Joy in the Waiting

“Mommy, mommy, mommy! MOMMY MOMMY!!!” As my child calls for me with increasing urgency and volume, I try to quickly finish rinsing the heavy pan I have been washing, dry my hands, and go to him. It doesn’t take long, but that doesn’t matter to my son – I didn’t come immediately and he is frustrated and perplexed that I didn’t drop everything at the exact instant he needed me. I try to be patient as I explain that I cannot always come immediately but I will come as quickly as I can. I tell him that he needs to trust me because I do have his best interests at heart, even if it doesn’t feel like it at the moment.

These types of situations happen often in our house, and when they do, I can’t help but think of how patient God is with me when I cry out to Him, complaining that He hasn’t answered me yet (or how I want). Frankly, I’m much worse than my children. Here I am—an adult—equipped with the promises of the Father, and yet I stamp my foot impatiently like a little child, wondering why He hasn’t answered me.

The prophet Habbakuk paints a vivid image of what to do when we are waiting for the Lord to answer. Habbakuk 2:1 says, “I will take my stand at my watchpost and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what he will say to me, and what I will answer concerning my complaint.” This moment is part of a back and forth conversation between Habakkuk and God where Habbakuk is crying out and questioning God. At this moment, he declares he is going to wait on the Lord’s answer. How will he wait?

He will wait like a soldier standing watch in a tower. This is not a quick or haphazard waiting. This is not a child waiting one tenth of a second for a parent to respond. This is an enduring and patient waiting, characterized with purposeful watching. Just as the soldier in a tower must be diligent to watch and listen for any sign of the enemy, Habakkuk will be diligent to watch and listen for God’s response.

In the same way, when we call on the Lord, we need to wait patiently for His answer. We need to watch and listen diligently. Sometimes His answer comes quickly, but many times it doesn’t. Sometimes His answer is obvious, but many times it is hidden. Sometimes He answers in a way we hope or expect, but many times His answer is not what we want to hear. This is hard! We want immediate satisfaction, like my son calling for me incessantly. But often there is growing and learning to be had in the waiting. As we wait on the Lord, we must trust in Him more fully. He has a plan that we cannot see. If we don’t wait patiently for His answer, we might miss what He has in store! 

As we grow to trust Him more, we come to the same conclusion that Habbakuk does at the end of the book when he says that no matter how bad things might get, he will rejoice in the Lord, who gives him strength (vv. 17-19). Whatever God’s answer is to our cries, we can have joy knowing that He will hold us steady and strengthen us through it.

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About Tobi Henschel

Tobi and her husband, Paul, met at Moody Bible Institute and have been serving in churches together since then. Along with their three amazing boys, they currently serve at a church in the middle of Illinois farmland where Paul is the senior pastor. Tobi has a passion for teaching the Word of God, especially to children, and helps with both the children's and women's ministries of her church. She loves reading, DIY projects, coffee, ice cream, and spontaneous dance parties with her boys.