No one likes to wait. At least, I don’t. We want instant access through instant messaging and Instagram. We expect immediate results from our search engine – at least 763,000,000 results in 0.34 seconds. We live in a world of fast food, fast lanes, and faster downloads through our wireless network. It’s not complicated – even kids agree that now is better.
Waiting is not just old school – it’s outdated and out of touch. Waiting is not pragmatically or politically correct. So when forced to wait, we get frustrated, anxious, and weary. We get irritated by traffic jams. We get annoyed by someone who has more than 15 items in a grocery store express lane. We are impatient when we have to wait for the plumber to show up. We become worried when we are waiting for a tow truck. We become anxious when we have to wait for test results. We don’t like to wait because it indicates that life is out of control and, more importantly, we’re not in control.
During times of waiting, especially for important matters close to the heart – or the bank account – we may think, “The LORD has abandoned me; He has forgotten me!” (Isaiah 40:14) During times of difficult waiting we might complain to Him, “Are You ignoring me. Do You care what happens to me?” We cry out, “Hurry up, God!” But, God is not like us.* He is never in a hurry.
The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and rich in faithful love. (Exodus 34:6; Nehemiah 9:17; Psalm 86:15, 103:8, 145:8; Joel 2:13, Jonah 4:2)
God explains to us that there are benefits of slowing down and waiting on Him – especially when it causes us to experience His faithful love and fully depend upon Him.
“The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him. It is good to wait quietly for deliverance from the LORD.” (Lamentations 3:25-26)
We’re encouraged when we consider how God used significant times of waiting in the lives of His people. Abraham waited 24 years for God to fulfill His promise of a son. Jacob waited 14 years to marry Rachel. Joseph waited through 20 years of slavery, unjust accusations, and imprisonment for God to make his prophetic dreams come true. The Israelites wandered and waited in the Wilderness for 40 years before they entered the Promised Land. David, anointed by Samuel to succeed Saul years before his reign, had to wait to be king. Daniel and other Israelites were exiled to Babylon for 70 years before they could return. The Old Testament prophets frequently lamented, “How long, O Lord…” The Israelites weathered the silence of God for 400 years between Malachi’s prophecy of God sending Elijah and it’s fulfillment in the coming of John the Baptist to announce the Messiah.
The prophet Isaiah assures us, “God never grows tired or weary; there is no limit to His understanding.” (Isaiah 40:28) He is eternal, not limited to the present, as we are. He does not grow tired, because He is omnipotent. He is inscrutable, because He is omniscient. He is unlimited by time, space, power, and understanding. “He gives strength to the worn-out and lifts up the worn-down.” (Isaiah 40:28) God is not too great to care. He is too great not to care.
For those who wait in the Lord…
He will renew their strength;
they will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary;
they will walk and not faint. – Isaiah 40:31
Circumstances may wear down even the strongest of people either through the hurry of or the hardness of life. Yet, those who continually rest, trust, and wait for God, His control, and His timing will receive renewed and different, divine strength. The Hebrew verb translated “renew” suggests an exchange of strength – our inadequate strength for His unlimited strength.
God uses crock pot experiences of life more than microwavable moments to move us from self-sufficiency to divine dependency. If we tap the brakes to take a closer look at what God has to say, we discover that God has invaluable purposes in waiting. He never wastes a good, long wait.
If we slow down long enough to listen, we hear Him whisper words of life into our lives. When we have to wait, it’s good. When we wait in the LORD, it’s even better.
Even now, “we wait for the blessed hope and the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ who gave Himself for us to redeem us…and cleanse for Himself a special people, eager to do good works.” (Titus 2:13-14).
So, I’m learning to wait on God – and enjoy the time with Him – because He is not in a hurry. He is good to those who wait.