You cannot wait upon God without learning to truly trust Him. And you cannot exercise your hope in Him if you are always given everything immediately (Rom 8:24-25). But when we have only His promise to rely upon—with absolutely no visible evidence of answered prayer—then our faith is put to the test and can grow (2 Cor 5:7).
For this purpose, the Lord will intentionally put adverse conditions in our path so we will choose to believe Him rather than focus on our circumstances—which is what usually gets us in the most trouble.
We know from Scripture that David had to remind himself of God’s promises and renew his faith in the Lord often because of the adversity he was experiencing. Psalm 57 chronicles his lament as he fled from Saul to En Gedi. You can imagine his loneliness, fear, and dejection as he laid his head on a rock in a dark cave—rather than on a pillow in a palace—knowing that his life was in imminent danger. David wrote, “My soul is among lions; I must lie among those who breathe forth fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows and their tongue a sharp sword” (v. 4). Alone, in peril, pursued by those who sought to execute him—how could he possibly hope to be king? Too many obstacles remained in his path. It seemed impossible.
But David intentionally set his focus on God and expressed his faith:
Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious to me, For my soul takes refuge in You; And in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge Until destruction passes by. I will cry to God Most High, To God who accomplishes all things for me. He will send from heaven and save me; He reproaches him who tramples upon me. Selah. God will send forth His lovingkindness and His truth. (vv. 1-3, emphasis added)
David fixed his thoughts on the Father’s faithfulness rather than his trials, and he remained certain that the Lord would fulfill all He had promised (v. 2). In that way, his faith was strengthened.
Likewise, any time you choose to trust God even when circumstances appear contrary, you are exercising and establishing your faith.
I’ve had many times in my life when the Lord spoke to my heart about what He was going to do. But then, as troubling obstacles and challenges arose, I would look around and think, “How in the world can this happen?” Then the Lord would say to me, “Are you going to believe what you see or will you trust Me?” So, as difficult as it was, I would make the decision to “walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Cor 5:7). And I am so glad I did! Because each and every time, I was blessed to experience the Father’s astounding presence and provision (Heb 10:35-39).
Friend, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that you will never go wrong waiting on God. You will never be disappointed when you trust Him to make a way for you regardless of how your circumstances may appear. And when you make the choice to believe Him, He will grow your faith in awesome ways.
This article is excerpted from Dr. Stanley's book “Waiting on God.”