The other day, I had to wait 50 minutes on the phone to get connected and speak with a representative. If someone tells me to wait, I know I have to equip myself with patience.
Technology has made worldwide exchange of information fast and efficient. We get to distant places faster, and we receive the latest news in a blink of an eye. Meanwhile, it’s no surprise that we have come to expect everything to be available on demand.
What about prayer? Do we feel we get God’s immediate attention when we pray? Well, it’s complicated since there is no such thing as button-pushing in the realm of prayer. It’s not like: prayers go out, God’s answers come in. We have to wait for His input and that puts us in the waiting room until we hear back from the Lord.
On one occasion I was looking for a professional change, but it just wasn’t happening. My husband and I kept praying for the issue. Then, one night I had a dream. I dreamed I was sitting in a car at a stoplight waiting for the light to change. When I awoke it felt as if the Lord was saying:
“Hang in there! Traffic light will change and you will be able to move on.”
It wasn’t long after my dream that circumstances began to change. One of my job applications was accepted and I was hired on the spot – a perfect example of an open door in God’s own good time.
Waiting on the Lord is an expression of trust. It is an opportunity to hit the brakes and grow in our faith. On this note Prophet Isaiah wrote (Isaiah 64:4):
“Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for Him.”
I remember situations where we simply had to wait things out for the sake of clarity. And we did see more clearly after the dust had settled and we took more time to think about the problem. Some decisions should not be processed overnight and we will find that the pressure is off once we stop pushing the issue. Submitting to the Lord we give Him control. For the sake of our peace of mind, that’s the thing to do. It will all work out and things will fall into place when we know how to wait on the Lord.
Nobody is born patient. Patience is best expressed in the ability to wait. For that, we all have to grow up. Imagine telling a crying baby to wait – food is just around the corner. A baby doesn’t understand. A baby wants food now! Whining on the freeway when there is an hour’s delay, we are all behaving like babies.
It takes strength to wait.
It sometimes takes guts to wait.
And at all times hope will help us out.
In fact, I don’t believe patience is possible without hope. We lose hope, we usually also lose our patience. The trick is not to nourish false hope. If we’re betting on the wrong horse, chances are, we’re going to be sorely disappointed. I believe one of the things the psalmist is getting at is not to wait for any old thing – but wait for the Lord.
I’m a pusher by nature. I work hard, want to get things done and thrive on accomplishments without dwelling too much on them because I’m already pursuing the next project. I may exhibit patience at work because I love to work. I’m into details. I’m thorough. So I may fool some people into thinking I have all the patience in the world. – Well, no, not really! I’m only patient with the things that I like to do. I have little to no patience with the things I hate doing, such as repairing my bike for instance. I leave that to my husband.
Does that make me an impatient person? Maybe! Or maybe we are all impatient at the core and we all have to choose to be patient.
Honestly, I think that patience can’t be learned, it has to be chosen every waking moment. I choose to be patient, because I know better. I choose to wait on the Lord because I know He will come through for me.
Choosing the Lord, we choose life. Choosing the Lord, we choose to wait on Him. Remember, we are not choosing our circumstances, but we can always choose the Lord.
We have a family member whose name is Patience, and I often thought if that was my name, I would have a hard time living up to it. In general, I am not good at “hanging in there”. Sometimes I make rash decisions just to keep things going. We can probably all relate – more or less, depending on our patience meter.
Waiting on the Lord, Isaiah must have gone through similar frustrations. In his book he wrote (Isaiah 64:1):
“Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains would tremble before you!”
In other words: “Please, God, do something, will you?”
God does not run on a human time schedule. Heaven and Earth cannot contain Him – and this also means He is not subject to Earth time. So why are we surprised when God does not show up on our watch? It is in His nature to show up unexpectedly.
In many ways our relationship with God reminds me of a human love relationship. Despite the intimacy level we may reach, there is always a certain degree of mystery involved. Nobody is completely predictable. Why? God made us; I would say that some of His mystery must have rubbed off on us.
There is no way that our finite minds can even begin to grasp our infinite God, and yet there is one thing we can always default to when nothing else seems to make sense: God is good. It is important to keep this in mind as we wait for Him.
Remember that God acts on our behalf. In His own good time He will come through for us. Believing in Him makes the time we spend waiting all the more sweeter.