Waiting. We don’t like to wait. We don’t like lines; we don’t like traffic. We like things that are quick. We love instant. We live in a microwave world.
We hate the phrases “not yet” and “not now.” We even have turned the phrase “I can’t wait” into a positive statement: I can’t wait to see you. I can’t wait to go on vacation. I can’t wait for Christmas!
I’m sure many, maybe most, of us have prayed similar prayers in the last two years. How long?
When will this end? Why not now? Where are you? We don’t enjoy waiting, but waiting is a big part of our journey.
Scripture is filled with stories of waiting. Abraham waited 25 years for Isaac to be born. Moses waited 40 years — twice. Jacob waited seven years for Rachel, only to be tricked into marrying her sister. From Malachi — the last book of the Old Testament — to the writing of the New Testament was a span of 400 years called the silent period. The people of God waited 400 years to hear from
God. Even Jesus waited 30 years to begin his public ministry.
Waiting always has been a part of God’s plan and story. When he tells us something or shows us the way he’s going to use us, we tend to believe him if it will happen in a week or two. But often, God has in mind a longer preparation period than we think is necessary. We highly value doing more than waiting. We see waiting as an annoyance, not as part of God’s plan and purpose.
God wants us to learn to wait. He actually uses waiting to grow us and prepare us for what is coming. The truth is most of us think we are ready for the next thing before we really are ready.
God calls us to wait but not to punish us or take away from us. Quite the opposite. He has more for you. And he cares about you too much to give you something you’re not ready for.
“Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.” (James 5:7-8)
– Dr. Thomas Tanner is lead pastor of RiverStone Church and president of the Transformation Network. He and Melissa have two children and five grandchildren. firstname.lastname@example.org.