the purpose of waiting

hourglass

I find myself in a place of waiting. I think we all do from time to time. I remember as a kid waiting for Christmas. One year we begged Mom and Dad to open the presents on Christmas Eve. They caved and we had a great time…but it was a bit of a disappointment the next day when we had nothing to open! I guess it didn’t teach us a thing about delayed gratification. I remember listening to a sermon by Chuck Swindoll years and years ago and I think he was in one of the minor prophets. He said a phrase that is particularly memorable for me: ‘sometimes God’s wheels grind very slowly’. I think we have all found that to be true.

I remember when each of our kids were born and both of them came very quickly. After Danny was born, the doctor suggested that I do some reading on home delivery to get ready for the next one. I was a little stunned but he was just kidding. I have suggested from time to time that the girls were born quickly because God knew that sometimes I can be impatient. Thinking about it a little better now it had to do purely with His kindness, goodness, and grace.

What are some of the purposes of waiting? I was driving around St.T. yesterday morning and was kinda writing this blog in my head. Here are some of the biblical purposes in waiting.

  1. It causes us to trust God. If everything happened when we wanted it to, like yesterday, it wouldn’t cause us to trust and we’d remain shallow. We can sit down and read the accounts of Job or Joseph and get through them in a fairly short period of time but we sometimes forget that they took place over longer periods…it was years for Joseph before he rose to power and was reunited with his brothers. One of our prayers could be that as we wait that God would develop faith in us.
  2. It causes us to mature in the fruit of the Spirit. We sometimes talk about the fruit of the Spirit and pray that God will grow them in us. We grow as we pray and as we consume the Word but a key way of maturing is on-the-job training. The fruit of love is developed by being around some pretty unlovely people. The fruit of self-control is matured when you go through circumstances that would be easier to just go out of control. How does God develop patience in us? He will often use circumstances where we don’t want to wait…where we want the answer right away.
  3. It causes us to cry out for grace. I don’t know about you, but for me when it comes to waiting for something I can consume myself with thinking about it and by just sitting and waiting. We aren’t called to be idle, we have things to do for the glory of God. Waiting causes us to cry out to Him in prayer and draw near to Him. When we wait we realize how much we need His grace…like all the time.
  4. It causes us to yearn for Heaven. This world is not the home of the believer. We are strangers and aliens here. In Philippians 1, Paul felt the tug in two different directions. He had things to do here on planet earth but he longed to go and be with Jesus…because that was better by far. Our time in this world is like a blip on the screen compared with the eternity of Heaven.

I’m sure that I could have come up with some more, but we’ll stop at four. Brothers and sisters, be encouraged that God has purposes for waiting. His purposes are always for His glory and our good…as hard as that may be. May He grant us the grace to wait well.

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