None of us like to wait… in fact impatience defines most Americans today. We want what we want and we want it NOW!! We have road rage when we are stuck in a traffic jam, we hate standing in long lines, we eat fast food, our microwaves cook too slowly, and we get impatient when we text and don’t get an immediate response. We are impulsive shoppers wanting instant gratification, and waiting is often not part of our vocabulary!
The Lord has been working on my heart lately in regards to waiting. As believers, we often want God to break in NOW, and come to our rescue immediately. We pray and expect change now. We ask in order to receive, but when we don’t get it, we are often disappointed or frustrated with God. He certainly can and does answer some prayers immediately. But often, through the process of waiting we learn a deeper, more necessary lesson. Delayed healings cause us to press in and persevere. Delayed financial breakthroughs cause us to lean on and trust God as our sole provider for all that we need. And so God often calls us to endure and wait SO THAT our character will be built up in the process.
This past weekend our youth group participated in the 30 Hour Famine, an event World Vision hosts yearly to raise money for world hunger. During this weekend, a person fasts eating for 30 Hours in order to get sponsors to donate money to pay for food and water for those in need. I find that when I fast, I am able to hear God more clearly. And often He begins working on my character as I am more dependent on Him. During the Famine, World Vision provides a lot of information – statistics, testimonies, and very impacting videos based on true stories from around the world.
We watched one video about a woman in Africa who treks four hours each day to supply water for her and her family. The crazy thing is she walks an hour each way to a river where she then has to dig out dirt, and scoop up dirty water into jugs that she then carries back to her home. And this walk isn’t a leisurely walk around the neighborhood on a sidewalk. She’s climbing through thorn bushes, walking through rocky terrain, and lugging 70 pounds of water on her back. She does this twice a day to have enough water for drinking, cooking, bathing and washing dishes. She even did this throughout her entire pregnancy and on the day she delivered her baby!
My mind cannot even begin to comprehend walking for two hours to drink dirty, contaminated water! But she doesn’t have a choice. This is her world and all that is offered to her!
Would I have the patience or endurance to walk four miles a day for water? I don’t think so! I complain when I have to stand in line for my Starbucks drink, and then get frustrated if it isn’t hot enough. I don’t like standing in line at the bank or grocery store because I have places to go and things to get done. I am in a hurry people!!!
The entitlement we feel as Americans comes from a society that feeds us these lines all the time. “you have rights”, “you deserve the best”, “have it YOUR way”. The marketing slogans feed our appetites creating an attitude that demands what we want now. It says the world revolves around ME and I should have what I want – NOW!
What we often forget is that waiting produces character on the inside. It allows us to hold on for something we desire, but cannot yet have. Waiting causes us to persevere, to endure, to hold on, to stay the course… all of which are acts of our will. These come from a deeper place of choice – rather than being moved by our emotions or feelings.
Think about a time in your life when you REALLY wanted something, and you wanted it now, but you had to wait. Maybe you couldn’t afford something you wanted to purchase, so you waited while you earned more money. Maybe you were hungry, but couldn’t have it right then, so you waited. LATER when you were able to get what you wanted, it was that much sweeter right? The cupcake you couldn’t have until AFTER dinner tasted that much better, because you waited!!!
Waiting creates a discipline on the inside. It combats the culture and society we live in.
The Bible is filled with stories about men and women who had to wait:
- Abraham was promised a son but it was not fulfilled until he was 100 years old!
- David was anointed king, but was not given the position until years later.
- Joseph had a dream of his brothers bowing down, but waited through being sold as a slave, imprisoned by Potipher and serving alongside of him, to then be raised up to 2nd in command.
- Jesus the Messiah was promised and spoken of throughout the entire Old Testament, but did not come until God’s appointed time.
We must remember that God’s timing is not our timing. His ways are beyond our ways. And He is WAY more concerned about our hearts and our character, then whether we get what we want when we want it.
As you read through this post today, ask yourself the question – Am I willing to wait for the best things God has to offer me? Am I willing to wait for God’s timing – knowing that He knows what is absolutely best for me?
If we can believe God and trust Him and His timing in our lives, we have taken a huge step in learning the Art of Waiting!