I am a product of my environment: I am impatient. I am not sure if it started with the remote control, the automatic drip coffee maker, the microwave oven or the cell phone, but I have grown increasingly uncomfortable with waiting. Fortunately, technology enables me to no longer waste my time in lines at the bank (there’s an app which makes my deposits for me and ATMs at every corner), in lines at the ‘video store’ (there’s On Demand™, Netflix© and DVRs to remedy that inconvenience), or lines at Fotomat (since digital cameras allow you to see, crop and print your pictures in an instant. Waiting is quickly becoming an old-fashioned idea, like a house call from a doctor or handwritten letter from a friend.
Instant gratification is the ideal. Bookstores have been shuttered because we can read electronic copies of almost anything on our phones, tablets and laptops. Texts and social media postings have become the preferred method of communication and we can know almost immediately get a response or a ‘like’. Even the food we eat – 30 minute meals at home and fast casual cuisine at restaurants – shouldn’t typically take long to prepare or consume. We are a people who suffer from road rage when in traffic and buffering suffering when on-line. Most of us hate to wait.
The trouble with this aspect of our culture is that God uses waiting as a tool of our maturity. Throughout the pages of the Bible are accounts of individuals who were required to wait:
- Abraham was given a promise from God that he and Sarah would have a nation of offspring. He waited twenty five years before he held the fulfillment of the promise, Isaac.
- Joseph was imprisoned on false charges, trusting that God would deliver him from his oppressors. He waited seventeen years before he was released.
- Moses ran from God’s plan and people, escaping to the land of Jethro. He waited forty years before God spoke again and renewed his calling to deliver the Israelites.
- Zerubbabel began rebuilding the temple before opposition overwhelmed the work. He waited eighteen years before he was able to resume and finished reconstruction.
Patrick Morley, in his book How God Makes Men, talks about ‘Bible Time’ – a construct based on 2 Peter 3:8 which states that ‘with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.’ According to Morley, ‘Bible Time’ is elastic; ten minutes in heaven compares to ten years on earth and two thousand years in heaven are like two days on earth. Instant gratification is a convention of our human mind when we assume our time table and not God’s. Impatience is an aspect of our human nature where we assume we know how long something ought to last. Waiting is a gift from the Spirit enabling us to grow to become all that God desires.
Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. Psalm 27:14
For those of us who are waiting for God to act on our behalf, allow me to give you a tool which may help – Wait for God to change your situation or provide your relief tomorrow and one day He will.