When I first became a Christian many, many moons ago, I had a great sense of urgency because I felt I had already wasted a lot of time living outside God’s will. I embraced every aspect of my new faith with an enthusiasm that often lacked finesse or good judgement. This sometimes got me into trouble and I did loose some friends as a result. Although my methods were not always right, my heart was – I wanted to grow in God. Quickly.
Patience is not one of the virtues that I readily embrace. I want things too quickly and waiting just seems to be a waste of precious time. And yet one of the first things a child has to learn as they grow up is the concept of waiting. Wait for your turn, you can’t have that now, and no matter how much you will it, Christmas will not come until the twenty fifth of December – not a second before.
My concept of waiting for God for something that He has promised me either in the Bible or through personal prophecy used to be that of a patient in a Doctor’s waiting room. The Doctor is often running late and you are stuck in a room full of sick people. You have no choice but to wait until you are called. In the meantime you try to make sense of the book or magazine you are reading; amidst the chaos of fretful babies, fidgety toddlers and uptight commuters who keep looking at their watches (perhaps I exaggerate a little).
My perception of waiting has changed as I have grown up. Thankfully. I have come to understand that waiting is often necessary because I have to be ‘made ready’ for whatever it is I am waiting for. Otherwise it would be like taking a toddler to the opera – they just won’t appreciate it. Being ‘made ready’ takes time. It also takes my co-operation. The more I winge and gripe, the less I am inclined to submit myself to the preparation process and the longer I then have to wait for fulfillment.
Waiting is also important because it is often not just about me. There are other people (some of whom I may not even know yet) whose lives are intricately woven into my waiting period. Perhaps my testimony of waiting will encourage them in some way; perhaps God is working on someone else to somehow connect them to me so that together we can fulfill His purpose. Or perhaps waiting is needed because someone who is a very necessary part of what I am waiting for has not arrived on the scene yet.
In Romans 8: 22-25 (The Message Bible) the Bible tells us that we are enlarged in our waiting, just like a pregnant woman gets bigger as she gets closer to her due date. When we look at it this way, we see that waiting does not diminish us; on the contrary, it enlarges us. So my waiting needs to be with joy and expectation, the same way a pregnant woman awaits the birth of her child. And if I believe like David did that “my times are in His hands” (Psalm 31:15), then I wait in complete trust, knowing that He will not be a day late. I trust Him, not just for the fulfillment of the promise, but for His perfect timing as well.
At this time Christians remember the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus. There was some waiting (and I imagine nail biting as well) for the disciples then. Waiting to see if He would indeed rise from the dead like He said that He would. Waiting for Him to ascend to the Father. When Easter Sunday came and the promise was fulfilled, it was worth every minute of the wait.
So the question is, what abut you? What are you waiting for? How are you waiting? With joy and expectation or with grumbling and fretting? This may be an opportunity for you to do some growing. As someone once said, “maturity is the ability to delay gratification”. Happy waiting!
In His wonderful name,