Waiting. Our culture does not appreciate or embrace waiting. Instant pudding, instant coffee, microwaves, fast food, overnight shipping and high speed internet all feed the addiction to hurry and an irritation with those things that require time and a process. Those agonizing final 10 seconds on the microwave timer can feel like an absolute eternity? Why do you think it is such a struggle to wait?
There are so many things in life that require waiting and a process. What happens when the process is hurried or even skipped? Have you ever experienced a time where you have hurried through or decided to ignore or skip the time and effort required? How did it turn out?
As believers, we are in the midst of being transformed into the likeness of Jesus. Our lives are to reflect Him. This is far from an instantaneous process. It requires setting aside our agenda and focus on self, and living God’s plan and focusing on Him. It is learning how to live in God’s strength instead of being obsessed with our own abilities, efforts and talents. It is setting aside trusting self and trusting God instead – even when we don’t understand and can’t see the purpose or goal. This is not something done by trying harder, doing more or accomplishing goals, but by relying on God at work in you.
“Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life.” (Romans 8:5, the Message)
God is so full of love, compassion and kindness, and knows that waiting can be painful and exhausting.
“The moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs,
our aching groans.” (Romans 8:26 the Message)
I used to think that faith in the wait looked like never struggling with doubt, always being cheerful and focusing only on the good I could see without acknowledging the pain. Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,” was a cliché tossed as a quick reason for the struggle, and felt like having a Band-aid applied to a compound fracture.
God never asks you to put aside your feelings and pain. He knows the wait is hard. He sees when you come to the end of yourself and have nothing left but agony, fear and tears. He loves you enough to not allow a premature birth, but instead gives strength and intercedes for you when you don’t know how to pray anymore.
What are you waiting on today? About what are you saying, “I just want this to be over.” The wait is not punishment, discipline, punitive or teasing. It is love. A love that is perfect, unexplainable and from which NOTHING can separate you.
So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture. (Romans 8:31-35, the Message)