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Are you impatient? Ready to take action? Unwilling to wait? Do you know what happens when you refuse to wait on God and His timing?
I want to move, act, and take control…and God is telling me to slow down, wait, and let go.
Have you been in this place before? Are you there right now?
WAITING VS. WEIGHTING
Did you catch my wordplay there? I believe there are two basic kinds of waiting.
There is the waiting that involves checking our phone, tapping our feet, or watching the clock. This kind of waiting happens at the doctor’s office, in a line at the grocery store, or stuck in rush hour traffic. While we encounter these states of expectant readiness as part of our everyday lives, some of us handle it better than others!
But there is another waiting, isn’t there? I call it weighting because it is heavy, burdensome, and exhausting.
- Maybe you are depressed and waiting to find joy and purpose.
- Maybe you are without a job and are waiting to find work.
- Maybe you are sick and waiting for your health to improve.
- Maybe you are a woman who wants a family and is waiting to get pregnant.
- Maybe you are single and waiting to find your soul mate.
- Maybe you are a parent of a prodigal waiting for him to come home.
- Maybe you are starting a new venture and waiting for the right doors to open.
Why is waiting so hard to do? Why do we resist it with every fiber of our bodies, minds, and souls?
Why does God tell us to wait? That it is good for us to wait?
And what can happen when we refuse to wait on God?
WHY WAITING IS HARD
The simple answer to why waiting is so difficult is that the heart wants what it wants and wants it now. Am I right?
We do not want to delay pleasure, struggle or suffer, or put in the extra time or effort.
How many of us find it hard to deal with the inconvenience of charging our phones or waiting for an internet connection? We can lose it completely over the smallest interruptions to our schedules and plans.
So it should come as no surprise that when waiting takes hours, days, even years, we lose hope, strength, and faith.
Like Sarah from the Old Testament, we take matters into our own hands and try to manipulate outcomes that align with our desires. Instead of waiting on God, we rush in and try to control the situation.
WHY GOD CALLS US TO WAIT
Throughout the Bible, we are called to “wait on the Lord.” Even though God promises to bless us for waiting, we have a hard time grasping this truth.
The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. Lamentations 3:25-26 (ESV)
While waiting, God expects us to seek him, cry out to him, and put our trust in him. The Psalms are full of examples of David waiting on the Lord in anguish and pain. The type of weighting depicted here is not pretty or easy but allows God to intervene on our behalf. While we wait, He provides protection and showers us with mercy and love.
Here is just a portion of Psalm 40:1-3 (ESV). Find time this week to read the whole chapter.
I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
and put their trust in him.
God also asks us to wait on Him to gain strength and courage; to allow Him to rescue and deliver us.
Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! Psalm 27:14 (ESV)
…But 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 (ESV)
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE REFUSE TO WAIT
Even though we read those verses and even mentally agree that waiting on God can be a good thing, most of us find it hard to put it into practice.
There are consequences to refusing to wait. When we refuse to wait, we miss out on three things God wants to give us: provision, patience, and peace.
1) WE MISS GOD’S PROVISION
When we refuse to wait on God, we are settling for the here and immediate now. We step in and try to take over for God believing that our “doing” accomplishes more than He can while we wait. How arrogant of us to think that anything we do on our own could ever compare to the blessings He has for us just up ahead if we patiently wait on Him. He wants to provide more than we can even hope for imagine if we can just wait on his timing. “He has made everything beautiful in its time. . .” Ecclesiastes 3:11
2) WE MISS THE OPPORTUNITY TO DEVELOP PATIENCE
The only way to actually develop patience is to practice waiting. I know you don’t want to hear that because neither do I! Paul reminds us in Romans 5:3-4 that, “...troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience, in turn, forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next.”
3) WE MISS EXPERIENCING PEACE
God is always good and knows what is best for us. Do we trust him? When we get anxious and worry because we think he is not moving fast enough to fix our problems, we miss out on the peace his graciously grants while he provides and protects.
So if you are impatient and restless, take a moment to pause and reflect on these wise words from C.S. Lewis:
“I am sure that God keeps no one unless he sees that it is good for him to wait.”
When we refuse to wait on His timing, we miss out on His provision, patience, and peace. God is good to those who wait!
Carla Gasser has been speaking, teaching and writing for over ten years. She blogs weekly at her website, AT THE CROSSROADS, writes for online magazines, contributes to several inspirational blogs, and is the author of several short devotionals.