I have a question about waiting… in general. From the examples of the lives of the characters in the Old Testament it can be seen that when someone was in trouble waiting for an answer from the Lord, he left the matter in His hands. And in general the advice to wait in silence and prayer, the answer to your pain, often persists. It is very easy to say, but when the soul is tormented, when you have chronic depression, when you cannot find peace, you always want to return home even if you live at home… you can’t find your God-given place and purpose for you… how can you be patient and wait? Where to get that power… it’s not easy to wait…
I am very sorry for the pain you are having and the circumstances you are in now. Wouldn’t it have been much easier for me to answer your question if I knew what you were expecting and why that expectation torments you so much? However, I would like to look at some biblical examples and see where they came from. At the same time, I want to see what these people did while they waited for the answer.
Let us look at the life of this special woman, the example of whom God has decided to leave to us in the pages of the Holy Scriptures. Reading the text below you may find yourself in the same situation as this woman, about whom the Bible says:
1 Now there was a certain man from Ramathaim-zophim from the hill country of Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. 2 He had two wives: the name of one was Hannah and the name of the other Peninnah; and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children. 3 Now this man would go up from his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice to the Lord of hosts in Shiloh. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were priests to the Lord there. 4 When the day came that Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and her daughters; 5 but to Hannah he would give a double portion, for he loved Hannah, but the Lord had closed her womb. 6 Her rival, however, would provoke her bitterly to irritate her, because the Lord had closed her womb. 7 It happened year after year, as often as she went up to the house of the Lord, she would provoke her; so she wept and would not eat. 8 Then Elkanah her husband said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep and why do you not eat and why is your heart sad? Am I not better to you than ten sons?” 9 Then Hannah rose after eating and drinking in Shiloh. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat by the doorpost of the temple of the Lord. 10 She, greatly distressed, prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly. 11 She made a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and a razor shall never come on his head.” 12 Now it came about, as she continued praying before the Lord, that Eli was watching her mouth. 13 As for Hannah, she was speaking in her heart, only her lips were moving, but her voice was not heard. So Eli thought she was drunk. 14 Then Eli said to her, “How long will you make yourself drunk? Put away your wine from you.” 15 But Hannah replied, “No, my lord, I am a woman oppressed in spirit; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have poured out my soul before the Lord. 16 Do not consider your maidservant as a worthless woman, for I have spoken until now out of my great concern and provocation.” 17 Then Eli answered and said, “Go in peace; and may the God of Israel grant your petition that you have asked of Him.” 18 She said, “Let your maidservant find favor in your sight.” So the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad. 19 Then they arose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord, and returned again to their house in Ramah. And Elkanah had relations with Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her. 20 It came about in due time, after Hannah had conceived, that she gave birth to a son; and she named him Samuel, saying, “Because I have asked him of the Lord.” (1 Samuel 1:1-20 NASB)
I have especially emphasized some of the words that describe this woman’s pain. Hannah was tormented and pressed for a long time. She longed for a child, but for many years God did not give her children. However, if you read carefully, you could see that Hannah’s expectation was not passive, but active. Verse 7 shows us that this pain of hers persisted for many years in a row. But every year Hannah came to the temple, offered sacrifices, and prayed to the Lord. The Bible says that this woman not only prayed, but (verse 15) poured out her soul before the Lord. She longed for a child, and instead of sitting and crying for mercy at home, she knew from whom to ask. And she insisted on her request “until the Lord remembered her” (19). After many years, God comforted Hannah’s heart and gave her a son, who became a comfort to all the people of Israel. Samuel, the son of Hannah, became a prophet in Israel, and God transmitted His Word for many years in a row through this man. Hannah’s wait was not in vain. The longer the wait, the greater the consolation and joy when she received the answer from the Lord. However, Hannah is not the only example we have in the Scriptures. Let’s look now at…
The woman sick for 12 years
The Bible says that:
And there came a man named Jairus, and he was an official of the synagogue; and he fell at Jesus’ feet, and began to implore Him to come to his house; for he had an only daughter, about twelve years old, and she was dying. But as He went, the crowds were pressing against Him. And a woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and could not be healed by anyone, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak, and immediately her hemorrhage stopped. And Jesus said, “Who is the one who touched Me?” And while they were all denying it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing in on You.” But Jesus said, “Someone did touch Me, for I was aware that power had gone out of Me.” When the woman saw that she had not escaped notice, she came trembling and fell down before Him, and declared in the presence of all the people the reason why she had touched Him, and how she had been immediately healed. And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.” (Luke 8:41-48 NASB)
She was ill for twelve years. This woman went to all the doctors, spent all her fortune on medicine, in the hope that she would be cured, but the healing did not come. But the day she saw the Lord Jesus Christ, she understood where the answer to her search was. She understood that Jesus is the One who can heal her. Jesus was the Person who could solve her problem. Thus she sought to touch Him by faith, and as a result she was healed. When Jesus looked at her, he said, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.” Maybe you are also looking for comfort and response to your pain elsewhere. You may have gone to all the doctors to take all the medicines in the hope that you will be cured of depression, but the depression has not gone away. Like a dark day and a cold autumn morning, depression comes again and again like the cold morning mist… And you ask yourself, “What else can I do? Where else should I go? ” And the Lord Jesus answered, “Daughter, take courage…” But how dare you? By faith. This is how the grieving and sick woman for 12 years dared, and this is how we must dare to the Lord Jesus Christ. By believing in Him we have the audacity to “touch” Him! There may be nothing new for you in these words, but their deep understanding can dispel the fog of depression and pain in your life. I sit now and think,
Where did Abraham get his waiting power from?
Abraham lived without a descendant from his wife Sarah until he was 100 years old. When his powers had left him, when all the circumstances said “impossible,” then came the answer. And the longer he waited, the more he was comforted. The name Abram, with a single “a” means “Blessed Father.” Until the age of 75, Abraham was named and called by others “Blessed Father,” but he never had a son. How would you feel if you were in his place? At the age of 75, God comes to Abraham and says, “You will no longer be called Abram (with one “a”), but you will be called Abraham, with two “a,” which means “Father of many nations.” How, Lord, is such a thing possible? Abraham has not a single child, he is already old, and You say that he will be the father of many nations? Where did Abraham find his strength in his long wait? I also think that it is very easy to tell others in such cases “wait,” but how to wait when the years pass, the powers leave you and on the horizon of your life the Lord no longer answers and “delays” to fulfill his promise? What was Abraham’s secret? Where did he find his strength? The Bible says of him thus:
(as it is written, “A father of many nations have I made you”) in the presence of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist. In hope against hope he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, “So shall your descendants be.” Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. Therefore it was also credited to him as righteousness. (Romans 4:17-22 NASB)
Where did Abraham find strength when he had to wait? In his faith! I don’t think you’ve been waiting for God’s answer any longer than this man. Yet his unwavering faith in God helped him live victoriously. You have to understand that any expectation has an end. God allows it in our lives for a purpose. The longer the wait, the greater the joy when we receive the answer. But the examples do not end here. I’d like to give you another example or two, and maybe when you look at them, you’ll find yourself in them. Thinking about the pain you wrote about and what you asked about waiting in pain, I also remembered Job. And we wonder,
How did Job do it?
This man’s pain was extraordinarily great. He lost all his possessions and lost all his children on the same day.… I believe that only those who have gone through such situations can fully understand how great Job’s pain was. I, for example, cannot imagine losing my children on the same day… Job’s pain was unbearable. From a human point of view, it seemed impossible to go through such trials. But God was in control. Above all evil and even above Satan, God was in control of this man’s life. He put limits on Satan, and He knew how far Job’s limit was. God knew the limits of Job’s power, and the Bible says:
No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13 NASB)
Job’s trial and pain was no greater than he could bear. If that was the case, God would not have allowed it. When all the pain in his life had happened, Job said:
Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips. (Job 2:10b NASB)
Maybe this should be your answer to all the trials and tribulations you go through. I would like to understand your pain and I imagine it is difficult for you, but if you understand the verses above, it could change your whole attitude about life. God does not allow anything in our lives beyond our powers. The pain you have now is no greater than you can bear. If it were, then rest assured that it would never have happened in your life. And then all the good and bad things, the Bible says, work for our good (Romans 8:28). Receive all things as from His hand, and rejoice, knowing that if you love Him, then everything that happens today in your life happens for your good and His glory.
I pray that God will give you strength in this long wait. And I ask you to understand that the expectation of promise and redemption must not be passive, but active. For things around you to change, do all that is up to you today. Do your part and change what you can change, but what you are not in a position to change, do not stress about, but let God at the right time answer from heaven. Then His joy and comfort will have no limits in your life. But you will say, I prayed and did everything in my power to change things around me, but they do not change. I read some very beautiful thoughts somewhere, which I think would suit your situation as well. It was written:
God give me,
– power to accept things I can’t change
– Courage to change what I can
– and wisdom so that I can distinguish between the two
The apostle Paul also went through such circumstances. When he became ill, he prayed to the Lord three times to take the disease out of his body. But the Lord answered him:
And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NASB )
The grace of the Lord Jesus must be enough for you. In Him, you have everything you need to come out victorious. I pray that He will give you an attitude like that of the Apostle Paul in the pain you are going through now.
Translated by Olya Trikolich