No one likes having to wait. Our irritation level rises as we stand in the drugstore checkout line, endure the mandatory security “disrobing” at the airport, and watch the clock as we remain seated while others come and go in the doctor’s or dentist’s office – the land where time seems to stand still. We become frustrated sitting still in the world’s largest parking lots – the highways surrounding our large cities.
Today’s culture demands immediate gratification. “I want it now!” Modern technology helps us to get going faster and faster: E-mail, mobile phones, text messaging, getting all the information we require instantly over the Internet. TV has given us the ability, via satellite, to watch global conflicts and disasters firsthand. The most time-pressured individuals of all are those who cannot stand just to be – they always must be doing something. Not just to BE – to DO! That accurately described me a number of years ago.
Then my secure and serene world came unglued. My wife, Bev, could no longer cope with the altitude of our guest ranch in Colorado, which stood at 7,200 feet. So we moved to the more suitable environs of Southern California, which had been her home for many years. For me this meant new living quarters, a very different climate, leaving behind my lifestyle of 45 years, finding a satisfactory new place to worship, making new friends and, most difficult of all, determining what to do in Orange County.
I felt cast adrift, separated from everything that was comfortable and familiar. But God was using that time to get my attention.
There was no heavenly vision, no dream of Jesus talking to me, but God did speak one early morning from Psalm 37:7. It seemed He was saying, “Bob, you need to learn how to REST and how to WAIT.” These were important lessons, even for a man like me already advanced in years.
The attitude of resting is concerned with facts; the activity of waiting has to do with promises. Resting is the fundamental principle of God’s salvation through Jesus Christ. I rest in the finished work of Calvary, Christ’s atoning death for my sins. “It is finished,” He said. I cannot add anything to it. This is why the Gospel is so hard to understand and so hard to accept. It is easier to struggle than to rest. It has nothing to do with my works, but everything to do with His blood shed for me – and for you!
The activity of waiting is just as difficult, perhaps even more so. This is because we must wait patiently, extremely hard for determined, high-achieving business and professional people. Those of us who are followers of Christ must wait for the performance of His promises. God, I have discovered over the years, does nothing too soon or too late. He responds right on time.
We must wait for God to reveal His will. He has had a plan and purpose for every stage of my life’s journey, including Orange County, California. But I had to wait for His fulfillment of my heart’s desires, as is promised in Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” As someone has said, “High hopes are never awakened in the human heart to be finally disappointed.”
So here I am, still learning, but also believing: “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him” (Psalm 37:7).
Taken and adapted from The Challenge, written and published by Robert D. and Rick Foster. Permission to reproduce with proper credit is freely given and encouraged. For questions or comments, write: 29555 Goose Creek Rd, Sedalia, CO 80135, U.S.A., or fax (303) 647-2315.
CBMC INTERNATIONAL: Robert Milligan, President
1065 N. 115th Street, Suite 210 ▪ Omaha, Nebraska 68154 ▪ U.S.A.
TEL.: (402) 431-0002 ▪ FAX: (402) 431-1749 ▪ E-MAIL: email@example.com
Please direct any requests or change of address to: www.cbmcint.org
1. How do you respond when you have to wait – can you do it patiently, do you grudgingly grit your teeth and suffer through it, or do you find yourself frustrated, on the verge of boiling over in anger at any moment?
2. Do you think the current environment for our lives, which promotes speed of response and instant gratification, has intensified our reluctance to wait, especially for things that are important to us? Explain your answer.
3. Think of a recent experience when you had to wait longer than you had anticipated. Or perhaps you are now going through a period of waiting, eager to see it come to an end. What has been the effect of being forced to remain in this “waiting room”?
4. If you have a relationship with God and believe He is your heavenly Father, why do you think He sometimes insists that we wait for His answers to our needs and requests, rather than responding to them immediately? How would you compare this with how you respond – as a parent, friend, supervisor or manager: Are there times when you also find it necessary for those relying on you to wait?
If you would like to consider other Bible passages that relate to this topic, look up the following:
Psalm 37:9,34, 46:10; Proverbs 20:22; Isaiah 8:17, 40:31, 49:23; Acts 1:4-8; Romans 8:24-25