You know the saying, "patience is a virtue"? It always seems to be uttered by a snarky friend when patience is the very last thing you possess and that phrase is the very last thing you want to hear. Or is that just me?
We as humans are absolutely allergic to waiting. We're promised something and we have to have right then and there. We're all about instant gratification. When we can't have it when we want it, we take it. And that's when things go poorly.
Let's look at an example from one of the most Godly men in the Bible, Abraham.
In Genesis 15, God promises Abram (Abraham) a great nation. One problem though, Abram and his wife Sarai are old and have no children.
"And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.”
Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir."
God specifically promises Abram that he will give him a great nation, through his own body. A chapter later, we don't know exactly how much time as passed, maybe 5 days maybe 5 years, Sarai and Abram get tired of waiting.
"Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; so she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.”
Abram agreed to what Sarai said."
The God of the universe, who performed a mighty miracle before Abram, told him he would have children through his wife. Yet, "Abram agreed to what Sarai said." Abram was tired of waiting, he got impatience, he got desperate. And agreed with his wife, forgetting what God had done.
How could they forget God's promise so quickly? How could they be so impatient? How could they rely on their own understanding over God's?
Why do I relate so well with them? Why do I see so much of myself in them?
One of my favorite attributes of God is His faithfulness and patience. Probably because those are two attributes I don't see much of in myself. God knows us, He knows what's in our hearts and loves us anyway. He knows we're impatient. He knows if we can take an immediate action instead of waiting, we will.
God's word addresses this specifically.
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths."
When we have to wait, we default to trusting in our own logic. We think God's inaction is a sign that we need to do something. We think we know better than God. How arrogant is that?
God has a purpose for our waiting. Sometimes we wait to strengthen us or prepare us for what's coming down the road.
"They who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."
A wise woman once told me, "God never wastes an experience." God uses our times of waiting to draw us closer and to prepare us.
I have seen this in my own life. Four months after moving to Akron with my husband, I got a job at a restaurant. I pictured myself there for six months tops. It was a filler until I could my hot-shot, big girl, journalism job. Two and half years later, I'm still at that restaurant.
In those two and half years, I have battled anger and resentment toward God. Why did He have me go into debt to get my degrees? Why did He give me a gift for writing if it was just going to be set aside to wait tables?
I have placed countless applications and sat through many failed interviews. I have broken my own heart, relying on my own judgment in applying for other jobs. Learning I wasn't qualified and far too inexperienced for my dream job.
Relying on my own understanding, being impatient, had gotten me nothing but disappointment and heartbreak. I have been hurt and horribly confused, and through it all, God shows me that's not what I wanted to do with my life. What now?
In a few hours, I will be getting ready for work, putting on my chef's coat, but I have a new attitude. God has used this job in ways I never could have expected. I had prayed while job searching for a full time job, flexible hours, benefits and good bosses. Two years after getting this job, God used it to meet all those "requirements".
Not only that, God used this job to change my heart. I have gotten to know the teenagers I work with. I have the opportunity to teach and train them. God has used it to show me what He has called me to do. He has led me to pursue steps to teach high school social studies (degree no longer wasted!). This job is flexible enough that I can take full time classes to get my licensure and masters degree in education.
God has been so faithful and patience with me in my wandering. His goodness knows no bounds.
I have lived Lamentations 3:25: "The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him." He is not only good, He is merciful. My unfaithfulness and self-reliance hasn't kept God from blessing me.
I don't know what God has in store for me, or for you, but I know I can trust Him and His goodness.
During this time of waiting, will you join with me in praying Micah 7:7?
"But as for me, I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me."
See You In The Round,