Then we turned around and set out across the wilderness toward the Red Sea, just as the LORD had instructed me, and we wandered around Mount Seir for a long time. Then at last the LORD said to me, You have been wandering around in this hill country long enough; turn northward. Give these orders to the people: “You will be passing through the country belonging to your relatives the Edomites, the descendants of Esau, who live in Seir. The Edomites will feel threatened, so be careful. Don't bother them, for I have given them all the hill country around Mount Seir as their property, and I will not give you any of their land. Pay them for whatever food or water you use. The LORD your God has blessed everything you have done and has watched your every step through this great wilderness. During these forty years, the LORD your God has been with you and provided for your every need so that you lacked nothing.” (Deuteronomy 2:1-7)
When a miracle is “in progress,” we can get a little grouchy. Things can simply go wrong or we can make mistakes, leading us to believe our promised outcome is in jeopardy. Even worse, we can get irritated with God, wondering why it’s taking him so long to deliver what he said was coming to us. We start to doubt the Lord, what we heard him say, or both. That’s when we find ourselves sitting down along the road to our promise, feeling abandoned and resentful, without a single thought of gratitude toward God for what he’s delivered us from and how far we’ve already come.
That’s exactly what happened to the Israelites in the wilderness after Moses led them out of Egypt. On their way to the land God promised them, they began to realize just how hard and scary the wilderness was. They complained to Moses—in earnest. When God instructed them to take the land he had promised them, the Israelites insisted on first sending in scouts to survey the land. The scouts came back with reports of unbeatable giants and unconquerable cities, completely ignoring the Lord’s promise that he would be with them to take the land. According to Moses, this sort of attitude was why a trip that normally would take only eleven days ultimately wound up taking these people 40 years to complete (Deuteronomy 1:2).
But here’s the thing that is so encouraging to see. God never left them, no matter how badly they complained. He never stopped protecting them or providing for them. They had clothes that never wore out and food that arrived every single morning. He even made it clear what battles to refrain from, despite the fact that they had ignored previous commands. He told them, “The Lord your God has blessed everything you have done and has watched your every step through this great wilderness. During these forty years, the Lord your God has been with you and provided for your every need so that you lacked nothing.”
When we are in a waiting place, we need to find faith that says, “God hasn’t forgotten about me. God is still for me. God is providing for my every need, even when I can’t see it with my natural eyes or when it doesn’t look how I want it to look.” God says, “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you” (Deuteronomy 31:8). Even if we caused the delay, God won’t leave us! He loves us and will abide with us in the waiting until the promise comes to pass.
When you’re waiting for a vision from God to come to pass or a promise to be realized, emotions can begin to run high. We can feel nervous, anxious, and impatient. We can even become angry or bitter when we’ve been waiting a while and begin to fear that it’s never going to happen. What concerns do you find that you have when you’re waiting for the promise to come to pass? What fears do you have when you’re feeling as though God may not “come through” for you? Make note of all the ways you tend to react when you find yourself in a waiting situation. Then begin to think of ways you can alternatively react. Make a list of these alternate reaction choices. Meditate on these new choices and see how they may change the atmosphere of your waiting, or even your outcome.
Have a discussion today with your spouse or a trusted friend about your general responses to waiting. Share your new list of reactions to waiting that you created during your activity time. Talk about how these new ways of reacting while waiting will change the atmosphere and, potentially, your outcome. Create some accountability around how you will react when waiting becomes difficult. Perhaps you can agree to call your spouse or friend when you’re feeling hopeless or sensing you’re becoming bitter. Maybe you can give them permission to tell you to stop speaking negatively and to encourage you with your new declarative statements. Create accountability that will help you in a way that is meaningful and effective for you.
As we close out the challenge today, take a moment to thank God for any and all shifts you’ve seen in your finances. Praise him for the miracles you’ve seen, even if it’s just a change in a deeply seated unproductive thought you’ve had around finances. Thank him for the big and the small. Ask him to give you the strength and discipline to wait with faith until you see the promise come to pass. Let him know how this challenge has changed you and what your financial future looks like. Commit your finances to him.