The waiting game: God's plan to prepare us?
I hate to wait. I’m not a patient person and I am certainly not one who sits idle, waiting for a clear path, a green light or the fog to lift. I’ve been known to, on several occasions, to run ahead even when things are clear, simply because I hate to wait. I tend to subscribe to the “it’s better to ask forgiveness than permission” way of living. I’ll admit, that mantra has at times come at a high price, but it serves my impatience well.
A few years ago, I was so anxious to get out of a job that was choking the life out of me. I was miserable and the work environment was growing toxic by the minute. There was no hope of things improving and I saw my talents getting squelched in the looming fate that was to be for my employer. I knew God was preparing for me to move on to something else, but I didn’t wait. I jumped “from the frying pan to the fire,” as the old adage goes. The next job I landed was ever worse and I found myself quitting without any other job in the wings. It was stressful and emotionally taxing, but by golly I was just not going to wait! Had I waited, there’s no telling what opportunity God would have provided.
Does that sound familiar to you? Have you raced ahead, tired of waiting on God’s provision, hoping you could make things happen faster? We get so frustrated in God’s slower—than-molasses way of working. Although, scriptures tell us that His timing is perfect and His ways are always better than ours. But time and time again, we rush ahead into a relationship, force our way into a parenthood, wedge ourselves into a career, fight and claw our way into a home… and the list goes on and on.
Pride is the fault that keeps us impatient. We think we know better. We think we can get things done faster. However, the reality is that we are meant to wait. God has never been the hurry-up kind.
He made Noah wait for rain while he worked day after day, month after month building an ark. All the while he listened to those around him laugh and mock his ambition and dedication to a work that didn’t even make sense at the time.
God asked Hannah to wait for a son. She prayed and prayed for God to provide, yet she waited. Finally, God answered her prayer.
Waiting was the game for the Israelites who waited to be delivered to the promised land. In addition to their waiting, they also wandered because of their sin and failures.
There was a lot of waiting going on when not 5, 6, but seven times Joshua marched around the Jericho walls waiting on God to deliver. Elijah waited on the prophets of Baal to admit defeat and recognize the One True God.
In the New Testament, the waiting goes on. Paul waited in prison. The disciples waited in a garden. Believers waited in an upper room, mourning Christ’s death. Even Christ himself waited.
Yes, waiting is part of our stories. It’s part of who we are… it’s part of how we demonstrate our faith.
When we look through the scriptures, we see that these people were good people. They were waiting on Heavenly Father to show up. Heavenly Father has been leading His children through deserts and across oceans and out of slavery and through the wilderness since the beginning of time because there are things He needs you to learn while you wander - and good to be done while you wait.
It’s tempting to assume that we are waiting for answers because we’ve done something wrong or we lack faith. Although this can be the reason, I believe that more times than not, it’s simply the way God wants it done… in His time and in His way. The folks we see in the Bible were simply tasked with waiting and they did a lot of waiting. That should be comforting for us … to realize we are among the Biblical greats that waited. But we have a slight advantage…we can flip to the end of the story and see how God moved and see how it all worked out. That wasn’t the case for Hannah or Noah or Moses or Mary. At the time, they just waited. There was no page to flip in order to get to the end.
Sisters, this is how it is for us in the moment as well. Our time spent waiting, while sometimes frustrating and confusing, is only wasted if we choose to NOT draw closer to Him. We might not know how God is going to make sense of all the things that seem to be put on hold in our lives. We may not be able to see down the path to the end of the story. We may be confused as to why we are in this season of waiting. But I know this to be true, if we believe God is in the middle of it, we have to hold on to faith that He is making us wait because it’s what’s best for us. Because all things work together for good and if He is for us who is against us? And let us not forget… He has a plan for us. A good plan to prosper us. Yes, a good plan that may include a little waiting.
I’ve decided that impatience is OK when I want to microwave something, rather than wait on the stove to get hot. But it doesn’t serve me well in the other aspects of my life. If it was good enough for those Bible giants to wait… then it’s good enough for me too! The good news is we don’t have to wait alone. We are in a family, a family formed by our Heavenly Father and if we all are waiting, well then we all wait in good company!