Wait. Some Christians would rather cut off an arm. In addition to words like “forgiveness,” “patience,” and “submission,” the word “wait” has to be on the Christian’s top ten list of most disliked words! Whether in the doctor’s office, the supermarket line, or stuck in traffic, most of us are pained at the thought of waiting. Advances in technology have ensured that to a large degree we are living in the age of the instant. We want things done and we want them done right now. Patience it seems is no longer a virtue, and in corporate circles, the saying is that “time is money.” No one wants to wait.
Unfortunately, most Christians bring this “instant mindedness” to their spiritual life. While it is true that God can and sometimes do instant miracles, the prevalence of certain teachings have blinded some to the sovereignty of God; His right to do as He pleases, whenever, however, and with whomever He pleases. The Scriptures are filled with accounts of godly men who spent very long periods in God’s waiting room. For example, who can argue with Abraham’s faithfulness, yet he who was a friend of God spent 25 years waiting for the promise of a son. Joseph endured 13 years of trials, tribulations, and jail before realizing the fruition of what God had ordained for him. Moses waited 40 years in the wilderness. David, a man after God’s own heart, waited 15 years to become king. It is true that these men were not always poster boys for lessons in unwavering patience, but no matter how many times they wavered, they always found their way back into God’s waiting room where they waited patiently for Him.
In many of the places we are required to wait, we have the option of leaving. We can go to another store, another doctor’s office, and so on, but with waiting on God there is no other God or gods to go to. In Isaiah 45:5 He affirms, “I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me” and in verse 21, “. . . there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me” (KJV). When we need Him to do what He alone can do, we have no viable option but to wait until He is ready to do it.
In Psalm 37 the psalmist David advises, “Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him” (v.7), but not before setting the groundwork for this trust. “Fret not thyself” (v.1), “Trust in the LORD” (v.3), “Delight thyself also in the LORD” (v.4), and “Commit they ways unto the LORD” (v.5). Until we have done those preliminary steps and until we come to truly accept God’s sovereignty in and over our lives, waiting upon Him can become a long and frustrating experience.
But there is good news. Jesus reminded Mary, the sister of Lazarus, “Said I not unto thee, that, ‘if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?'” (John 11:40). The same truth applies if we “wouldest” wait. Waiting is not easy, especially when it seems like nothing is happening; however, He promises that “they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31). If He says it or promises it, we can believe it. No matter how long it takes. He is that kind of God.