Does anyone really like to wait? We live in the fastest paced society that the world has ever seen. Our world is full of consumers who own things they don’t even have the money to afford. By the time you get something you want it is already out of date. Computers sit on the shelf “new” but are already far behind the ones that are being produced. Waiting does not come naturally to us.
Yet when we look at scripture we find people who waited. Scripture talks about “those that wait upon the Lord” getting renewed strength (Isa 40:31). Our culture tells us that to be strong means you don’t have to wait on anyone or anything. However one of the prime examples of waiting in scripture was Moses who is thought to be one of the greatest men in all the pages of the Bible. Imagine waiting all those years in the wilderness wondering what God’s purpose was for his life and finally finding it at the burning bush in an encounter with “I am.” It must have been excruciatingly difficult to then walk in the desert 40 years with a people who would never see the promised land and then to one day yourself be excluded from the promise. Still Moses waited.
Waiting involves trust. Waiting involves relying on someone greater than ourselves. You know how it is when you go into the office of the doctor or some executive and they know they can make you wait because you have to see them? We wait on those who have power and can do what we are helpless to do. Waiting builds our faith. It teaches us that there are things in life we cannot do on our own and we have to wait and see what God is going to do. Waiting teaches us patience and it teaches us that the world does not revolve around us. Waiting is just plain humbling. We get frustrated if our internet connection is down for a couple of days and we can’t check our email – imagine waiting on God for 40 years! Try that on for size.
In this world of “instant everything” maybe we should force ourselves into more times of waiting. Waiting for our next meal to empathize with those who have no choice but to wait for their next meal. Waiting for a trip to the store as there are those who cannot afford the store and don’t have a way to get their anyway. Waiting on those who would normally wait on us – waiting does teach us humility. I think there are just some things in life you can only learn by waiting. Unfortunately for many of us those are lessons that will just be left unlearned as we buy into our consumer driven society. But God has bigger things in store for us if we let him!
This week try to wait on something or someone you know you really don’t have to wait on. See what lessons God has to teach you about waiting. Or maybe challenge yourself for more than a week – take a TV fast for a month. See if the quality of your life changes. I know one person who fasted from shopping for clothes for one year! I bet those Israelites didn’t find any stores in the desert. They waited for a better place and in the mean time God didn’t allow their clothes or shoes to wear out (Deut 8:3-4,15-16). Wait a while and see what God has in store for you.