A job, a true love, a baby, a cure. ... Most of us are waiting on something from God. And Satan loves to torment us and tell us lies during those seasons of waiting. Here are some of the lies Satan will tell you about waiting and how to combat them:
Lie #1: God is making me wait because He is punishing me.
Satan means "Accuser." One of Satan's favorite roles is as prosecuting attorney, putting us on trial before God, hurling our own sins and weaknesses in our faces. But let me tell you something, and please listen and try to hear—really hear—and believe: When life gets hard, it doesn't mean God is punishing you.
Jesus roundly rejects suffering-is-your-fault theology in John 9, when his disciples ask, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" "Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him." (verses 2–3). Jesus, being God's Son, had authority you and I don't possess to "read God's mind," interpreting God's will and intention in this man's situation. To prove that authority, Jesus promptly healed the man, revealing His own divinity and fulfilling God's plan.
Lie #2: God is making me wait because He is mad at me.
This lie is a first cousin of the God-is-punishing-me lie, but it deserves its own discussion.
I can't read God's mind, but I do know what the Bible tells us about His character, and based on the picture the Bible paints, I can tell you this: God is probably not making you wait because He is angry. God is gracious, not one to hold a grudge. He speaks clearly when He wants us to change. He speaks through His Word, His people, and our consciences.
Lie #3: God doesn't want me to be happy.
We should start by observing this: It is true that God is more concerned with our holiness than with our temporary happiness. It is also true that sometimes things that make us holy also make us unhappy for a time. Suffering can make us holier. Sorrow for sin can make us holier. Self-denial can make us holier. None of those things are particularly fun experiences. Now, as a parent, I get this concept: I want my kids to be happy, but I am more concerned with their character. I also know that sometimes they need to hear no and suffer temporary unhappiness for various reasons that are good for them in the long run.
But does it follow that God wants us to be unhappy? That He makes us wait just to watch us squirm?
Absolutely not. Jesus is clear on this in Matthew 7:9–11:
Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
Lie #4: God is making me wait because He doesn't want me to have The Thing I want.
This one can also sound like this:
The waiting must be a sign. I'm not meant to have The Thing I want.
We Christians can be superstitious, seeing signs and messages in everything. Let's be careful with assumptions like these, because they can make us feel guilty for still wanting The Thing after a long delay. They can discourage us from persevering. Until you get a final no, an absolute closed door, then you don't have a clear word from the Lord.
Lie #5: If I don't wait perfectly, God will never give me what I want.
This kind of thinking puts a lot of pressure on us and on our performance. It views waiting seasons as tests from God. He is up there with His celestial red pen, marking papers, and we suspect He is secretly itching to put a big fat F at the top of the page. Every time we stumble or doubt, we panic: "Did I just cross the line and blow my chance? Now I'll never get that prayer answered!"
We are not going to do the "does God test people" topic complete justice here because it's complicated, but a fair, brief summary would be this: Yes, God sometimes tests us (Deuteronomy 13:3; 1 Chronicles 29:17). But by God tests us, we don't mean He puts us through trials to see if we will fail (even secretly hoping we will fail). No, when God tests us, He is looking to find out what is in our hearts. He is looking to expose strength and weakness, to show us where we are and where we need to grow.
Did you notice a common theme threading through the lies we challenged? All these lies are designed to make God seem like the enemy instead of Satan. These lies breed fear, mistrust, and discouragement. Let's fight back. Let's see through the lies. Listen to God's words, not Satan's.
If you're experiencing a season of waiting, pick up a copy of When God Says "Wait" by Elizabeth Laing Thompson and find encouragement during the space between answers.