Many of us don’t enjoy waiting, especially when we’re so accustomed to the faster-is-better lifestyle here in America. In fact, I never realized just how hurried I was until I visited South Africa during a recent mission trip. Although, much of the country is modernized with such things as wifi and fine dining, I found the culture to be much slower-paced. For example, I would wake each morning eager to enjoy the incredible coffee one particular restaurant served. However, whenever I placed my order, it seemed to take forever before I actually received it – especially, when I was in a “hurry” to get to our particular destination for that day.
Yet, after about a week, I discovered I was no longer bothered by the wait. In fact, I even stopped looking at my watch on a constant basis – I was detoxing from living rushed and learning how to wait in peace.
Interestingly, I have found my walk with Christ to be very similar, and even though I still struggle with patience at times, I wanted to share three principles that can help us embrace the peace God provides during those times He seemingly keeps us waiting:
Dependence: A great example of exercising effective waiting skills comes from the life of Joseph. Not only was he sold into slavery by his brothers, but he was also falsely accused of attempted rape by his boss’ wife and thrown into prison – and yet, during this entire time, his patient trust in God never seemed to waiver. Instead, he later proclaimed that God intended it all for good (Genesis 50:20). Thus, no matter how bad our circumstances may appear, when we are completely dependent and trusting God, we can commit to doing our best wherever He has placed us and trust His best to unfold in His perfect timing.
Desire: If what we desire most is based upon how much joy and feelings of happiness we receive from it, we dilute our effectiveness for the Kingdom and our ability to wait for God’s best. However, as we know from the life of Paul, who declared his primary desire was to bring glory to God (Acts 20:24), we too can become powerful instruments for the Kingdom when we position ourselves to be used by Him no matter the cost to our time and/or treasures – and who wouldn’t “desire” to be honored with such a legacy as that?
Direction: The impact of our life is directly determined by our ability to wait on God’s timing and follow His direction for our life. As we learn from both Moses and Abraham, they left cozy comforts to follow God and lead others in the direction He provided (Hebrews 11:8). Even though they faced hard times, set backs and distractions, in the end, they trusted in His plan and purpose for their lives over their own. Thankfully, God still leads His people today, just as He led Moses and Abraham, but are we patient and wise enough to head His call in our own lives?
Application: “In God We Trust” – John 11:6
In many ways, patience serves as a wonderful test and testimony to our faith. For in order to wait effectively, we must actively seek God’s direction, desire His purposes over all others and trust in His perfect timing, not our own. Thus, waiting is an active process, never passive and when exercised and applied, it will grow stronger, along with our faith.