Monday, October 7, 2019

Finding Blessing in God’s Delay


Part 1 of an Interview with Barb Roose,
Author of I’m Waiting, God


Need information quick? Just grab your phone and do a search. Didn’t plan ahead for dinner? Toss something in the Instapot. Forget about patience, we live a world where Prime shipping seems to take too long. Waiting on the little things is an inconvenience, so what happens when we have to wait on the big things? When the bills are stacking up because a new job hasn’t come along, a family situation is causing great heartache, or a loved one faces an illness, we pray for answers. We know God hears our prayers, but it’s hard when the clock is ticking yet He hasn’t shown us the answer. Sometimes he wants us to wait. In her new Bible study I’m Waiting, God: Finding Blessing in God’s Delays (Abingdon Press), Barb Roose helps readers build patience until God’s plan comes to fruition.

Q: What is it about waiting that often reverts us back to toddler-like tantrums?

All my kids went through that crazy toddler phase when they would fall out on the floor screaming when I didn’t let them have something they wanted. What always amazed me was that those little girls were so focused on the one thing they couldn’t have that they forget everything they already had to enjoy.

Over the years, I’ve kicked up my own fuss when God hasn’t given me what I’ve wanted. There were times when I crossed my arms and pouted about not getting that bigger house, the job that would solve some financial issues, or why God hadn’t fixed the addiction issue that was breaking our hearts. I might not have thrown myself on the floor, but there were times when I didn’t want to pray or I’d withhold my worship because I felt like God being unfair.

However, during some of my long seasons of unanswered prayers, I’ve learned how to halt my tantrum long enough to look around and see what God has already blessed me with. As I’ve learned to embrace a life of gratitude, God’s gifted me a multitude of better blessings that have far exceeded anything that I could have ever asked for.

Q: An author writes about what she knows or needs to hear. Can you share an example of when you were waiting out God’s timing for what felt like forever?

For several years, I prayed for a full-time job to open up at the church where I worked part-time. I looked forward to paying the monthly bills without worrying if there’d be enough money to pay them.

Finally, I was offered a full-time job. However, the Great Recession devastated our automotive industry community. The loss of jobs led to reduced weekly giving at our church. In addition to some staff layoffs, my full-time position was postponed indefinitely. Disappointed, I was really angry with God. I was so tired of figuring out how to make ends meet month after month. After my big feelings calmed down, I kept trusting God to make ends meet and stayed faithful on my job.

Almost a year later, a different full-time job for me – a promotion and substantial pay raise. It was a better job than the one I’d gotten angry about losing the year before! While there were many years of sacrificing for what God calling us to do, he took care of my family during those difficult days until times got better.

Q: We often blame our impatience on the fact we live in a world of technology where everything is at our fingertips, but as humans, haven’t we always had that problem?

We live in an “Insta-Everything” world that makes it possible for us to get what we want by the press of a button. Hungry? Order delivery from Postmates. Run out of toilet paper? Amazon can be a hero and deliver the next day.

Even though technology highlights how much we love speed, human nature has always been to get what we want, no matter the cost. The tension is that when we try to fix or force solutions, not only do we miss out on God’s best, but we often wreck our human relationships.

In Genesis, Abraham and Sarah live with an unanswered prayer for a child. Even though she knows what God has promised, Sarah tires of waiting and cooks up a scheme. Impatience does result in a baby—and broken relationships and a lot of bitter feelings, too.


I’ve been like Sarah and got impatient with God. However, I bear the Jesus-healed scars of my foolishness. I’ve learned this: When I we try to push my way out of a waiting room, I will cause pain and problems in other people’s lives.


Q: What spiritual issues are usually being tested in us while we are in sitting in the waiting room of life?

Waiting room seasons of life challenge what we believe about God and how much fear and control are operating in our lives. Those long, frustrating days may prompt questions such as “Does God still love me?”, “Did I do something wrong?”, “Why is God answering their prayers, but not mine?” or “How long do I have to live like this, God?”

For more than a decade, our family felt the effects of a growing addiction issue. At first, I prayed, but my prayers were all about asking God to deal with the addiction because I wanted my happy, mostly pain-free and problem-free life back.

As the years went on, the effects of addiction began suffocating our daily lives. I stopped caring about getting my happy life back, I needed God’s power, presence and His peace to just help me get through the day, sometimes, even just the hour in front of me. Those last few years allowed me to discover there was nothing I needed more than God, even as I watched the once-lovely life I had fall apart and disappear. Yet, in God I found all that I needed.

Q: You write, “This journey looks more like a winding path instead of a formulaic three-step plan. Here’s the unique twist: your path to patience is paved right over the road of your unanswered prayers.” Can you talk about why there isn’t a formula?

There’s no formula for learning how to be patient, mainly because the human heart doesn’t respond to formulas. While there are formulas or strategies to bake cakes, build cars and even space travel, there is no formula that governs how a heart starts to love, begins to hate, moves toward God, or learns patience.

God knows our hearts need to experience certain situations, challenges and even heartache for us to learn how to trust his timeline for our lives. This means God is patient with us because part of our journey is learning we can’t fix people or force solutions in order to get what we want.

Unlike a plan, a winding path of learning to live on God’s timeline is more than just finding the fastest route from point A to point B. The winding path toward patience is a journey full of life-changing experiences, connections and relationships that we encounter along the way that God uses to help our hearts look more like His.

Q: Sometimes God’s plans for us are so much better than anything we could have ever expected. What are some important things to remember moving forward after a blessing in disguise or a prayer answered in an unexpected way?

It’s really easy to forget God when life is good! This is why gratitude is so important because the more we give thanks to God, the more we continue to share his glory through our story. Often, after we finally get that thing that we’ve been praying for forever, we forget all of the lessons God taught us while we were waiting. Gratitude keeps us connected to those lessons and allows God’s better blessings to keep flowing through our lives.

Q: What final piece of encouragement would you give to those who may be in an intense period of waiting right now?

This is the encouragement that I share whenever I speak before an audience: Today, you are doing the best that you can! Keep holding on! God has more for you because God has put more in you!

Visit Barb Roose’s online home at barbroose.com. Readers can also keep up with her on Facebook (BarbaraRoose), Twitter (barbroose), and Instagram (barbroose).

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