Have you ever experienced disappointment or discouragement? How do you discover assurance that God is in control of all circumstances? There is even a harder question. How do you wait for God’s promise? This kind of spiritual assurance comes when we live totally by faith. Living by faith means we understand that waiting patiently on God is our best choice, because He has chosen the “what, when, where, and how” of our promise.
The minor prophet, Habakkuk, offers an example of human understanding which learns to wait for the spiritual. Habakkuk was highly frustrated with the Lord for not punishing sinners in a way he thought was best. He brought his complaints to God, and then stood still and waited for the Lord’s answer (Habakkuk 2:1). The Lord’s answer to Habakkuk is timeless, and reveals the patience of a faithful Savior who speaks to the impatient heart of his complaining child. “Habakkuk,” the Lord explained, “I have heard your complaint. What I tell you now can be carved in stone, and heralded as truth. I will move when I know the time is right. It might appear to take forever, but it is for my appointed time, and it will not fail. Though my promise lingers, have faith that it will come and will not delay. You, as my righteous child, are to live by faith no matter what happens” (Habakkuk 2:3-4).
The writer to the Hebrews spurs us on to greater faith in the Lord. “Don’t throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just a very little while, He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith” (Hebrews 10:35-38a, NIV).
“Live by faith and wait upon the Lord!” we read in both Habakkuk and Hebrews. Living by faith and focusing on the Lord, and not upon what He has promised, teaches us to persevere against all odds. However, when we are consumed with what God has promised instead of being consumed with God we lose the ability to persevere. Faith which is born from a promise will absolutely fail. When faith is born from our love of God, it will prosper. What is important is discovering His will for our lives because of our love for Him, and not what we shall receive. There is also a danger in focusing upon the way in which we think God will provide our promise. We might miss the “what, when, where and how” God supplies the need.
God tells us in His Word that we are not to shrink from the hard times of life. We are to face them head-on with faith (Hebrews 10:38b-39). When we faithfully seek God in the storm, He rewards up with greater faith to believe in His unchanging character (Hebrews 11:6, Hebrews 13:8). Our time of waiting upon the Lord then becomes our greatest time of spiritual fulfillment.
“Even though I can’t see your provision, Lord, I will be joyful in you,” Habakkuk decided, “for you have lifted me far above my concerns, and made me sure-footed as the deer. I will not slip in faith, Lord. I choose to believe because you are my strength” (Habakkuk 3:17-19). No matter what the circumstances of life, God is faithful to perform that which He has promised. Perhaps one day we will hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You waited well.” Are we faithful to wait expectantly–believing and trusting in His chosen time?