It’s no secret that we live in a consumer-oriented, instant gratification culture. We have constant phone notifications, Netflix “binge watching”, self-checkout lines, and now Amazon has rolled out two-HOUR delivery in some cities.
(Full disclosure: I take part in these things, except for Amazon two-hour delivery because it’s not available in my city yet. However, I do limit myself because they can easily become time vampires. These aren’t necessarily bad things, but it’s still a commentary on our culture today.)
Comedian Dane Cook has a funny skit about how everything in the future will be instantaneous, but people will still be angry because waiting in line at the DMV will still take six seconds, as though waiting that long would be an eternity.
Our culture abhors waiting in most cases. I’ve witnessed fights break out in department stores and on the road over people daring to get in someone’s way and slow them down. I’ve even had someone follow me into my neighborhood due to their road rage. (I just kept driving, and when they realized I wasn’t going to stop they gave up and quit following me.)
It is seriously getting out of control. People are going crazy because they don’t get their way all the time.
As the famous prophet, Tom Petty, said, “The waiting is the hardest part.”
However, I have found that waiting for the Lord is a powerful means of transformation.
Honestly, there are so many things that I want right now! I sooo wish I could just have my own way and get what I want. Surely, I’m the one who knows what I need, right?
But just as I know better than to give my children everything they want, the Lord knows better than to do that with His children as well.
Why is that?
In my family, my wife and I have a vision for us and goals that we are working towards. We have a purpose for our family, and we work towards that purpose. When our children come to us and ask for things, we have to decide if that is within the bounds of the purposes we are pursuing. These are often difficult decisions because what they want for themselves is not the best for the family overall. Sometimes the answer is no; other times we ask them to wait. In waiting, they come to better understand our overall purpose in managing our family.
Likewise, in our relationship with the Lord, waiting draws us into a complete dependence on Him and helps us to separate our vision and purpose from His vision and purpose.
Here are some other benefits of waiting on the Lord:
- Waiting causes us to draw close to God.
- Waiting reveals what is truly important.
- Waiting allows us to discern what efforts are from our own initiative and what is God’s initiative.
- Waiting exposes our hearts and the Lord’s heart.
- Waiting for the Lord’s solution to something to be revealed gives us a glimpse into His wisdom that is beyond our own wisdom.
To wait on God means to pause and soberly consider our own inadequacy and the Lord’s all-sufficiency, and to seek counsel and help from the Lord, and to hope in Him (Psm. 33:20-22; Isa. 8:17)… The folly of not waiting for God is that we forfeit the blessing of having God work for us. The evil of not waiting on God is that we oppose God’s will to exalt Himself in mercy. ~ John Piper
We serve a God of infinite patience, who is working with us to create good results out of all circumstances (Romans 8:28).
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Psalm 37:7
Do not say, “I will repay evil”; wait for the Lord, and he will deliver you. Proverbs 20:22
But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31
Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. James 5:7-8
In my own life, God sometimes gives me a glimpse of something that is to come, a hint of what direction He is moving in, but the timing of that thing is unknown. I must patiently wait and observe the progression of events, walking with the Lord and watching as these things unfold. The fact that I may see what the Lord is up to doesn’t mean that I should jump in and rush the process.
Timing is so important! If you are going to be successful in dance, you must be able to respond to rhythm and timing. It’s the same in the Spirit. People who don’t understand God’s timing can become spiritually spastic, trying to make the right things happen at the wrong time. They don’t get His rhythm – and everyone can tell they are out of step. They birth things prematurely, threatening the very lives of their God-given dreams. ~ T. D. Jakes
Of course, when God says “go”, we should go. When He gives us the green light to move forward in some way, we should move as He leads, just like two people dancing together. But sometimes, as with the disciples who were instructed to wait for the Spirit after Jesus ascended to heaven, following means waiting. Had the disciples moved on without heeding Jesus’ instruction to wait, they would have carried on without the power of the Spirit.
If any are inclined to despond, because they do not have such patience, let them be of good courage. It is in the course of our feeble and very imperfect waiting that God Himself, by His hidden power, strengthens us and works out in us the patience of the great saints, the patience of Christ Himself. ~ Andrew Murray
May we learn the patience of Christ Himself, and to move in step with His timing.
Follow the Life… whether that means waiting or going!
Disclaimer: It should go without saying, but quoting someone in a short article does not mean that I agree with 100% of what they have said or written. Even those we may strongly disagree with have valuable things to say about our life in Christ.