As a general rule, we are not patient people. We are always in a hurry to get things done. We try to beat the clock by doing too many things at once or doing things too fast. Not only does this result in shoddy work much of the time, but we also place tremendous stress on the mind and body as a result of our constant and continuous rushing. We also miss out on the joys of life, like smelling roses or enjoying a sunset, because we are always in a hurry.
We carry this impatience into our prayer life too. We petition God expecting instant results, and when he doesn’t answer immediately —as often happens—we get as frustrated and angry as we get when we are stuck in traffic! However, if he acted immediately, we would be in control, not him, and we are not wise enough to call the shots.
God will not be rushed. He will do things in his time, not ours. And because he wants us to wait on him, he will often put the brakes on us. The wilderness is one such place he does this. Screech! Life comes to a full stop! What are we going to do? There is nothing to do but wait.
For all of us who have to wait, forced or otherwise, the prophet Isaiah gives us some very encouraging advice. “Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength,” he writes. “They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).
We expend energy constantly, and more so when we do things in a rush and rely on our own efforts. Waiting on God renews us, and we become stronger because we are now leaning on him for strength. We will be able to do more, more efficiently. Waiting on God also increases our humility as we implicity acknowledge that God controls events and circumstances, not us. Humility is ever so pleasing to God. This is why Peter advises: Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time (1 Peter 5:6).
As a reward for our faith in him, evidenced in the waiting, God promises to lift us high. It reveals his glory. Remember the miracle of Lazarus? (see John 10). Jesus made his friends Mary and Martha wait for him to see their sick brother. By the time he did, Lazarus was dead, but Jesus worked an extraordinary miracle by bringing him back to life. He will do incredible things in our life, too, if we wait on him.
So, wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord (Psalms 27:14). And while you are, take time to smell the roses.