Have you ever grown impatient with God? Have you ever found yourself waiting to see God move or hear God answer your prayers? You are not alone. I’m going to be bold and say that probably 95% of us (if not more) have had this experience at some point in our lives. Even John the Baptist, who Jesus called greatest among those born of women (Matthew 11:11), had a season when he began to become impatient for something he was waiting for Jesus to do. While in prison, John sent messengers to Jesus to ask Him if He was the “one who is to come” (Matthew 11:3). John was growing impatient, eager expecting to see what he thought Jesus had come to the earth to accomplish, as did many others when they heard Jesus could potentially be the “anointed one,” the long-awaited Messiah. He was the one who matched all the messianic prophesies they had grown up reading and hearing. If that were the case, He would be “a strong and glorious earthly king who would deliver them from their Roman oppressors and form once again a great and independent Jewish kingdom” (www.ucg.org).
However, what they didn’t know and understand was that Jesus had something different and greater in mind, certainly better than anything the human mind can think up. Jesus’s response to John’s questions was astonishing, and maybe not exactly what John was expecting. Jesus responded, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me” (Matthew 11:2-6). On the surface, this does not sound like the tactics of a man who intends to overpower the Roman Empire. It did, however, answer John’s question, and brought to light the true heart of Jesus’s coming.
Jesus’s response is incredible, but for this devotional I want to focus less on the words and more on the type of response that John got. You see, John was hoping for one type of response from Jesus, but he actually got something entirely different. John was a man of God, and I am sure that Jesus’s response may have initially been confusing to John. But I have no doubt that he believed the words of Jesus, and trusted that whatever God was doing through Jesus was the better way. Like John, we may seek God in prayer out of weariness, frustration, sadness, you name it, and we may go in expecting one type of response from God about our situation. What can make it challenging is that sometimes, like He did with John, God can give us an entirely different answer. You may seek Him to heal an illness of yours, but God tells you that through your illness He is going to use your story to draw those around you into a relationship with Him. You may come seeking a child, and God tells you that there is a child in New York City who you can adopt, and radically change the physical and spiritual outcome of his/her life. You may come asking God for a new home so you can settle down, but He has plans to take you somewhere internationally to minister to a people in another nation who are ready to hear the gospel message.
However difficult, unexpected, and undesirable these responses are, we can always be confident of one thing…that God’s ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:9). In God’s omniscience (state of knowing everything), He sees the perfect plan of how our lives would best be lived out. It may not make sense to us, but God has purpose in the plan…not just any plan, but the best plan for His glory and your fullness of life. It is in faith that we embrace this truth. Does knowing this truth make His response to our expectations easy? Not easier, but faith is still believing because in faith we trust that His ways are good.
There is a part of me that wants to apologize for God because of the storm of emotions this may create in you, but God does not need me to apologize. He is not acting out of ignorance or weakness, but with wisdom and power and a love that is absolutely committed to your betterment. Seek God, be patient for His response, trust the response, believe He is good, and walk in faith my friends.