When was the last time you said that? At the grocery store when you picked the shortest check-out line . . . only to discover it was moving the slowest? In a traffic jam on the way to work . . . when you left home 15 minutes late? At the office regarding your painfully slow climb up to the top rung on the ladder of success?
One of my seminary professors once said, “Hell, for me, would be one long bank line!” We all lapse into impatience from time to time, but we would deal with waiting much better if we viewed it from God’s perspective:
Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage, wait for the Lord! (Psalm 27:14)
Waiting is one of the means God uses to strengthen us and prepare us for what lies ahead. God is in control of all things, including check-out lines, traffic, our career advancement . . . even bank lines! When God causes us to wait, it is not because He has forgotten us or forsaken us; He is forging us into the faithful person He has called us to be. If we would learn to see delays as part of God’s perfect design in conforming us to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29), we could wait in a way that glorifies God and benefits all those with whom we interact while we are waiting.
Impatience is simply unbelief. It is the not-so-subtle way we question God’s goodness and care for us without actually questioning Him. To be sure, waiting is generally not a part of our plan—which is why we struggle so much with it! In our waiting we get angry. In our waiting we doubt. In our waiting we envy. In our waiting we get discouraged. But waiting is a part of God’s plan for all of us.
- Abraham and Sarah waited beyond the childbearing years before finally bearing the child promised by God.
- Moses waited for 40 years on the back-side of the desert before God called him to deliver the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt.
- While he was building the ark, Noah waited more than 100 years for God to open the heavens and bring the rain.
Because God can see the beginning from the end (Isaiah 46:10), His plans are always better than our plans. His timing is perfect even when we think His timing is off. I have learned over the years that waiting is one of God’s best ways to strengthen our faith muscles. I thought Kim and I would be planting a church long before we planted a church. At times I grew impatient. But God continued using Kim to help me see things from God’s perspective (instead of mine), and I learned to wait for the Lord to open the door and usher us through it. In waiting for the Lord, I learned that the greatest blessing in our waiting was not finally fulfilling the goal of planting a church, but the work God was doing in me along the way.
So . . . where in your life is God causing you to wait? What might God want you to learn in your waiting? What might God want you to do in your waiting? What might God want you to become in your waiting?
God is not finished with you yet! He is causing you to decrease so Jesus can increase in your life right now. And He is pleased to do it through waiting.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!