I struggle with waiting. Whether it’s waiting for the microwave to heat up my coffee, waiting for traffic to clear, or waiting for someone to text me back - I struggle with waiting. It’s something I’ve wrestled with for most of my life, and while I’ve gotten a little bit better at it in the daily frustrations of life, I know that I still have a long way to go.
I was reminded of that fact this morning, as I tried to pray through several challenging situations we’re facing right now. As I prayed, I found my mind wandering to possible ways that I could find solutions to these situations, in order to get them taken care of quickly. The problem was, I was supposed to be committing these things to God, and to His plans, and His timing. But in my desire to shorten my waiting, I was trying to do God’s work. I was trying to find quick solutions that would keep me from having to wait.
For Christians, this attitude of impatience is not a good thing, because our walk with God often requires us to wait on Him. When we don’t, the results are disastrous. Exodus Chapter 32 gives us the perfect example, as we read the story of the Israelites waiting for Moses to come down from the mountain. He had gone up to meet with God, and had been away for forty days and forty nights. During that time the people grew impatient, and seemed to forget the amazing miracles God had done for them only a short time before.
In their impatience, they demanded Aaron make them a ‘god’ to be with them. As they began to worship the golden calf, all the things God had told them to do went out the window, and sin of all kinds took over. The consequence was death for many of them. And it all happened because they could not wait.
What I find ironic in this story is that, during the time they were waiting for Moses, God was actually giving Moses clear instructions for how the Israelites were supposed to live and worship God. In other words, it was the very thing the Israelites wanted - instructions for how to meet with their God, and know His blessing and protection. But by not waiting for those instructions - and by replacing God’s plan with their own - they suffered devastating consequences.
What was true for the Israelites is true for each of us. God has a plan for our lives - but if we fail to wait on Him to unfold those plans, and if we substitute our own way of doing things, the consequences will be disastrous. So we wait. But as we wait, we continue asking God for help, and we continue to look to see what He might be doing to answer our prayers. And if He prompts us, we pursue options or ideas. However, underneath it all, we maintain an attitude of patience - of waiting for God’s good and perfect plan to unfold in our lives.
So today, let’s commit ourselves to waiting patiently for God. If there are areas where we’re waiting for Him to fulfill a promise, or to show us what the next steps for us are, let’s not look for the quick fix. Instead, let’s patiently wait for His timing. Let’s spend time in His presence, listening to Him and receiving His instructions. And as we do so, we will find that it truly is the safest place to be.