“And I will wait for the LORD who is hiding His face from the house of Jacob; I will even look eagerly for Him” (Isa 8:17 NASB).
As we have driven through the streets of Kathmandu on this trip we have often passed extremely long lines of cars and motorcycles waiting their turn at the gas pumps (or as they say here, the petrol pumps). Disgruntled minority parties are staging sit-ins at the border crossing points with India and trucks of petroleum products, food, and other necessities are being held back from entering the country. Continue reading “What are we waiting for?”
Ours is the age of instant. We consume instant potatoes, instant coffee, and instant oatmeal.
Ours is the society of the drive thru. We can remain in the quiet comforts of our vehicle and still pick up our laundry, carry out our banking, grab our lunch, and buy our over-priced latte.
Ours is the environment of speed. We wield on-demand cable TV, 4G wireless service, and high performance internet access.
Hurry has become our most revered deity; waiting has become the cardinal sin–an abomination of the worst order. The devil is no longer a spirit entity who attacks our faith, but anything that causes us delay. To be left in the waiting room is anathema.
These shifts in our cultural thinking and practice have impacted, not only our lives, but our views of the Almighty (Psalm 50:21). He too must hustle and rush at the same frantic pace of humanity. Since he transcends time, he ought to match his blessings to the gait of our hasty requests.
When a loved one is ill, God ought to bring instantaneous recovery. When we’ve lost our job, he ought to step into the time-continuum and open an immediate door of providential opportunity. When we wrestle with habitual defeating sin, God ought to bring about prompt delivery.
In essence, God ought to be instant, Someone we can pick up at the drive through, and faster than a speeding bullet.
The problem is–God isn’t in a hurry (2 Peter 3:8). Ever. You could say he cooks like Grandma used to–without the luxury of a modern microwave.
Jehovah often allows his children to simmer in the crockpot of patient endurance (James 1:3-4). His divine recipe for our spiritual maturity includes nothing more dramatic than letting us wait (2 Corinthians 6:4; Colossians 1:11) for his perfect will to unfold.
You see, he knows real faith is refined in the oven of days, months, and years, not in the popcorn setting of a digital oven.
Think about it.
When Abram and Sarai were sure it was far too late to start a family, God allowed the couple to sauté yet another 25 years before blessing them with Isaac.
When Isaac and Rebekah wanted children to grace their home, God let husband and wife swelter the heat of perseverance for 20 years before answering their prayer.
When Joseph was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, God allowed 22 years elapse before the siblings were finally brought together and reconciled.
When Moses was ready to lead the Hebrews out of Egypt, God left the future deliverer in the oven of Midian for 40 years.
These Bible heroes grace the sacred pages of Hebrews eleven because they waited on God (Psalm 27:14; 37:9, 34; Isaiah 40:31) and learned to submit to his protracted plan. In so doing, they not only increased their faith, but gave Jehovah glory.
Dear reader, are you ever impatient with God? Are you tired of waiting? It is quite possible that you are in the crockpot–right where the Almighty wants you to be.
The great New England preacher Phillip Brooks was known for his calm demeanor, but even he could have his patience tried at times. One day a friend observed him pacing the floor like a caged lion.
“What’s the trouble, Dr. Brooks?” Asked the friend.
“The trouble is that I am in a hurry,” he replied, “but God isn’t.”
There aren’t many masterpieces by microwave. Yet we still become impatient with the deliberate manner in which God operates. We want an eighty-foot oak tree to grow in six months.
We want a church to mature yesterday. We want a teenager to behave like a fully mature adult.
A few years ago some African preachers I knew began to refer to themselves as “Dr. Smith” and “Dr. Jones.” When I inquired as to their impressive PhD degrees, they answered:
“We took a six month correspondence course from Michigan in the USA! And what is more, this correspondence course is accredited!”
Which, of course, raised the important question, “Accredited by whom?”
Genuine graduate degrees are earned, not given away, and they take years of research and sacrifice.
There are no special formulas for growth. In fact, “quick grow” solutions, in nature and spiritual matters tend to be unnatural, and probably fatally flawed.
I’m sure the foolish builder of Matthew 7:24-27, could have pointed out the length of time it took the other guy to cut a foundation out of bed rock, and to make his deliberate, painstaking preparations. But you know what happened when the wind and the rains came; the guy who was in a hurry was homeless!
It took Jesus three years to develop his apostles. It took eighty years to prepare Moses for leadership. It took thousands of years for the right time for God to send his son (Galatians 4:4).
And we want results yesterday. At the soonest.
Like the rabbit in the children’s tale, we pull our white gloves on and off, and mutter, “I’m late, I’m late.”
I wonder if the Lord operates on Greenwich Mean Time or Mountain? I wonder who sets God’s deadlines? I wonder if it wouldn’t be better if we began to fit into his schedule rather than trying to crush him into ours?
“The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear” (Mark 4:28, ESV).
God has an eternity in which to do his work. Then again, we’re eternal beings, too. How much better it would be to “wait on the Lord” (Psalm 27:4).