Isaiah 30:18 must be one of the most encouraging verses in all of the word of God:
“Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, and therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you.”
God had spent the first part of Isaiah 30 rebuking His people for ignoring Him, and seeking refuge in men. He told them of the discipline which was coming upon them for their sin. But then He immediately followed that up, in the same chapter, with this most encouraging word: that He “longed” to be gracious to them. What a picture this gives us of God’s nature:
It is not that we have to “talk God into” being gracious to us or others; God LONGS to be gracious! He WANTS to show compassion! That is who He IS. We see that in the episode of His self-revelation to Moses in Exodus 34:6-7, where His first words describing His own innate qualities are “compassionate” and “gracious”. Compassion and grace are what mark Him; what He is known for, and Who He is.
We have merely to put ourselves in a position for Him to be gracious to us, by listening to Him, and responding to His gracious offer. Notice what :19 says: “At the sound of your cry, when He hears it, He will answer you”! What an encouragement! God is sitting up in heaven, just WAITING for you to call on Him! He so wants to bless you with compassion and grace. It is not that His back is turned, and He has to be talked into helping you. He is longing for the opportunity to show compassion.
This is the same description of the Father that Jesus gave us in the story of the Prodigal Son; who was watching the horizon every day for his wayward child to come home, that he might run out to him to receive him. So God is doing for YOU, and for the loved ones you are praying for. He doesn’t have to be talked into showing mercy, to you or to them — He LONGS to do it!
This is why He says in the latter part of the verse: “How blessed are all those who long for Him.” If you long for Him, then you are in position for Him to be gracious to you. The same thing is true for those you love, so be encouraged in your prayers for them. You don’t have to twist God’s arm to get Him to be gracious, to your loved ones or to you. He LONGS to do it!