Myriad forces hinder our waiting. In our everyday lives, we are accustomed to getting things quickly—we have running water, microwaves, instant access to information, etc. And, in our inner worlds, we are also similarly expectant. If we work hard enough, we believe we can achieve our dreams. In a way, we sometimes are convinced we deserve to get things easily because we have lived with these conveniences and seen such successes in our lives.
Then, we face something that is not easily accessible or that we cannot work into fulfillment. We begin to realize that life does not always work out in the ways we envision, even when we try hard. Sometimes, we do get what we want quickly, but often, He gives us what we need…slowly.
And, it is the slowly that really hurts. It hurts because we often want what we want at whatever cost, even if it costs us His leading and covering.
To wait means to surrender, and surrendering is an achingly difficult business. The relinquishing of our plans and our pride is akin to losing a limb. It is life-altering. When we lay ourselves down in this way, we are forever marked.
The struggle began, just like almost everything, in the Garden. Eve had a trust problem first. She did not believe God’s plans were truly good for her. So, she decided not to wait on God but manufacture good on her own. She, so often like us, did not like the slow of God’s holy work in her life. I am just like Eve too often.
This past year, I had a situation happen in which I wanted to share a perspective with someone about a sensitive cultural situation. I felt the need to do it, and I did it, but I had not waited. I had not prayed enough before I moved—I just went.
My husband often humorously calls me a “rhino” because I get this fierce focus and just will plow anything (and sadly sometimes anyone) down that gets in my way. This dogged quality can be a blessing when operating under the Spirit’s direction. He made me with a spirit that does not stop or give up, but it is His to use, not mine. When I use it in my power, it can become a battering ram that leaves hurt in its wake. The “rhino” in me struggles mightily to wait for wisdom, wait for prayer, wait for Him.
So, when this situation happened, I had to circle back, apologize, and humble myself before God and the person because I had not waited. The issue I brought up respectfully is not one I regret or would take back, but I should have waited and had Him direct me in the right timing of it.
In the slowing and surrendering, even in my sin, He began to work. I had allowed Him the sacred space of leading my life. My goal, though, is to do that more on the front end of situations and not the back end. I want to walk with Him humbly, slowly, quietly, while listening intently, so that I know when it is I need to stand meekly and when to be quiet.
As I look in Scripture, I see the discipline of waiting woven throughout the Old and the New Testaments. The Psalmist often encourages his listeners to wait on the Lord—the word “wait” is mentioned 23 times in the Psalms. And, Isaiah wrote of it often. Listen to Isaiah in the 64th chapter, verse 4, “Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides You, who acts on behalf of those who wait for Him.” And, in the New Testament, we are “waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ…” (Titus 2:13)
The posture of waiting is written all over His pages, but it is a mold into which we often must be poured, for we do not take its shape easily. God is eager to meet us in our waiting, but the rub is to wait first so that we can be met!
So, in this fast, accessible world we live in, may we stop, listen, beseech, submit…wait. I humbly invite you and myself to increase the rhythm of waiting in our souls, for “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.” (Isaiah 40:31)