God, the one and only— I’ll wait as long as he says. Everything I need comes from him, so why not? He’s solid rock under my feet, breathing room for my soul, An impregnable castle: I’m set for life. Psalm 62:1–2 (MSG)
I’ve often heard it said that God has three answers to prayer: "yes," "no," and "wait."
The worst of the three is "wait."
As a boy, I loved it when my parents surprised me with an unexpected "yes" to my childish desire. I remember sauntering up to my folks, giving them the puppy dog eyes and my sweetest child-like voice as I would make my request. Their smile and "yes" was cause for immediate celebration and gratitude.
"No" was never fun, and was usually the impetus for an outburst of my callow anger, a lot of whining and a tantrum or two. The thing about a final "no" from the parents, however, was that you could quickly get through the emotions and move on. "No means ‘no,’" my dad would say, and his track record proved that he meant it. It wasn’t going to happen. Deal with it. Let it go.
"Wait" is the most excruciating answer. You have all the disappointment, frustration and anger of hearing the answer "no." At the same time, you know that the answer will change. Hope remains, and with it the underlying desire which prompted your request. Now you must juggle the disappointment of unfulfilled desire while holding hope at bay. All of this combines with the introduction of nagging doubt into the emotional mix, doubt that the answer will ever change to "yes." Perhaps the answer will change from wait to "no."
Looking back, I can see that the answer "wait" was always for my own benefit. My parents had a larger view of things than I did. Their perspective of what I wanted and what I needed was broader and more acute. I hear that same realization in David’s lyrics in Psalm 62. His "wait" is balanced with the knowledge that God knows all that he needs and can be trusted to provide what he needs if, and when, the time is right.