Please wait

Please wait

Dec 08
Please wait

I have been asked many times, “How can I know if something is from God?”  I have asked the question myself many times.  I have struggled for years trying to find an answer to this question.  I think I finally have an answer.

But I confess that I still don’t know if I have a good answer.

Look at any great character of the Bible.  When they waited on God, when they allowed Him to give His gifts to them in His time, the outcome was always amazing.  Every time.  Abraham received the promised son, Isaac.  Moses led the children of Israel to the Promised Land (but didn’t enter it himself).  David became King of Israel.  The list goes on and on, but the pattern always remains the same:  when we wait on God, the outcome is always good.

We can also look at these exact same characters and see where the opposite was true.  When they didn’t wait on God, when they took something for themselves, the outcome was always bad.  Adam and Eve ate from the fruit that God had forbidden and they lost not only Eden, but the joy of God’s presence.  Abraham slept with his wife’s servant – the outcome was a son, Ishmael, whose descendants caused no end of grief for the descendants of Isaac.  David took for himself a beautiful woman and established a pattern that his sons would follow – taking for themselves what they wanted to have.  This list also goes on and on with a consistent pattern:  when we take what we want for ourselves, the outcome is rarely good.

I’ve concluded that in each decision of life, we can choose to either follow the path God desires for us or we can go down the path we want for ourselves.  We’ll get some decisions right.  We’ll get a lot of others wrong.

It all comes down to two simple words:  Want and Wait.

When I am focused on what I want, I steal from God what belongs to Him.  I take for myself what was rightfully His to give.  Even if do ask God to give it, my prayers are selfish.  When I find myself begging in prayer, it reminds me that I’m entirely too focused on what I want.  I want it so badly that I’m not willing to wait for God.  When timing is critically important, when I feel that God must do something NOW, it is a warning that my fear and desperation is more important to me than God’s perfect timing.  It is easy to forget in those moments that there is absolutely nothing that God cannot overcome or restore.  There is no such thing as “too late” when talking about the power of the Creator.

When I am praying that I need it now, I’m telling both God and myself that if He doesn’t do something soon, then I’ll do it myself.  And every time I do it myself it is so much less than what He would have done.  This is even true of my “good” intentions.  The things I take for myself because God doesn’t work how or when I want are in opposition to Him.  Underneath it all is the unspoken belief that what I want isn’t important to God or that I want it so much that I’m unwilling to wait for Him.

On the other hand, when I am willing to wait, when I humbly submit my requests to God and trust in His perfect timing, it is always more incredible than I could imagine.  God does magnificent and incredible things…in His time.  His timing is always perfect.  The outcomes are always good.

Is it possible that being willing to delay our gratification is the greatest sign of maturity?

Perhaps it pleases God for us to say, “You and Your will for me is better than what I want for me.  I will wait on You.”  This is tough in a culture that teaches us to be captains of our own fates, to grab life by the horns, and to shape our own destiny.  We believe that we must DO something.

Sadly, we do not see waiting on God as being active participation.

Want and Wait.  Two simple words that differ by only a single letter:  “I”.  The “I” in wait reminds me that I get what is best when I wait.  There is no “I” in want because “I” cannot give it to myself.

Ultimately, I take joy because both words end in a cross!

There is no mistake I can make, nothing I can take for myself, that God cannot redeem for Himself.  If I am willing to let Him.  If I am willing to return to waiting.  When we wait, He turns even our greatest mistakes into beautiful blessings.  When we submit our failures to Him, He forgives us and heals us.  Yes, there are often still consequences.  Consequences are what we must wait and endure because we wouldn’t wait to begin with.  Consequences are like our “penalty box” or “time out.”

In other words, we are going to wait on God.  We will either wait on Him to give what He has planned or we will wait while He unravels the consequences of our selfishness.  Either way, it ends with a cross.  It is and always will be about what He has done and is doing.

Holy Father, make me to lie down in green pastures.  You know that it is not in my nature to do so willingly.  Please forgive me for not waiting on You.  Forgive me of my selfishness.  Forgive me for taking what belongs only to You.  Create in me a clean heart, oh God.  Give me a heart that trusts You completely and patiently waits for You.  You are my heart’s desire.  You are what I truly want.  Only in You do I find me.  I adore You, my God, and I patiently wait for the day when You complete Your perfect plan.  Amen.

6 comments

  1. Melinda

    Amen!!!! This is one of my favorites, but I just can’t wait for the next blog post…. what do I do??? How long do I have to wait?? :)

    • Thank you, Melinda. :)

      I suppose we both have to wait for the next post. God has not yet given me anything to say.

  2. Excellent thoughts! This is a great post indeed.

    The desire I have more and more as a Christian is to WANT God. That kind of “want” glorifies Him and, obviously, waits on Him. It’s like John Piper says, if I gave my wife flowers and told her I wanted to take her to dinner and then to a movie and spend all night just her and me she would never say, “You, you you! It’s all about what YOU want!” Because my ‘want’ in that case is to be with her, glorify her, and honor her. That’s the sort of “want” we should desire.

    So yes! The “I want” you’re talking about ends up being, “I’ll go ahead and do this, God. Never mind. Thanks anyway.” And that is gonna end badly (almost) every time.

    • YES!! Thank you, Noel! You would never tell your wife, “I want to take you to dinner and a movie, but if I have to wait then I’m going to go by myself.”

  3. Joshua

    And Christ is the perfect example of resisting the “quick fix” and waiting for greater things, even though those greater things came on the other side of a cross.

    “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will” (Matt. 26:39).

    Jesus tabled the fleeting comfort of the moment for the unending joy of securing a people to exalt Him forever.

    “…Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:2).

    Through patience, Jesus secured the very thing for which we wait patiently (or try to wait patiently): seeing, experiencing, and participating in His glory forever.

    • Thank you for reminding us that Jesus modeled this for us Himself. If we are trying to be like Him then we must also learn to wait like Him.

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