I hate waiting. I’ve observed others hate it too. I recently encountered people waiting for:
- An injury to heal
- A traffic light to change
- An appliance to be fixed
- The right time to announce an engagement
- The right person to fill a job
- Acceptance to Bible College to move them closer to becoming overseas missionaries
- Money to build a needed church building
- A child to adopt
- A wayward family member to return
- A hard heart to soften
Time waiting feels like time wasted—or, at the very least, less than God’s best. We feel like our lives are on hold while we wait.
Waiting brings sighs, foot tapping, and, in some cases, panic. If we’re not careful, we do and say things we later regret. Who can forget Sarah offering Abraham her servant Hagar as a concubine (Genesis 16)? Our preoccupation with what hasn’t happened causes us to miss what is happening. Yet, God’s plans often include waiting periods.
Because “patience” isn’t my strength, a story in I Samuel 13 jarred me. The Philistine army, with soldiers as numerous as the sand, gathered forces against Israel. The prophet Samuel told King Saul he’d come in seven days to make offerings to the Lord before the battle.
Day seven dawns and still no Samuel. King Saul sees his own soldiers scattering while the enemy is gathering.
What would you do?
Saul felt “compelled” to make offerings himself. As he finishes, Samuel arrives.
Listen to Samuel’s rebuke. “How foolish!” Samuel exclaimed. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you. Had you kept it, the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom must end, for the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart. The Lord has already appointed him to be the leader of his people because you have not kept the Lord’s command” (I Samuel 13:13-14).
Whoa! This wasn’t a time pressure problem. Saul’s actions revealed a heart problem. Saul’s heart focused on how to win the battle. His goal wasn’t bad until it trampled a desire to know and follow God at all cost.
Goals provide focus. But we need to submit them to God and accomplish them in His power and timing.
What are you waiting on? How could faith help you wait?
“Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion, a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation: ‘Whoever believes will not be in haste’” (Isaiah 28:16 ESV).