“Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for Him to act.” Psalm 37:4 (NIV)
Waiting is not my strong suit. We live in a microwave culture that fosters our impatience with waiting. Have you ever prayed, “Lord, give me patience, but hurry up.”? The truth is, God is never in a hurry, yet He’s never late. This is the mystery of God’s timing. Sometimes He moves suddenly, but more often than not, I’ve discovered His timing is never on the same schedule as mine.
Abraham waited 25 years from the time God promised him a son until Isaac was born. Moses waited 40 years before God would use him to deliver the children of Israel out of Egypt. David waited over ten years from the time he was anointed by Samuel to be the next King of Israel and then another seven and a half years before his reign included all the tribes of Israel.
It’s easy to interpret “not now” as “no” when you are seeking God’s guidance. So, what’s the point? Why the waiting period? Here’s at least part of the mystery of His timing that I’ve discovered – Most of the time that we are waiting on God, God is really waiting on us. He is waiting for us to grow in our character as He prepares us for the next assignment. When you think about your waiting period like that, what do you think God is trying to develop in your character? This gives value to waiting. Don’t waste your time in the waiting room. The Psalmist challenges us to be still in God’s presence. The important thing is knowing Him, not knowing the answer. God has a plan and a path for you. He uses the waiting period to prepare us and to protect us.
Abraham and Moses both got into trouble when they jumped the gun and tried to help God out. They acted independently of God and had to learn the hard way to do what the psalmist said, “… wait patiently for Him (God) to act.” It’s human nature to want to take the bull by the horns. Resist the urge and wait on God’s timing. It’s interesting to see how even Noah waited on God’s timing in the ark after the flood. The story in Genesis tells us that the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat on the seventeenth day of the seventh month, yet Noah waited another five months before he and his family left the ark. I think I would have wanted to exit that smelly ship as soon as I could. But God was protecting Noah and his family and preparing them for their calling to start the human race over again.
If you’re waiting on God, be encouraged that God is at work in your life preparing you for His purpose. Let Him complete the process by being still in His presence and pressing in to a deeper and more intimate relationship with Him. Stay connected with God daily in prayer and worship. Before you know it, He will act. Then, like Noah, walk through God’s open door to a whole new world.