Can you remember a time when the Internet, Instagram, or Google were non-existent? For some millennials and Gen Z’ers, it’s difficult to even fathom the idea of a world without Internet. We go to a coffee shop and we ask for the Wifi password, sometimes even before ordering our drinks. Days of reading physical books and going to the library are slowly diminishing.
In the age of “Insta” information, waiting seems like the last thing we want to do. Instagram, instant noodles, instant oatmeal, instant popcorn. When we’re hungry, we pop something in the microwave. When we want to look up where to eat, we pull up Yelp on our phone. Need to learn how to fix your car’s transmission? Just Google it. Waiting in the checkout line at the grocery store? Pull out the phone and check Facebook.
The reality is that we spend most of our time in the waiting rooms of life.
Time is spent waiting for the result of a medical diagnosis. It’s spent waiting for the outcome of a job interview. It’s spent waiting for your significant other to come.
The Bible says: “Rest in the Lord; wait patiently for Him to act…Don’t fret and worry – it leads only to harm” (Psalm 37:7-8). Do you want to wait or fret and worry? I don’t know about you, but I would much rather wait than worry and be harmed.
You cannot move faster than the one who is leading. We become impatient, anxious, and frustrated because we want life to happen on our timeline. The funny fact is that we’re always in a hurry but God is never rushing. We attempt to shortcut God, but this often does more harm than good. If God was to give us everything when we want it, there would be no faith because faith is confidence in what we cannot see. Without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).
To clear any misunderstanding, waiting is not the same as being idle. Waiting and trusting in the Lord is an act of faith. Idleness is being lazy.
In times of waiting, we live out our faith by thanking God in advance for what He’s about to do, hoping for what we cannot see, getting alone with God, and sharpening ourselves for the next season.
Idleness is sitting on the couch with a bag of chips and binge-watching Netflix.
Even Jesus, the Son of God, had to wait. He could have healed and performed miracles as a child if the Father willed it, but Jesus waited 30 years to start his public ministry. It’s difficult for some of us to even wait 30 seconds, much less 30 years!
Why does God make us wait? There are several reasons God places periods of waiting in our lives:
WAITING PRODUCES PATIENCE
God wants us to have a grander perspective on life. Patience is the key to any success in life. If we cannot be patient with the smaller aspects of life, God will not give us bigger opportunities.
For example, if you want to be a manager of a team at work, it takes time to learn and develop the skills to get there. You need to first master your current role and prove to your company that you’re credible. Then, you need to gain leadership abilities to manage a team. This development process could take several years, but we want big things to happen in several months.
This concept applies to all other aspects of life – relationships, spiritual maturity, physical health, and the list goes on.
WAITING BUILDS CHARACTER
God chips away at our character in seasons of waiting. A classic example of this is the story of Moses and his season of waiting in the desert for 40 years before God used him to deliver the Israelites out of slavery.
When Moses was a younger man, he was impatient and lacked self-control. He killed an Egyption out of anger and hid the body. When his sin was publicized, he fled for his life and was exiled to the desert. It was during the 40 years in the desert that God transformed Moses’ character. In the end, the Israelites were freed from slavery and Moses became an excellent leader.
God has a high calling and purpose on your life, but this does not mean you’ll live out your calling the next day.
It takes time to prepare you to be the man or woman God made you to be. It is only then will God use you mightily for His purposes.
WAITING BUILDS INTIMACY WITH GOD
There are times in your life where you have little to no control on the results you desire. It’s hard to control who comes into your life or to find your significant other. It’s hard to control the results of a medical diagnosis. It’s during these times when we completely surrender to the Lord and trust in His sovereignty.
It’s okay to be wholehearted and honest in your prayers. I would often pray: “Lord, I don’t like the situation that you put me in. Actually, I’m really anxious and impatient. Either make me like my situation or give me the strength to persist.” God would rather have you be honest in your relationship with Him than talk to Him with a prescribed prayer. You don’t need to pray perfect, eloquent prayers to speak honestly with God.
Through all circumstances, God uses seasons of waiting to strengthen us and grow our relationship with Him. When life seems out of our control, we can only depend on the One who is the Creator of time and knows what is best for us. In a culture of quick information and shortcuts, He desires us to transform the world rather than conform to the values of this world.
Food for Thought: What is God teaching you in your season of waiting? What are you expecting God to do in your life?