Before you solve your problem – Wait

My nature is to problem solve. I’m a fixer and a doer. Recently, I’ve been reminded how my nature, if not tended well,  can hinder the work of God.

When faced with a problem, we know the first step is prayer. When I’m waiting on God to answer my personal prayers, I don’t always wait well.

I have a dear friend I frequently go to for prayer. Her response is always, “Tell me when God does the miracle.” She EXPECTS God to do a miracle every single time. She doesn’t assume to know how He will respond, but her confidence is a steadying balance to my anxiety.

Recently, one of my sons played a round of golf and left a shared family range finder on the golf cart. We didn’t discover he’d left it until 15 hours later when the golf course was closed. If you aren’t a golfer, a range finder is a very expensive tool to help you read distances to select the proper club for your shots. Realizing this mistake at 10:00 at night did not set me up for a good night’s sleep.

My son was immediately apologetic and promised to make it right. He’d either track it down or replace it with his own money. He set his alarm for early the next morning and called the golf course to hear the disappointing news that they didn’t have the range finder. After I returned from the gym, my son was already online looking at how much he would have to spend to replace this range finder. It would be a major setback to his bank account, but he was ready to just go ahead and solve the problem.

I had a thought though. Yes, we could solve our own problem and buy a new one. Or we could ask God to help us. Maybe we should slow down fixing the problem and wait for God’s response to our request. This sounds obvious as I type it, but I have a feeling you can relate.

I urged my son to give God time to answer – to wait on God. I encouraged him to go up to the golf course in person. “You just never know. Maybe the person on the phone didn’t actually look. Maybe he didn’t care that much. Or maybe seeing you there will urge them to look harder. Regardless, we will pray, act, and wait.”

I had full confidence God would answer our prayers to find this tool. Why? Because I’ve seen Him answer every single small prayer to find a long lost treasure over the course of my boys’ lives. We’ve prayed for lost phones, keys, remotes, wallets, you name it – we’ve lost it and asked God to shine His light on it.

When my son left for the course, I began praying. Ten minutes later he walked in the door with a huge grin on his face holding the range finder. “I knew it!” I cried. I absolutely knew God was going to answer.

The oddest part is when he asked the guy running the pro shop if they had one turned in, the guy asked what it looked like. So he pulled out a picture of our exact finder. The guy whipped open the drawer and said, “Here you go!”

When I reflected on this entire incident, I couldn’t help notice how because I was praying for someone else’s problem I was actually expecting God to answer, I was waiting with anticipation, and I was excited to see how God responded. When it’s my own situation I’m praying for, I tend to anxiously wait with no anticipation or excitement. It’s as if I trust God more with someone’s else’s problems than my own.

The other thing I noticed is how quick we can be to skip over asking God and go straight to problem solving. This is especially tempting if we have the resources – money, time, skills. Sometimes we lean into our self-sufficiency while God is just waiting and hoping we will turn to Him and allow Him to bear our loads and solve our problems.

The lesson I learned that day is to pray then wait. Wait for God to answer. Give Him time to work. Be excited and thank God for giving me yet one more opportunity to see Him work in my day.

Some prayers need longer times than others to be answered. I want to give God space to work. I want to invite Him into all my silly needs and my needs that feel impossible and suffocating. He cares. He is capable. He is waiting on us to want to partner with Him.

Where are you waiting for God to answer you? Are you watching with excited expectation? Praise Him and thank Him that He is a God who longs to walk with His people. We can trust Him with our smallest requests. And we can trust Him with the deepest longings of our hearts. He is so good to us.