We live in such a microwave generation, where everything and anything can be pretty much accessed whenever and wherever we want. If you need the answer for something, research doesn’t even take that long anymore, just type it in google and bam… there’s your answer. Better yet, if you’re feeling lazy and can’t be bothered to type, just ask Siri.
If we need a taxi, download uber and within minutes your taxi is right outside. If you can’t be bothered to cook food for yourself or from the family, you simply order food from Uber eats, just eat, Deliveroo and just like that… your food is outside. Last resort, you get a ready meal from Asda, put it in the microwave and just like that…. Dinner is served.
Now the issue with living in just a microwave and instant gratification generation is that when it comes to spiritual matters, God does not work like that. He is a God that works according to timing and seasons. One of my favourite verses in the Bible, Ecclesiastes 3:1 says “There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth”.
In an “I get everything I want now” generation, we often get frustrated when this doesn’t translate to spiritual matters. We then realise that God’s timing sometimes means we have to wait. We have go through THE WAITING PERIOD.
Often, we get frustrated, impatient and annoyed with God during the waiting period because things aren’t occurring as fast as we would like or they just aren’t occurring at all. We want everything done quickly, and to a certain extent we can’t be blamed because society is constantly coming up with new innovations to meet our demands and encourage our impatience.
This is our dilemma. What we need to realise is that God works on a very different timetable. He actually relishes the waiting period. It’s part of the tools He uses to develop and train people. The bible is full of examples of people having to wait on God for the manifestation of his promise.
One thing that we have one as a generation is we have traded God’s timing for our deadline. We want God to move in our time-frame, and I hate to break it to you but God will rarely do things according to your time-frame. I get this can be discouraging because I have been there. One of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn is learning to wait on God.
So, in today’s article we’re going to explore two major themes when it comes to waiting:
- Why does God make us wait?
- What to do whilst you’re waiting.
WHY DOES GOD MAKE US WAIT?
God prepares people in a slow cooker not a microwave. Anyone that God desires to use is going to have to go through the waiting period. God doesn’t produce half-baked people.
More important than the goal, is the work God does whilst waiting. The tests of time determine whether we can endure the seasons of seemingly unfruitful prep and also indicate whether we can recognize & seize the opportunities that come our wait.
God took 80 years to ready Moses for the task of guiding God’s new generation (Israelites) out of Egypt. Noah had to wait 120 years before the rain fell, Abraham had to wait 25 years before he got the promised son – Isaac, Joseph had to wait 14 years in the prison before he became prime minister. David had to wait 17 years between his anointing as king and him officially assuming the reins of power. Jesus had to wait 30 years before He started the most impactful ministry of all time.
Now seeing as you can’t escape the waiting season, one of the best things you can do is to understand why you have to go through this season to ensure that you pass the tests in this season and move to the next stage. Here are just a couple of reasons why God makes us wait:
Waiting reveals our true intentions.
Waiting has a way of bringing out the best and the worst in people. People who don’t have good intentions will not wait for long because they aren’t willing to put in the work and commitment it requires to see something through to the end.
Their main interest is what they can gain in the short- term, fleeting success and fame. Majority of us do have pure motives but a lot of want we want to accomplish is to be on a platform, under the spotlights and make a name for ourselves.
Waiting bears the fruit of patience.
If you can have patience in waiting for the small things, you’ll know how to be patient in waiting for the bigger things. If you are too impatient for god to do a small thing, you certainly won’t be able to wait on him for the bigger things. This requires a change in perspective that can only be done in the waiting period. We have tendency to think the bigger things are about material things and accumulating wealth but god is more interested in influence and changing people.
Waiting builds expectation.
As human beings, we tend to appreciate things the longer we wait for them. Have you ever seen a couple that have been told they can’t have children, undergone several IVF treatments and then after 13 years of waiting, God answers their cry and gives them a child? The way they care for that child is different. You might say they’re doing the most but only they knew how long they had to wait before they got this gift.
Sometimes, God allows you to wait so long, so when he does bless you, you’ll cherish, take care and treasure it more than others might.
Waiting transforms our character.
God uses the waiting period to refine and prove our character. He uses the waiting period to deepen and mature us, to level our perspective and broaden our understanding. Case study: Moses. The beginning of Exodus shows Moses as a young impatient man with anger issues (to put it bluntly). In his impulsiveness, he killed an Egyptian and hid his body, ran for his life when he caught found out and exiled to the desert. In the desert God gave him another chance to do things God’s way and in his own time. His ending – He becomes an amazing leader who helped deliver the Israelites from slavery.
Waiting builds intimacy and reliance on God.
Everyone who was ever described as great in the Bible were given this title because of one commonality; they all learned that their success in life was directly proportionate to their dependency and intimacy with God. To them, a relationship with God wasn’t a short-term goal, it was a matter of life and death.
Case study: Elijah. Before Elijah was able to call down fire and hold rain, he spent 3 years in isolation at Cherith Brook, where He was fed by ravens because God was teaching him to be utterly and totally dependent on him. The waiting period during difficult times developed their relationship with God, they went through the difficulties of life with God. They enjoyed the process and the promises of God.
WHAT TO DO WHILST YOU’RE WAITING?
One major key during the waiting period is not only enduring the wait itself but what is your posture whilst you are waiting? Are you waiting begrudgingly? Are you waiting impatiently? Or are you watching, waiting and praying? Are you still serving whilst you wait? Are you still diligent in the things of God whilst you wait?
The waiting period can be even more waiting when you’re passive. God makes us to understand that waiting is not a passive activity in which we do nothing, in fact it’s quite the opposite. The Word teaches us that God wants us to actively participate in the work He wishes to do. If you can wait strategically, it will be more fruitful for you.
So here are a couple of things to do whilst you’re waiting:
- Watch with anticipation but be ready for unexpected answers.
- Trust in the Lord with all your heart, not in your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5-6
- Be strong and take courage Psalms 31:24
- Put your hope in the Word of God, the promises He has given you. Psalm 130:5-6
- Wait for God’s promises instead of trying to help God and doing it your way. Acts 1:4
- Continue to be steadfast in prayer and be watchful with thanksgiving Colossians 4:2
- Be still, refrain from anger, resist worrying (worrying gives you something to do but it doesn’t get you anywhere) and choose patience. Psalms 37:7-8
We may not always like the fact that we have to wait or understand fully, but the good thing is that GOD NEVER ASKS US TO WAIT WITHOUT HIM.