The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. – Lamentations 3:25
Waiting for anything is not something our generation likes very much. We don’t like to wait in line, for the microwave to finish, or for our cell phone to finally come back on after we plugged it in two minutes ago. In fact, it can’t be too far off to say that our American culture is by far the most spoiled generation when it comes to getting things quickly.
Think about it. We travel in cars, trains, and airplanes. We can stop at almost any corner and get
fresh food instantly. We can watch almost any movie or tv show at a touch of a button. We can listen to virtually any song in the world at any time. You know, it wasn’t that long ago that you had to actually go to a store and buy the album! And before that you had to hope to catch it on the radio. And before that, if you wanted music, you’d have to find a musician, or play it yourself. Now you can pump music into your ears all the day long.
We hate to wait. I hate waiting in traffic. I hate long lines at the grocery store. I hate waiting for dinner to get done when I’m hungry (I usually sneak something). And if we do have to wait for something, heaven help us if our phone battery is dead. To just have to sit or stand and do nothing? The agony is too much.
But waiting and patience are a part of God’s plan. There’s one thing that God sure isn’t; and that’s in a hurry. God is never in a hurry.
It wouldn’t make sense for God to be in hurry. To be in a hurry would be to imply either poor planning or dissatisfaction. God is not a poor planner, neither is he dissatisfied at any moment. His plan was finished before the foundation of the world, and He’s fine with Himself and His current situation, just the way it is. The beginning and the end is already finished for Him. What does He have to look forward to?
He’s not in a hurry.
In fact, a thousand years is like one day to Him. A thousand years seems like a long time to us, but for Him it’s just like a day. We may be thinking, “wow, Jesus is taking a long time to come back,” but God’s like, “what do you mean? it’s only been two days!”
We must learn to wait upon God.
Why? Why do we have to wait upon God? Because to wait is an act of faith; but getting in a hurry is doubt. When you wait for someone you are saying, “I trust that you are going to show up and do what you said you would do.” But when you get in a hurry you are saying, “I must get this done on my own.”
The most classic example of this in the bible is the story of Saul, when he was instructed by Samuel to wait for him to arrive to offer the sacrifice before going to battle. Saul waited for Samuel for a time, but began to grow anxious. Samuel was taking longer than Saul would have liked. The situation wasn’t good, so instead of waiting for Samuel to come, he decided to offer the sacrifice himself. As soon as Saul had finished the sacrifice, Samuel finally shows up:
And Samuel said, “What have you done?” – 1 Samuel 13:11
Saul was in a tough situation. The people were scattering from him in fear, and he had a huge army breathing down his neck. Was he going to do something, or was he going to keep waiting for that old man to show up?
Saul decided to do what we often do: take matters into our own hands. It’s really foolish when you think about it. We can’t really fix the problem anyway, but for some reason we need to feel like we are doing something.
This is the way Sarah felt when God’s promise for a child was taking longer than expected. She was barren, and now old. How could she still have a child? In her limited human logic she decided that she would ‘help God out.’ Instead of waiting upon God, she went with the fleshly approach. She went with with the approach that seemed to get the desired result without God’s help. “God helps those who help themselves,” is what she probably told her husband. But in the end it was a big mess. (See Genesis 16 and Genesis 21:9-10).
I’ve seen the destruction that comes to those who get in a hurry. The right thing coming at the wrong time, or in the wrong way, is the wrong thing.
Many people don’t know this (because I don’t like to talk about it), but my wife and I were engaged to each other twice before we were married. Our first engagement was too soon. I remember being with Katrina when she showed her ring to a woman at her work place, but instead of the usual, “Congratulations,” she said, “I thought you weren’t ready yet.” As awkward as that moment was, she was right.
We ended up breaking off our engagement a short while later. The amount of unnecessary pain it caused Katrina was off the charts. All a result of being in a hurry.
A year later we got back together, and shortly after that we got re-engaged. The timing was now right, and everyone around us knew it. We had a glorious wedding. It’s now 11 years and four kids later, and we have a wonderful marriage.
As hard as it may be, we must learn to wait.
The key to this is to learn to be happy in your present condition, whatever it may be. When you are happy in your present condition, you won’t be so in hurry to get to the next thing.
I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content. – Philippians 4:11
Perhaps you are in a difficult situation–you can still be content. Perhaps you are anxious to move on to the next thing in life–don’t be. Instead, learn to be content in the situation that you are in. It’s ok to desire to move out of your current situation, but it doesn’t mean that you have to be unhappy. You can be content despite your situation, because you are content in God.
The truth is, if you can’t be content where you are, you’ll never be content. Everything in this world is a gigantic let-down. If you don’t learn to be content, you’ll always be looking for the next thing. You’ll never be happy.
Saul didn’t think he could wait any longer. He went off in his own power to try to fix his unhappy situation. Because of that, he lost everything. He lost his kingdom, his son, and his own life-all because he couldn’t wait.
Wait. Wait patiently for God’s correct timing. It will always be worth it.
Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath;
Do not fret— it only causes harm.
For evildoers shall be cut off;
But those who wait on the Lord,
They shall inherit the earth. – Psalm 37:6-9
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