“Please wait,” I find myself saying regularly to my children these days. Whether they are both requesting something at the same time or talking to me while I’m in the middle of something else, I have this response at the ready. Sometimes I’m able to answer with patience and gentleness in my voice (semi Mary Poppins sing-song, even) and other times, not so much.

Thankfully, when we are in periods of waiting and longing and find ourselves crying out to God with requests of our own, he never runs out of patience, kindness, gentleness, and grace as he answers, “Please wait.”

Sometimes my kids are in the other room and call for a snack, while I’m literally plating their dinner. I answer, “Please wait; it’s almost time for dinner,” but they have a hard time understanding how long that really means before they can eat something. I know that what I’m getting ready for them is much better than a snack and will satisfy much longer. I know it contains more nutrition and nourishing qualities than even the healthiest snack could offer.

How much more do you think God knows what we are waiting for and all the value it contains? It’s not just in the “what” we are waiting for, I believe it’s also in the waiting for the what that we get what God has for us. The preparation, the refining, the character and endurance building, the teaching us to hope in him greater than our circumstances. While waiting is even more painful than hunger pains, it can teach us a lot if we ask God to help us see and be open during the waiting.

Romans 5:1-5 says, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (NASB).

Friends, I encourage you to find your hope in Jesus and all he has already done and who he created you to be. You are his beloved one, who God rejoices over with singing and delights in hearing your hearts. Be honest in the struggle that waiting is, and ask him to help you learn what he has for you as you wait to see what is on the other side of the longing. Be blessed in Jesus’s name and in the peace he has already given all who believe.