DER: I don't like waiting. Sometimes I just plain hate it. I don't like waiting in line, waiting on hold, waiting for results, and--admittedly--waiting on God. I've never liked waiting. Perhaps that's why God provides me with such ample opportunity to do so, because He loves me and knows what's best for me.
Knowing that I was (still am) not the world's most patient soul ("and the award for the world's greatest understatement of the year goes to..."), and knowing that patience is a valuable fruit of the Spirit, I prayed for patience some years ago, against the sober advice of several Christians I know.
And the result?
God makes me wait. A lot. And God can wait a really long time.
Another way He's grown my patience is by allowing situations which try my patience to enter my life. I used to joke when our eldest daughter was younger, "I prayed for patience, and God blessed me with a two year old!"
In regards to waiting, the Bible says in Psalm 90:4 that a thousand years in God's sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night. I've decided that's really not fair, because time is forever to Him, but my alarm clock still goes off every morning. We joke about the 7:1 dog years ratio: 1 year for us is the equivalent of 7 for a dog, in terms of their physical degeneration. How about 1,000 to 1? God can indeed wait a really long time.
Another significant way that God will give me patience is to show me "the finish line" or give me an in-depth glimpse of where He's taking me, but then not allow me to get there...just yet. It's like someone letting you peek at the end of a really great novel--for just a moment, for just long enough to get the big picture and maybe know how it's all going to end--but then they quickly close the book and force you to read the whole story...word by word...thought by thought...page by page...day by day...until one day, it arrives. In God's time.
We can't make the sun rise or set any faster than it already does, I told my wife recently. This is most certainly true.
In his book, Embracing Soul Care, author Stephen W. Smith wisely notes:
"We don't like waiting. The microwave doesn't work fast enough; the internet connection is too slow. But something transformational happens when a person learns to wait. The caterpillar spinning its cocoon is not preparing a place of escape but a place to wait for transformation, a sanctuary for change.
The time of waiting is actually a season of becoming.
Transformation doesn't come if we move too quickly. We need to make space for God. When we wait and are still, He comes near. The place of waiting can provide asylum, not to hide but to hear God."
Smith continues with a phrase I just love, "Waiting sets aside the unimportant and allows the one waiting to be seized by the eternally significant." Read that again. And again. And let God's peace, truth, and light soak into your soul.
And lastly he says, "Through waiting, we find that our wings are more than wings of butterflies. We are taught to soar on wings like eagles (Isaiah 40:31)."
I'm waiting. For the Lord. On the Lord. With the Lord. By way of the Lord.
Maybe you're waiting, too.
Maybe you're waiting for test results. Or a baby. Or for healing. An answer to prayer. A building to be built. A friend or family member to come to Christ. A loved one to return home. Or go Home. Or for your retirement. Your debts to be paid off. For graduation day. For your spouse to quit drinking. Or for the day you will meet Jesus face to face and (for those of us who know Jesus) be reunited with our loved ones once and for all--forever.
May God bless you...indeed strengthen you...yes, comfort you...yea, encourage you...and most certainly love you in your season of waiting.
It's not easy. Jesus knows. He loves you and He knows how you feel. And it's good to know that the One we know knows.