“Lord, I don’t care which way we go, just move us!” I prayed one day after my husband and I talked about putting our home on the market and moving. After two years passed, I didn’t really care if we moved or not, I simply wanted off that fence. Many pros and cons made us undecided which would be the better course for our family. My husband was unhappy in his job and didn’t find similar work in Austin. We were looking at other options out-of-town and even considering moving back to our hometown where our four parents lived and we had a few rentals. The more we looked the more confused the picture became. Sitting on the fence for so long became unbearable. I simply wanted a decision, at that time not really caring what the consequences were.
We didn’t make a decision that day and another six months passed before one finally came, after looking at starting a new business or buying an old one in a few different locations. Yes, waiting periods are always difficult. No matter what kind of waiting we do or how long it lasts, we don’t like those times of limbo. We want an answer right away. Sometimes even an unwanted answer appears better than none, at least until we’re actually in that situation, then we’d rather still be waiting. We finally decided to move back to our hometown because our parents were getting older and we knew they would need help shortly. Since then, we’ve found other waiting times, still never easy.
In Daniel 3 we read about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego when the king had commanded everyone to bow down to an image of him. Fearing God, these three Jews refused. Their statement before the king guides all believers as we face consequences of remaining true to God or bowing to pressure to follow the world’s ways. Verses 16-18 state: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” (emphasis mine.)
Verses 26-27 tell us the result: So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.
While we’re not told how long the Jews remained in the furnace, God rescued them. Our trials and times of waiting may last a day or years. Will we remain faithful to our heavenly Father, trusting Him to defend us and care for us during that time? Will we stay faithful to God whether or not He rescues us? Or gives us the answer to prayer we crave? Because sometimes those waiting times come as we’re praying in faith for certain answers – prayers decreed in the Bible as ones that God answers. Tests of faithfulness come during those periods of waiting on God. The three Hebrews said that no matter what, they remained true to the only Holy God. That must be our answer as well.
Recently a friend went to heaven after a long battle with cancer. She, her family and many others prayed for her healing. Healing today is biblical. 1 Peter 2:24 declares: He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed (emphasis mine.) If that’s true, and God’s word is always true, then why wasn’t my friend healed? I do not know. Some things we simply must leave in God’s hand, trusting Him fully even when we don’t understand His ways.
You notice that the three Jews in Daniel said they would not worship the image of the king, even if God did not save them from the fiery furnace, although they knew He could. Whatever we wait for, we must have that same mindset: that no matter whether our need is met or not, we will not give up our confidence in God as our loving Father. For He has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5b).
Do we sometimes feel forsaken by God when we don’t see His answers the way we want them? Yes, we may. But our feelings can lie, just as we may feel momentarily unloved by a spouse or child whom we know does indeed love us. GOD NEVER LIES. Even when we do not understand what He allows in our lives. Our heavenly Father always loves us!
One of my favorite verses when I’m stuck in a waiting period is Habakkuk 2:3 For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay. I’ve copied some other verses below for when that dreary waiting time hits. If you’re there, I urge you to study them and gain refreshing because this period will not last forever; it will end. Seek God’s peace while you are there because that helps more than anything we can do. As Habakkuk says, at God’s appointed time the wait will end and we will find an answer.
All verses are from the NIV Bible. Psalms offer us much hope during this difficult time. Remember how long David waited after Samuel anointed him as the next king. David even had to run for his life from King Saul, but he waited with godly grace. We can do the same.
69:3 – I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God.
62:5-6 – Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
37:7 – Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.
130:5-6 – I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning.
40:1- I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.
And Lamentations 3:26 – It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.