Finally, we are to the final concept of waiting. As a review, when we wait, the Bible instructs us to:
1. Wait quietly
2. Wait patiently
3. Wait confidently
4. Wait expectantly
Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly. Psalm 5:3
I discovered this gem in college. How often do we go to God asking for something, but ultimately we doubt that He is really interested enough to respond? If we are honest, the vast majority of prayers offered to God are prayed without truly believing He will answer. But, He tells us to wait in expectation—with that excited feeling that something good is about to happen!
Have you ever noticed the way kids have such faith in their prayers? They ask God for something, and they KNOW He is going to answer. We as adults often try to temper their excitement to prevent them from being disappointed. But, we adults should really learn from them!
Watch your kids on Christmas Eve. The excitement…the anticipation…the expectation… Kids are overcome with what is about to happen. God tells us that we should be the same way when we come to Him in prayer. We should bow at the knee of the Father, lift our request to Him, and then wait in joyful expectation of what is about to happen. The God of the universe is about to move in response to our prayers! The course of history will be altered because of our prayers! He promises that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And, if we know that He hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked Him for (1 John 5:14-15).
My battle with laryngitis has been so long and arduous. The first week or two, I would get up each morning and ask aloud, “Do I have a voice?” Each morning, I expected my voice to be better. As the days turned into weeks, the expectation of my voice returning began to wane. Instead of getting up expecting to feel better, I resigned myself that it wouldn’t come back today. My dad would text me to ask how my voice was; my response began to be, “I don’t know. I haven’t tried to talk.”
In reality, not only was my expectation dying, my hope was dying. I was sinking into a depression. I was battling the what ifs: What if my voice doesn’t get better? What if I have to take unpaid time off my job? What if I lose my job? What if I can no longer do public speaking?
Two days ago, I could barely get a sound out of my mouth. I was winded every time I tried to speak. I was drained in every way—mentally, physically, emotionally, and even spiritually. Yes, I was on every church prayer list in the area, but I had given up. I was just trying to get through the week until I could see the laryngologist.
Today, I got up and took my son to school early for a special activity. As always, I took his hand before we reached the school so that I could pray with him. As I opened my mouth, my voice was strangely strong. As the morning went on, I took a few phone calls and my voice seemed to be getting even stronger—completely opposite of what it had been doing in the previous seven weeks. I went by my parents’ house before work, and I literally watched as my dad’s jaw dropped when I spoke. By the end of the day, I sounded just like I did eight weeks ago!
Isn’t that how we treat our prayers? Perhaps for a while we watch in expectation as He commands us. But, as the days stretch into weeks, we allow our excitement and anticipation to die. We become drained and depressed. We quit waking up each morning and checking to see if anything has happened.
In Luke 18: 1-8, Jesus tells the parable of the persistent widow.
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”
And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
God wants us to ask. Then, He wants us to wait in expectation. He doesn’t want us anxious or annoyed. He doesn’t want us worried. He wants us to rest in Him, to believe His promises, and to be confident that He will act—in His time.
I think I would be remiss if I failed to talk about preparing for God to answer. I think part of waiting in expectation is to ready myself for God’s answer. I need to start getting my house in order so that I am prepared to receive what God is preparing in response to my prayers.
I have a group of friends coming to my house Friday night. I am mulling over in my mind what needs to be done before they arrive—and how little time I have to get it done. I know the boys’ bathroom has GOT to be cleaned (if you have boys, you understand that concept! Ugh!). I need to prepare some snacks. I need to vacuum my floors and make sure everything is picked up. Ideally, I need to sweep and mop my kitchen.
It’s very important to me to have a presentable house when I am expecting visitors. But, what do I do to prepare for the God of Heaven’s Armies to answer my prayers? We need to sweep out our lives—find anything that might hinder our prayers or God’s work in our lives. We need to open our hearts to His Word—which is alive and powerful, sharper than the sharpest sword, exposing our innermost thoughts and desires (Hebrews 4:12). We need to seek His face and His will intently, making sure that we are praying in line with His will.
As I’ve shared before, I am waiting patiently for the man God is preparing for me. I know that He has promised to send a husband to me, one who will truly love me and my children as Christ loved the church. I believe with all my heart that it is going to happen, and therefore I wait with excitement and anticipation as I look to the beautiful future God has planned for me.
But, as I wait in expectation, the most important thing I can do is prepare myself. You see, I have wounds from the betrayal I suffered. I have trust issues, especially with men. I am afraid of opening my heart and loving again. There are so many things that I need to let God do in my life. If I choose not to let the Holy Spirit do surgery on me, I will not be ready for the answer to my prayer. What a shame to ask the Almighty God to move and then refuse to prepare for Him to answer!
Just recently, I have found myself truly praying that God would expose all of the things that I harbor deep within that He would like to change. It’s so easy in our culture to compare ourselves to others. But, the only standard we should compare ourselves to is Jesus Christ. I want my life to be a reflection of Christ in me. Therefore, I am praying intently that God will reveal any hidden sins that He wants removed. I want nothing more than to walk as closely to my Savior as possible.
As I beg God to reveal the truth to me in every area of my life, I am truly expecting Him to answer. I may not like some of the answers I get, but I am confident that I will like the results of His work in my life.
Will you join me on the journey?