Waiting. Perhaps the simplest and most difficult action we’re commanded is waiting. I don’t know if anything epitomizes our sin nature more than our natural response to waiting. We’re naturally prone to not wait. To not want to wait. To not seek to wait. More often than not, we believe or live as though we believe otherwise. Think of the times you’ve exclaimed, “I cannot wait!” in reference to an upcoming event or for somewhere you want to go or for something you want to do or for someone you want to see. But in the end, you waited, though you thought you could not.
Most of us have heard or been told at one time or another, Don’t just stand there, do something! But that’s not really walking in faith, is it? I think that waiting is often the greatest demand in walking in faith.
So much of the time, our experiences define our action in or our reaction to life’s situations instead of Scriptural truths defining our actions and reactions or instead of faith defining our actions or reactions in and to life’s situations. I find this is true more often than I would like to think by this stage in my life. I’d like to think I’d be “further along” by now—I surely thought this would be so, anyway. But, no. I’m still often like my little girl self who could not wait for an event or an accomplishment or a certain age. Even though all those things I couldn’t wait for have come to pass — and were, for the most part, very different than what I thought I couldn’t wait for. And, thankfully so.
Why then, are we instructed to wait? Why were the children of Israel instructed to wait? Why do we teach our children, over and over again, to wait? I think it’s bcz we and they would not choose what’s best, would not seek the Lord’s will, would not obey His directions were it not for the instruction and education that waiting provides. We’d not choose some of the methods He would use for our good and His glory–but in the end, they’re exactly what we’d choose had we all the facts in the beginning. This is the grace and mercy of God.
Some nineteen years ago, within a very short period of time, we needed to find a new place to live and thus began our search in earnest. We drove all over the place, searching, looking, hunting for the perfect home. And indeed, we thought we’d found it. But early one morning later that week, we were awakened by the Lord and impressed that it wasn’t the right home for us and we quickly ended the negotiation process. It was a Friday morning. We determined to wait — to wait on the Lord through the weekend and not do a thing about our eminent need. We prayed—and we knew the Lord had heard our prayer. We determined to wait on Him.
Monday came and through the course of the day, we looked for a home with an address we’d been given. We never found it and, in a bit of sinking despair, we were headed back to our house. On the way, I noticed an inconspicuous sign on a post, For Sale by Owner. I called the number, heard all the details about the home and even though we could not meet the criteria, I went along with our children and saw the home. It was just right. And within days, it was confirmed to us that it was just right.
Can God provide a table in the wilderness? Does He command us to stand still and wait and see what He will do? Yes, and yes. It’s not because it’s been my experience that this is true, though it is, it’s true because God commanded it to be so that it’s true. He hears us when we pray. He answers in His timing according to His plans and purposes. When we think He hasn’t answered, we think He hasn’t heard us. But that is not true—He hears because He is God, He knows all things, sees all things, hears all things. We so often rest on our experiences to prove God instead of resting on His promises to prove Himself. This, we know by faith, this we learn in waiting on Him. Waiting for Him.
As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord,
so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him,
and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught,
abounding therein with thanksgiving.”