. Waiting of God calls on us to rest in His sovereignty and let things play out as they will. Many times we pray for something, and we want an answer to our prayer to come about immediately, as quickly as possible. Waiting on God requires the Fruit of the Spirit, patience, as well as trusting all the other magnificent and magnanimous attributes of God.
The Providence of God
God’s sovereignty speaks to His absolute control over all that occurs in life. God’s sovereignty is worked out through His providential hand. The stroke I experienced entails God’s providential hand in my life. God teaches us things through the sufferings and difficulties we face in life. God blessed me in displaying His providence at every turn as I worked through the difficulties of that stroke for a full year. Although I believed in God’s sovereignty and providence prior to my stroke, the twists and turns I went through during that time solidified for me God’s providential hand in my life. There was a lot of waiting I had to do, particularly waiting to regain strength, to walk again with the use of a roller and cain, to restore my voice so as to talk again, and to develop my ability to swallow and eat again. I would have preferred all that to have happened overnight, but that’s not the way strokes work. And in many cases it’s not the way God works. I learned a lot during that time about prayer, working hard in rehab, and waiting on God’s good timing. Waiting on God requires us to trust in His providential timing. God hears our prayers. He may not answer them all in the way we would prefer, and some prayers He may answer with a no. But His providential care is for certain.
Patience: A Fruit of the Spirit
I would like to wax eloquently on how I’ve developed patience over the past two years in dealing with this stroke, but if I did, I would certainly be falling into sin. I am one impatient dude. Patience is one of the nine Fruit of the Spirit, delineated in Galatians 5:22-23. Notice, Scripture does not designate them as fruits, but as Fruit. They are one and indivisible. Waiting on God requires us to wait on God’s timing, not ours. There are still things with which I struggle as a result of my stroke. My balance is still not the best, and eating some things can be difficult due to my inability to swallow certain types of food. My left side was affected by the stroke, so I tend to drop a lot of things, which can really test my patience. I have prayed quite often for this Fruit of the Spirit to become manifested in my life. So it too is something for which I have to wait on God to develop within me through His Holy Spirit. There are some truths we can know. God wants for us the blessing that comes with the Fruit of the Spirit. So I know He will answer my prayer for patience in His own way and in His own timing. Waiting of God requires patience because patience requires trust in who God is and what He is all about.
Conclusion: What the Future Holds
Waiting on God to work things out in our lives is no easy task. Patience and trust require faith in who God is. We are promised in Scripture that God works all things together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). We are still fallen creatures on this side of life, and it is easy for us to give up on God’s promises. David faced this struggle, stating that he said in haste, I am cut off from before your eyes/Nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications/When I cried out to You (Psalm 31:22). I have mentioned on this blog before the idea of Christian Reconstruction as put forth by R. J. Rushdoony who established the Chalcedon Foundation. If we as Christians are to bring every sphere of life captive to Christ, we have to be a patient people, not just because that is a decent character trait to possess, but because patience shows that we believe in the sovereignty and providence of God, that we trust by faith that He will bring about all things in His good timing. And what he will bring about will be Holy, Righteous, and Just, according to all His magnificent attributes.
This nation is going through some difficult times right now. And God judges the nations (Joel 3:1-23). I am not sure what the future holds for us. We face a 31-trillion-dollar debt, which just to say that is unfathomable as what it means. We are a nation, grounded in humanism whereby people look to the State for salvation. As believers, we need to pray diligently for this nation. And those prayers will require us to trust by faith in God’s sovereign plan, meaning we must wait on the Lord our God to do what He will do. Wait on the Lord; be of good courage. And He will strengthen your heart; wait, I say wait on the Lord (Psalm 27:14).
John V. Jones, Jr., Ph.D./October 14th, 2022