“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” – Psalm 37:13-14
Numerous times in the Bible, we see God call his people to wait on his promises. The Israelites endured slavery in Egypt for many, many years before God fulfilled his promise of freedom. Then, they wandered in the desert for over forty years before entering the Promised Land. After that, they waited four hundred years for the coming of the Messiah. When Jesus ascended to heaven, he gave yet another promise: that, one day, he would return. That promise has yet to be fulfilled, over two thousand years later.
After waiting for a long time, many people would assume that the promises God has given to us will never be fulfilled. Maybe he’s forgotten about them. Maybe he’s chosen not to fulfill them. Or maybe he’s just messing with us, and never intends to fulfill the promise he’s given. Maybe God isn’t the
However, when we look at one of the most famous waiting periods in the Bible a little more closely, we see a different story. God asked his people to wait, but he didn’t forget about them or rescind his promise at all.
In This Article:
Trusting in God’s Faithfulness in Our Waiting Process
“By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.” – Exodus 13:21-22
During this time, the Israelites had just left Egypt and begun their wandering through the wilderness. God led them with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, so they always knew where to go and when.
This is a useful metaphor for our waiting process. God removes us from a situation that he doesn’t want us to remain in, only to tell us to wander in the wilderness. At this time, we may begin to doubt whether we heard God’s voice, or even if he intends to get us to a better situation any time soon. However, if we look closely at the sky, whether it’s in a period of “daytime” — where it’s easy to see the road ahead — or “nighttime” — when we don’t know what the road ahead is going to look like — we can see the truth: that even when our lives don’t make sense and everything seems messy and sticky, the Lord is still guiding us.
This is where walking by faith comes in. We won’t always see the road ahead. Sometimes, our lives are just too dark and uncertain to see the plan the Lord has for us. However, even when we can’t see it, God is faithful, and he is guiding us and slowly walking us toward the life he has planned for us.
Wandering Through Our Desert
Wandering is never easy. When God calls us to wander in a desert, this can include a lot of uncertainty. How long will we wander? Where are we going? How will we know when it’s time to stop wandering? And, what happens when we mess up?
The Israelites probably thought these questions, too. At many points in their wandering, they messed up and no longer knew what the road ahead would look like. This didn’t last forever, though. God was still faithful, and he still guided them. At the end of their wandering, he still led them to the Promised Land, despite the sins they committed and the questions and doubts they had.
We never know how long we’ll wander, and very few of us will have an idea as to where exactly we are going. God is still faithful in this wandering, and he’s not going to remove his promises to you because you’ve sinned.
Take it from the Israelites. First, they worshipped a golden calf when God was right up the mountain near them, talking to their leader. Then, they complained about the food God prepared for them. Then, they directly disobeyed the Lord’s orders and were forced to wander for much longer as a result. Even after all of this, the Lord still did not remove their blessings or the future he prepared for them. Instead, he rebuked and corrected them. Like a loving father, he showed them the correct path so they could “grow up” to be the people he wanted them to be.
Conclusion: Waiting on God
“What if some were unfaithful? Will their faithfulness nullify God’s faithfulness? Not at all! Let God be true, and every human being be a liar…” – Romans 3:3-4a
If God has called you to wait, then your waiting period will likely include questions. You may doubt whether it will ever end, or if God will be able to forgive you for the things you’ve done. You may wonder if you’re even worthy of God’s blessings.
You don’t need to worry. Just as the Lord was faithful to the Israelites in the wilderness, he will be faithful to you. He won’t forsake you or strip his promises from you. Instead, he’ll strengthen you and straighten your path so you can emerge from this waiting period as a stronger, more godly person. During this time, he’ll guide you with your own pillar of cloud or fire, so you’ll never get lost. Trust in the Lord and look to him for guidance, and you’ll never lose your way as you wait on the promises the Lord has given you.
Do you want to learn more about God’s Word and trusting him in the waiting process? Explore Grand Canyon University and the various theology and ministry degrees offered where you can dive into the Bible and deepen your knowledge of God’s promises.
Approved by the local outreach coordinator of the Office of Spiritual Life on Jan. 26, 2023.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.