It seems to me, other than personal suffering, waiting stretches one’s faith the most. I don’t enjoy inconvenience and long-suffering isn’t my cup of tea. Am I the only one who stands in front of microwaves counting down seconds? C’mon. Confess (you know who you are). What about traffic lights? I love speeding through the yellow ones. It’s as if I’ve accomplished a great feat, competing if you will, in ‘out-running’ the caution light. Yay, I won! Okay, I’m exaggerating but you get the picture.
No wonder the Latin word for patience means ‘suffering’. It’s painful standing by, watching the world spin around while moving in slow motion. One side effect of waiting reveals ‘not in control’ of the situation. Right. I’ve got a lot to learn in this area. Seriously though, because of Abraham and Sarah’s inability to wait for God’s timing, we’re warring in the Middle East today. You know the story. God promised Abraham would become a great nation and Father to uncountable descendants. Sarah, barren and seemingly without hope, suggested Abraham acquire a son through her Egyptian handmaiden Hagar (Genesis 16:2).
On the other hand, before judging our ancestors too harshly, we do the same thing. On many occasions we hear God’s directions, yet follow our own. Perhaps discouragement creeps in and the enemy fills our mind with fearful doubts. Isn’t that basically what happened in the Garden of Eden? Satan’s tactic proved seductive hinting that ‘God’s holding out on you’. Well, Eve reasoned, it’s good for food, pleasant to the eyes, and believed it would make her wise as God. Oh, if she had simply waited and consulted God or her husband—but you know the rest.
Although forbearance can be one of the more difficult stages in a Christian’s life, it’s not wasted time. God gives instruction through periods of actively waiting. When we do things our way in our own hurried time, we end up defeated. Moreover, waiting upon the Lord brings peace and victory every time; like, avoiding an accident when running a yellow light.
“But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31 NLT).