My children, when they were little, often demonstrated a mastery of articulating what I have found myself thinking or feeling when words would fail me.
When having to navigate my way through the midst of difficult or trying times, I have sometimes been tempted, deep down in the recesses of my heart, to be somewhat less than spiritual and would get dangerously close to becoming bent out of shape about my circumstances.
There have been moments when it has seemed to me that there were simply no words that could describe the emotions swirling around inside of me. But then there have also been moments when I have been astounded with how well one of my children would sum up what I was prone to overly-complicate in my own thinking — muddling, as it were — what was really a very simple truth or fact.
My youngest son, for example, once encapsulated in six words the very issue that tends to weaken and wear down most of us at some season of our lives or maybe even many seasons of our lives. In a moment of brilliant imagery, he left me feeling a bit stupefied by the succinct way he captured my tendency for frustration when God doesn’t answer my prayers on MY time table.
One afternoon, when feeling a bit impatient for his supper, he asked my wife when it would be time to eat. “A couple of minutes, honey,” was the reply. He gasped and with a distraught look of horror, clasped his face and moaned, “Oh, Mom! For me minutes seem like years!” Of course, it really was a matter of only a few minutes, but for a 6-year-old, minutes do indeed seem like years.
I’m convinced that this really is a problem for all of us, whether we’re 6 years old or 96. There are times when we simply can’t understand why we must wait and why the Lord doesn’t just do something quick. We drum our spiritual fingers and our souls sigh with impatience as we wonder what in the world could be taking God so long. On the one hand, we talk about “waiting on the Lord,” while on the other we are perhaps busily rationalizing our impatience with soothing excuses for doubting God.
“Well, I was in a tight spot and just HAD to do something,” “Oh, God doesn’t hear me and so I just gave up,” and “But everyone else was doing something and I thought I ought to do what they were doing.”
We have a knack for trying to run God’s blessing for our lives on a stopwatch. But whatever we may expect for the Lord’s timing for us, we must simply remember to “… not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Peter 3:8 ESV).
What you now do with this truth will have tremendous impact on whether or not you’ll really see God’s power at work in your life. Whether it takes God 10 minutes or 10 years, your holding fast to an unswerving confidence in Him will dictate to you the measure of how much you’ll experience His workings in your life.
“Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him, and He will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for Him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices” (Psalm 37:5-7 ESV).
What appear to be delays in God’s answers for your life are in fact seasons of preparation and building that take place out of sight so that the Lord’s blessings might be realized more fully than you had ever hoped. Not only that, but what may often appear to be as a lull in divine activity very often turns out to be a season of grace, as God throws open windows of opportunity for people to turn from self-will and sin and turn instead to the forgiveness and cleansing that only faith in Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection offers us.
“The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9 ESV).
Are you waiting expectantly on God? Are you facing needs in your life that you try to give to Him while trying not to grab them back because He doesn’t seem to have noticed? As you wait on Him, does doubt gnaw at you and black thoughts of discouragement seep through your veins?
“Why do you say … ‘My way is hidden from the LORD, and my right is disregarded by my God’? Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might He increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:27-31 ESV).
If you are waiting on God, don’t give up and throw in the towel, taking yourself offline for downloads of blessing that God has ordained for you. No, instead do what His Word would have you do in the cultivating of your relationship with Him. Read the Bible, seek God’s face faithfully in prayer, learn to worship Him among a community of Believers in a local church, serve Him in the myriad of ways He provides you each day of the week, and search your heart under His leading so that He can work inside of you to make room for His blessings for you, in you, and through you.
In the end, staying faithful to the One, Whose name is synonymous with faithfulness, keeps your heart in a spiritual posture that remains ready to be blessed … whether the timing is only a few minutes or even a lifetime.
Pastor Thom Mollohan leads Pathway Community Church and may be reached for comments or questions by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.