Waiting on God can be difficult. In a world where desires can be attained almost instantly, the idea of waiting can appear archaic. Yet, in the scriptures, the command to wait on the Lord can be seen repeatedly. Coupled with the command to wait on God is the implicit command to also trust in Him. The difficulty to wait arises when the situation that you are in doesn’t appear to be getting better, in fact, it gets worse. How do you respond? Do you attempt to take hold of the situation, or do you believe that God is at work even when all seems still?
Oh, Ye Of Little Faith
Imagine going to the GP several times with an illness. Each time you go you mention the various symptoms that you display. Your doctor receives this information and instead of delivering a diagnosis that considers all the symptoms, they only focus on one. Would you expect to recover? This is how we can often approach the sin of impatience. When we decide that waiting on God is no longer worth it, we try to co-opt God’s plan and implement our own. This plan ultimately fails, and we are back to square one. If we have enough self-awareness, we realise that the reason we struggle to wait on God is that we are impatient. But is that a diagnosis that considers all the symptoms? What if our ultimate problem isn’t impatience, but unbelief? What if the reason why we don’t wait on God’s timing is that we don’t believe that God will come through on His promises (Numbers 23:19). And perhaps we don’t believe that God will come through on His promises because we don’t believe what the bible says about God’s character (Isaiah 25:1, 2 Timothy 2:13, Lamentations 3:23, Exodus 34:6-7). You see, impatience isn’t our biggest problem. It’s a symptom of a larger issue, we simply don’t believe God.
Help My Unbelief
If unbelief is the root of our impatience then the antidote is remembrance. When unbelief seeks to rear its ugly head in the form of impatience, we need to remember God’s past faithfulness. Remembering God’s past faithfulness will be the anchor to your boat when the storms of your situation seek to derail. In Psalm 103, this hymn of praise begins like this “My soul, bless the LORD,
and all that is within me, bless his holy name. My soul, bless the LORD, and do not forget all his benefits”. This psalm then speaks to the ways in which God keeps his people both individually and communally. The Israelites often forgot about God’s faithfulness during the wilderness, and this psalm is a reminder of how God dealt with them – with lovingkindness and mercy (Psalm 103:8). We can sometimes feel like the Israelites. Did God bring us out of bondage with signs and wonders, just to abandon us in the wilderness? Look back over your life, has God ever let you down? When God seems as silent as the gap between Malachi and Matthew, we can often forget God’s track record. But remember, silence doesn’t mean inactivity. God makes all things beautiful in His time, not yours (Ecclesiastes 3:11). When your faith is low, you can cry out like the father of the son with an unclean spirit “I believe, help my unbelief” (Mark 9:23). God will respond with stand still and see how I save you (Exodus 14-13-14).