Even at a very young age, we are taught that our prayers are answered in three ways — yes, no, and wait a while. Receiving yes for an answer may give us profound joy. Getting a “no” may lead to heartbreak…and later, understanding. But to be asked to “wait upon the Lord” when your desires are righteous and you’ve proven yourself worthy of blessings can sometimes bring confusion or even doubts. Can blessings really come from waiting?
Throughout history, even the most righteous have not been spared from having to wait upon the Lord. In fact, at certain times, it was much harder for them. Moses had to overcome many tribulations before succeeding in freeing the Israelites. Nephi and His brothers had to risk their lives before claiming the brass plates. The Prophet Joseph Smith cried out to the Lord in bitter prayer because of the sacrifices and persecution of early church members by those opposing the Mormon faith.
Then, there are those who are asked to wait for their heart’s greatest desire — a spouse, a child, an education, financial stability. No matter how hard they try to be worthy of the blessing they want most in life, it doesn’t seem to come. To those who are currently waiting for something, there are great lessons that the Lord can teach you during this time, and sweet blessings that accompany the struggle.
Waiting Upon the Lord Helps Us Better Understand His Will
When challenges first hit us, often we question, “Heavenly Father, why me?” A young woman who patiently waits years for her eternal companion, or a young father who is desperately trying to make ends meet could question why certain blessings come late. There can surely be tears, and even doubt, but when we continue with faith and obedience to the Lord and persevere with patience, we will eventually have the privilege to see the will of the Lord unfold. We may not fully understand why some blessings have not yet come, but it will help us confidently say — with confidence and hope — “Thy will be done.”
Waiting Upon the Lord Cultivates Christlike Attributes
In the scriptures, to wait is to hope and to trust. As we wait with hope, we echo the hymn “I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go” — “so trusting my all to thy tender care, and knowing thou lovest me,… I’ll be what you want me to be.” Understanding and trusting the Lord’s timetable can help develop important Christlike attributes such as humility, patience, hope, and gratitude for the Lord.
Waiting Upon the Lord Gives Us Opportunities to Serve
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf once encouraged us, “Patience means active waiting and enduring. It means staying with something and doing all that we can—working, hoping, and exercising faith; bearing hardship with fortitude, even when the desires of our hearts are delayed.”
If we consistently fret over blessings not yet given, we will feel miserable. But when we learn to wait upon the Lord, we will eventually see that there are people around us who are also waiting for our help. This could include our families waiting upon our love and attention, and friends who may need helping hands and listening ears. Waiting upon the Lord helps us shift our attention from our own desperation to others around us who also need blessings — blessings that the Lord can give through us.
Waiting Upon the Lord Brings Greater Happiness
Let’s admit one thing — waiting does not come easy. Sometimes, we can wonder “Does the Lord even understand what I truly need? What I truly want in my life?” When we feel discouraged and lose trust in the Lord’s timetable, let us remember Elder Robert D. Hales’ powerful statement:
“He knows your sacrifices and your sorrows. He hears your prayers . His rest and peace will be yours as you continue to wait upon Him in faith… Every one of us is more beloved to the Lord than we can possibly understand or imagine.”
Can you imagine that kind of love? Do we really think that the Lord — in His great, unfathomable love for us — does not desire what’s best for us? Like the pressing question in Matthew 7:11, will we truly ever understand the greatness of the blessings He has in store for us,? Can you imagine the greater happiness we will enjoy as we learn to wait on the Lord’s timetable?
If waiting for specific blessings has made you weary and doubtful, remember this stirring statement from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland:
“Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don’t come until heaven. But for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come.” We may not know when or how the Lord will give us blessings, but let us always remember that our prayers do not fall on deaf ears. Like the Lord and His love for us, His blessings are eternal, and not temporary. May we continue to wait upon Him and never give up on the blessings which He has in store for us, both in this life and the life to come.