“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, and 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 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 and they complained in earnest to Moses. When God instructed them to take the land he had promised to give them, they insisted on sending in scouts first to survey the land. The scouts came back with reports of unbeatable giants and unconquerable cities, completely rejecting 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 only take 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 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 be.” 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.” (Deuteronomy31:8) 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.