Being a Christian is all about promises – stay strong and reap a harvest, God works for the good of those who love Him, He will finish what he started, He’s coming back, etc. Now don’t get me wrong, these are all exciting things, but between the promise and execution is the wait. And the wait is excruciating.
Kind of like braces. We know the end result will be beautiful, straight teeth, but it’s hard to keep that in mind when you look like this and constantly have ulcers or food stuck somewhere.
Now if you’re a patient person who can wait without any issues, you should probably stop reading. This post isn’t for you.
If you’re like me, you get excited about things. You feel God’s call on your life and you’re so ready to respond, and then you reach a few weeks in with nothing happening. You’re waiting on God, but He seems to have prioritized someone else’s calling for the moment. It’s like we take our number from the dream machine, only to wait until God has time for us.
(I know God’s timing doesn’t work like this because he’s omnipotent or whatever and can help us all simultaneously, but these are my feelings)
As a go-getter, this doesn’t sit well with me. Once I decide something, I cannot be convinced otherwise. Some call it stubbornness, but I prefer to look at it as a loyalty to myself and my convictions. The whole idea of ‘be still and wait patiently for the Lord’ is practically my faith kryptonite.
I’m a fidgety person. I’m rarely still, physically or mentally. To me, it’s like my excitement cannot be contained so it causes convulsions, often what looks like prancing. It’s hard to be patient when your mind is always refreshing the to do list and things God wants you to do are outstanding items on the list you can’t do without Him.
Kind of feels like school, right? You’re given a group assignment and being the organized psychopath you are, you make the master to do list and carefully complete your responsibilities. But it DRIVES YOU CRAZY that one kid is slacking and his items remain exposed without the neat line through to mark it done.
Yes, I just compared God to a slacker. But now I’m going to fix it. Let’s look at it from God’s perspective. He reads the assignment, knows what needs done and also knows the perfect amount of time it will take. He can stress and panic and rush when he isn’t ready, or He can take His time and make it perfect. The crazy person in the group (us) might want to finish his or her part so badly that mistakes are made.
See where I’m going with this? God gives us great promises and we get mad when he takes his time because it’s not fast enough for us. He gives us everything, and we remain unsatisfied because of one thing.
“Sure God, I get that I’m healthy with a good job, great friends and a wonderful family, but I’d really like a boyfriend but since that hasn’t happened I’m mad that you don’t work with me and my timing.”
This kind of thinking leads to two questions:
Why can’t I be patient with God?
Often we look at God’s timing as something to dislike, but it’s saving the lives of people everywhere. In 2 Peter 3, we learn about the Day of the Lord and how it’s the ultimate end of waiting. It’s a great reminder to live each day as if it’s the last because we never really know, but verse 9 is a slap in the face to those of us who begrudge God’s timing.
“The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9
We often misinterpret our waiting as God taking his time, but this couldn’t be more wrong. He knows what he’s doing. There’s a reason for every moment of the wait, and while we may not always see it, it’s there.
Looking at the second half, we see why he’s waiting to come back. GOD IS PATIENT WITH US. Think of every situation where you could’ve been better in the last week. Multiply that by the seven billion people on this planet. God is patient with each and every one of us, despite the fact that we’re all petulant brats who definitely only deserve condemnation.
It’s hard to wrap my brain around that. He loves us so much, despite how little we deserve it, to the point that He is waiting to return so more can be saved. He is prolonging His coming because of love.
And yet I can’t be patient because the God who gives me everything hasn’t presented my future husband yet. Check yourself, Chelsea.
Why don’t I have complete faith in His promises?
I firmly belief that my life is on a path defined by God, yet as a human with free will, I have the capability to decide how I manage on that path. Even if God knows what I will do and knows it is wrong, He lets me do it (TBH God, I wish you would exercise a little more control because I really know nothing about functioning).
Often, this manifests as me hearing God’s will and then trying to take control and make it happen sooner. I get tired of waiting and convince myself that God wants me to take action. It’s true God wants you to be active, but there’s a difference between doing what needs done and taking the reigns entirely.
Many of my mistakes relate back to hearing God’s will and then muddying it up with my inability to chill. The good news is I’m not alone.
Remember Sarah from the Bible, wife of Abraham? God promised her family so much, yet when she thought she would never conceive a child she had her husband sleep with servant and he was down. This is normal, right? Naturally, problems arose between Sarah and Hagar, the servant, who at one point ran away because she was afraid.
Later, when Sarah was past her prime at 90 years old, the Lord visited Abraham (now 100) and said this time next year she would have a son. Naturally, Sarah was eavesdropping and after hearing what the Lord said, she laughed. Laughed. Almost in God’s face. Then she asked herself “After I am worn out and my master is old, will I now have this pleasure,” which kind of sounds like I’m too old for this crap, but I’m not a Bible scholar.
Because God knows everything, he asked Abraham why his wife laughed, and of course Sarah because she’s a human tried to lie. Rookie mistake. God came back with the “Yes, you did laugh.” And that was that.
Within this passage (Genesis 18 if you think I made it up), the Lord also says “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”
Often we’re too much like Sarah. We want to trust God, but He takes a long time so we adapt and it causes bigger ripples than we anticipated. We start to think maybe it’s too much for God and we’ll be waiting forever. As time goes on, we lose faith even if we don’t realize it, because our own actions are exactly that. If we had complete faith in His promises, would we try to do it ourselves?
We have an entire book dedicated to God keeping His word, but still we hate to wait. We lose heart and think maybe it won’t happen. We use our own methods. But we always end up where God wants us, only with more heartbreak and baggage than before.
So now here’s the challenge – wait patiently. Fight every impulse to stray with truth. The Bible is seriously filled with great verses about His promises. When you’re on the edge of desperation, use His word to talk you back down. Nothing is impossible with God, and when it happens in His timing, it’s amazing. Joy in your circumstances will take you a long way.
I write this challenge because I need it. I need to trust completely. The inspiration for this came from my Women of the Old Testament Bible study and our church sermon on God the Spirit yesterday. Basically, God is telling me to shut up and wait so now that’s what I’m trying to do.