Devotional | Ryan Jackson | Apr 14, 2024

Steadfast in the Waiting

Steadfast in the Waiting

When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt. Exodus 13:17 


Every week, I get the honor of spending time with our pre-teens and sharing Jesus’ love for them at such an impactful and impressionable age in their lives. We spend a lot of our time waiting. Waiting in lines. Waiting on people. Waiting for events to come on the calendar. Waiting for the things we want or desire. For people who spend a lot of time waiting, we typically are not very good at it, myself included. We are so often hurried, impatient, and irritable. We know what we want, and we want to arrive at our destination as quickly as possible. Recently, I have spent time reading about the Israelites’ time in the wilderness. During my reading, I discovered something I had completely glossed over in the past. Exodus 13:17 (NIV) says, “When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, ‘If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.’”

I was floored by this simple verse I had quickly read over in the past. God intentionally led the Israelites into the wilderness. He saw what was ahead and knew they were not ready for it yet. I was reminded of a quote by C.S. Lewis from Mere Christianity, “I do not know why there is this difference, but I am sure that God keeps no one waiting unless He sees that it is good for him to wait. When you do enter your room, you will find that the long wait has done you some good which you would not have had otherwise. But you must regard it as waiting, not as camping.” 

Waiting is hard, and it is scary. Sometimes there is no timeline for it, and we cannot control the outcome of the waiting season. But God, in his goodness, works to redeem all things, giving us the chance to use waiting as a space to learn and trust. While the Israelites' time in the wilderness is far from a perfect example of how to navigate these seasons, we see the perfect example demonstrated in Luke 4 through Jesus and his forty days in the wilderness. Jesus understands what God is doing in this season and implicitly trusts the Father. When the Israelites began to starve, they cried out in hunger. When Jesus began to starve, he responded “Man shall not live on bread alone.” When the Israelites felt God was absent, they turned to the golden calf; when Satan tempted Jesus with earthly glory and authority, Jesus responded, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’” While the Israelites constantly questioned God's provision and protection of them, Jesus said, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 

Our waiting seasons can often feel like a wasteland or a desert. The moments in the “wanting” and “not yet” are often some of the hardest. But I love how C.S. Lewis beautifully illustrates that God has something for us in this season, and often we cannot know what it is until we are out of it. We have to have faith that God is working in this season and that we are not “camping.” God will not leave us here, but in his beautiful and glorious timing, he will bring us through the “door” or out of the “wilderness.” 

Even with all of the Israelites shortcomings during their time in the wilderness, God, in his steadfast faithfulness, still provided a way for them. It may have taken some time, but they crossed the Jordan into the land promised to them: “I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:19b). Our season of “wanting” and “not yet” might often resemble more of the Isaelites than it does Jesus. These seasons of waiting may last longer than we would like, but we can rest assured our Heavenly Father is making a way for us. Like Jesus in Luke 4, we can trust while we are in that wasteland or desert, our God is not only providing for us but also doing work in us.


Heavenly Father, thank you for working in our seasons of “wanting” and “not yet.” We know you give good gifts. So renew in us our sense of the goodness of the gift of waiting. Help us to be patient in it and to trust in what you are doing. Your will, not mine, be done. It is in your Son’s name we pray, Amen.

Ryan Jackson
Pastor of Crossings Kids 56 - OKC Location


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