Sometimes waiting for an answer from God feels like an ambulance trying to get through heavy traffic. Turn the siren louder if you like, but the cars aren’t moving. You can’t get through.  We’re in a hurry but God is not. We pound heaven’s door pleading for a response and all we get is...silence.

What is God doing? The delay is a mystery to us. 

Not long ago, my life was stuck in traffic. A job had unexpectedly ended—a new job in a new town was waiting for me a thousand miles away. I just had to sell my house. I was told it should take 40 days...100 at the longest. 

But God had other plans. I waited 464 days for my house to sell. Sixteen extra mortgage payments. 

God could have orchestrated the events so that my house sold without the pain of waiting. He had done it before. Never mind the economy or the housing market, His choice this time was to leave me in the in-between...on purpose. 

In those 16 months, life continued to turn. Strangers met, married, and now are eating dinner in their own kitchens. Babies were dreamed about, conceived, born, and now sleep through the night. Businesses were envisioned, established, and now are either thriving or dying. Some souls who didn’t feel well are now in eternity—forever blessed or in hell. Seasons have turned and turned again and still the Lord made me wait. And not quietly. 

I banged my fists on heaven’s throne room door and nothing happened. I thought my prayer had been answered five different times, only to fall through for five different reasons. 

But then one day it was over. And like the calm after the storm, I sat on the other side—a bit ragged, but whole. So while I still remember how hard those months were, I also want to remember what I learned about waiting on God. Because the lessons waiting on the other side were worth the whole experience.

Three lessons I learned about waiting on God: 

Lesson #1: God uses circumstances to expose my need for Him. 

The circumstances He uses are unique to each of our own stories. Maybe it’s a stressful job, a difficult marriage, a chronic illness, a financial crisis, or some other issue that brings pressure on our lives. 

When that pressure exposes our need, we have a choice. We can say proudly, “I’ll handle this”—and the Lord lets us. Sadly, most of us don’t want to “risk” trusting God until our thing isn’t working. So, much like the lifeguard rule to let a drowning swimmer exhaust themselves so they will not resist their rescuer, God waits for us to humble ourselves or He lets the circumstances do it for us. 

He doesn’t want us hurt, He just wants us to see the futility of trusting anything but Him. 

Lesson #2 When we reach the end of ourselves, we learn how to trust God better.

We talk a lot about what God loves, but here’s something that God hates—pride. He Psalms 5:5that can-do attitude that says, “I got this one, Lord. I’ll call if I need help.” Pride also masks itself when I resist and resent what He is doing, or in frustration, I cave into depression and despair.  I’m really aggravated that I’m not getting my way. (Picture a two-year old’s tantrum.) No wonder Scripture says God keeps His distance from the independent child who wants it his own way (Proverbs 3:34).

But here’s what I learned in my time of waiting: God draws near to the humble. God comes close when you humble yourself. He comforts you when you pray yourself quiet. In that stillness you know that whatever happens, you’re safe. Your life is hidden in His and nothing nobody can do will snatch you out of His hand. Life as you know it may end, but there’s something around the bend that He has prepared for you.