The Who in Waiting

Article by: Bridgehaven Team

Counselors Reflect on Dangerous Calling by Paul Tripp
A Series to Care for the Care Takers of God’s People

“The longer we have time to think about what we are waiting for, the longer we have time to consider how we have no ability to deliver it; and the longer we have to let ourselves wonder why we have been selected to wait, the more our faith weakens. But not so with Abraham. We’re told in this passage [Romans 4] that during this time of protracted waiting, his faith actually grew stronger, and the passage tells us why. Rather than meditating on the impossibility of his situation, Abraham meditated on the power and the character of the One who had made the promise” (Paul David Tripp in Dangerous Calling, page 65).

Often in waiting we question ourselves. We may ask, “Why, Lord?” “When, Lord?” “Why him or her and not me, Lord?” “Waiting” questions often bring with them an inward focus. We look at ourselves and are tempted to question our knowledge, competency, station of life, skill, or experience. Without our realizing it, our focus becomes more about us and less about the Lord. As Tripp notes, while we wonder why we have been selected to wait, “the more our faith weakens.” We look inward for the answer and ask, “What’s wrong with me?” “What did I do to have to wait?” instead of looking to the One Who knows.


To illustrate this point further, think about when you were a child. Your parents probably gave you many instructions growing up. You were probably told to eat your vegetables, clean your room, and pick up wet towels from the floor. If you are like me, there was probably the proverbial question of “Why” after many of these instructions. Sometimes my parents would tell me the answer. I needed to eat vegetables to be able to grow up strong and healthy. I needed to clean my room so I (and they) would not trip over stuff and be able to find things more easily. There were some instructions that did not get to the heart of what I was asking. More often than not, the response was simply, “Because I said so.” I had a choice at that point. I could choose to obey what they said because they said so, or I could choose to disobey or further question their instructions. (The latter usually brought a consequence.)


When the Lord gave Abraham a promise that he would be the father of many nations and would have a son in his old age, Abraham did not question the Lord as to why he had to wait. He simply waited. Instead of looking inward and wondering, “Why is God asking me to wait so long? What is wrong with me?” He placed his faith in the One who gave the promise. Abraham chose to wait because God had said so. Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness (Rom. 4:3, italics mine). Abraham looked upward in his waiting—not inward. He placed his focus and faith on the Lord, not himself. Though the Lord knows our hearts and minds and we can ask him questions, more often than not, we are more likely to place our hope in the answer of why we are waiting instead of focusing on the One who walks with in us in the waiting. Looking upward requires intentional effort. The next time the Holy Spirit leads you—whether to wait, confess, or confront, remember that we can trust the Author of the One who gives the command.

535826: Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry By Paul David Tripp / Crossway Books & Bibles