Whatever it is you are needing, God can provide it in an instant. Whatever it is you’re fighting, God can clear it immediately. He can … so why hasn’t he?
Why isn’t God acting immediately? Why are you still waiting? Why does it feel like you’re waiting in a long line to get to God, and that line isn’t moving? Will your turn ever come? Will God ever attend to your needs?
Matthew 15 tells the story of Jesus healing many people, but the people were gathered waiting. Waiting on their turn with Jesus. Waiting on his touch. And as they waited in a large crowd, they saw the miracles for many others. In fact this whole story is more about their need while they were waiting than the miracle they were there to receive.
Verse 29-38, “Jesus returned to the Sea of Galilee and climbed a hill and sat down. A vast crowd brought to him people who were lame, blind, crippled, those who couldn’t speak, and many others. They laid them before Jesus, and he healed them all. The crowd was amazed! Those who hadn’t been able to speak were talking, the crippled were made well, the lame were walking, and the blind could see again! And they praised the God of Israel.
Then Jesus called his disciples and told them, “I feel sorry for these people. They have been here with me for three days, and they have nothing left to eat. I don’t want to send them away hungry, or they will faint along the way.”
The disciples replied, “Where would we get enough food here in the wilderness for such a huge crowd?”
Jesus asked, “How much bread do you have?”
They replied, “Seven loaves, and a few small fish.”
So Jesus told all the people to sit down on the ground. Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, thanked God for them, and broke them into pieces. He gave them to the disciples, who distributed the food to the crowd.
They all ate as much as they wanted. Afterward, the disciples picked up seven large baskets of leftover food. There were 4,000 men who were fed that day, in addition to all the women and children.”
They’re waiting on the touch of Jesus to the point of starvation. And Jesus miraculously provides an overflowing all-you-can-eat meal for thousands of people that day from only 7 loaves of bread and a few small fish. Yay, Jesus! That’s amazing. But, what I want to know is … why was Jesus making them wait?
Really, didn’t Jesus have the power to say in an instant, “everyone here is healed, now go home.” Jesus could have healed the whole crowd in the first 10 minutes of this gathering, yet here they are 3 days later without food, still waiting. This wait was unnecessary. This delay seems almost cruel.
And I bet your wait feels unnecessary. Your delay feels almost cruel. Why isn’t God doing what he can do immediately?
We know Jesus didn’t have to actually touch each person to heal them. In fact the story immediately before this in the same chapter is of a mother coming to Jesus asking him to heal her daughter who is tormented by a demon. The daughter wasn’t there, yet Jesus healed her with just his word and in a moment. Verse 28, “And from that moment her daughter was healed.” So, this crowd waiting to be touched by Jesus one by one wasn’t even necessary.
We also know Jesus can heal more than 1 person at a time. Luke 17 tells the story of 10 lepers who stood at a distance and yelled from their hiding places, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” Jesus healed all of them as they were walking away to the priest. He didn’t touch them. And the entire group received healing at the same time.
So, tell me again, why is this group of thousands gathered in the middle of no where with no food, waiting and waiting on Jesus to move for them? He could have healed them all with one word, but he kept them waiting.
Sometimes we find the greatest works of God in between the lines. In between what we can read and what we can hear, we find his compassion in action in the details most often overlooked. This crowd of thousands was mostly Gentiles. Gentiles doesn’t describe who someone is, but rather who they are not. To be a Gentile literally meant you were not Jewish. These were people who did not believe in God.
It’s important to know this because we see the compassion in Jesus’ time spent with the crowd of non-believers. He allowed them to come in close. He allowed them to see him in action. He allowed them to witness miracle after miracle for 3 days. Why? Because time spent with Jesus changes not only your condition, but even more importantly, your heart.
Jesus could have changed their condition in an instant. Healing power for thousands was his with one stretch of his hand. Healing power for those at a far distance was his, proximity was not a prerequisite for healing. But Jesus kept them close for 3 days because he not only wanted to heal them, he wanted to change them.
Is this why we sometimes wait? Is this why God doesn’t miraculously move the moment we ask? Consider this, what if he is miraculously moving the moment you ask, but the movement is simply toward you? He’s drawing close to you. He’s near you. And he does this because he’s not just concerned about your condition, he’s concerned about your heart.
In the wait, we learn to stay close. In the wait, we learn to remain still. In the wait, we see God working all around us. We’re not denied our own movement of God, we’re simply being held close so we receive more than we came here asking for.
Know this, my sister, the moment you asked God for help, he moved. He moved close to you. He heard you. He is working.
1 John 5: 14-15, “And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.”
But why does it feel like he’s not answering? Like he’s not moving? Like we’re stuck here waiting for absolutely no reason while he withholds his good power in our lives? Well, here’s my best answer for that.
Isaiah 55: 8-9, God says, “I don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work. For as the sky soars high above earth, so the way I work surpasses the way you work, and the way I think is beyond the way you think.”
Yes, God heard your prayer. Yes, he moved the moment you asked. And he moved in close to you. He is near you. Just because you’re still waiting doesn’t mean God isn’t moving. He is, but this is about so much more than your circumstances or your condition. God wants to show you so much more. He wants to show you the way he works surpasses anything you could ever do on your own.
And in the wait, Jesus provides. He provides what you are lacking. He provides what you are needing. And he provides it in miraculous ways, using what could never possibly be enough and making it more than enough.
Isn’t Jesus providing for you as you wait? You may not have the miracle you’ve been waiting on yet, but you woke up today with a new supply of energy. A fresh anointing of mercy and grace. You have food for today. Now, just stay close to Jesus.
In my head, I think if I were Jesus, I would just heal the whole crowd in the first 10 minutes so there would have never been a need for a meal. But Jesus said, I’ll not only heal them, but I will change them. I’ll spend time with them, and in their wait, they will see my provision in a way that will change them forever.
And Jesus is still being Jesus today. Doing this bigger and greater than we even came seeking. Trust him in the wait. He will provide for you here, and he will change you here.