Lord, Why Am I having to Wait?
By Russell McKenney
I was listening to a Christian radio station one day and happened to hear one of those call-in promos such stations do. This promo featured a woman who had called the station to voice her appreciation for the station’s influence on her life. I listened as she explained how she had interviewed for a certain job and had been forced to wait a week before finally hearing that she had gotten the job. Upon hearing that news, she had called the radio station to say a quick word about how we all need to learn to be patient and trust God. So, there I am, driving down the interstate, listening to this woman’s testimony, and I’m thinking, “Wow, you had to wait a whole week, huh? I’ve been waiting YEARS on the fulfillment of a couple of promises that I feel that God has made to me!”
Please understand that I don’t mean to devalue that woman’s experience. I’m sure that to her that week seemed like an eternity. But to those of us (and you know who you are) who have been waiting a long, long, long time for God to do a certain thing, one week seems like child’s play, right? Can I get an “Amen”?
The Bible stories are numerous. Abraham and Sarah waited twenty-five years to hold baby Isaac (Genesis 12:4, 21:5). Isaac and Rebekah waited twenty years to hold their twin babies, Jacob and Esau (Genesis 25:20-21,26). Joseph waited thirteen years to become a ruler in Egypt (Genesis 37:2, 41:46). Moses waited forty years in Midian before returning to Egypt to lead the Israelites (Acts 7:30). The woman with the issue of blood waited twelve years before Jesus healed her (Luke 8:43-47). The woman who was stooped over and couldn’t raise herself waited eighteen years before Jesus healed her (Luke 13:10-13).
Keep in mind now that none of those people, as far as we know, added even one day to their waiting by way of their disobedience or lack of faith. Instead, the appointed times of their waiting were all preordained by God, and all the praying in the world wouldn’t speed Him up any. His process simply had to run its course.
I often think of the Israelites and their 400 years of bondage in Egypt. They didn’t do anything except mind God to get themselves into that fix, and they couldn’t do anything to shorten their days of waiting on His deliverance. Whether they realized it or not, they were living under the time clock of a prophecy that God had spoken centuries earlier to Abraham, the father of their race. God had told him, “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs and will serve them, and they will afflict them for four hundred years” (Genesis 15:13). Really, the length of Israel’s waiting in Egypt had as much to do with God delaying judgment upon the inhabitants of Canaan as it had to do with Israel (Genesis 15:16).
And so how should you apply all of this to your life as you continue to wait on God to do that certain something? Allow me to suggest two ways. First, you should consider the possibility that your waiting has more to do with others than it does you. You see, God making you wait doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s all your fault. It might just be that God is sorting some things out in the lives of others in your orbit.
Second, if you know that God has promised you something, hang in there with Him and keep expecting the fulfillment of that promise until you receive it. You should take encouragement from the fact that the Israelites in Egypt got no warning whatsoever that Moses was going to hit the town with their deliverance as his destiny. Nevertheless, one day there he stood with Aaron (Exodus 4:27-31). What had changed? Had the Israelites finally uttered just the right words in prayer? Nope. Had they finally managed to do everything God wanted them to do? Nope. Had they finally perfected their faith? Certainly not (as Moses would come to learn all too well). What had changed was that God’s time clock had finally struck midnight and it was time to begin a new day in the nation’s history.
Here’s hoping that your clock is about to strike midnight like that. Who knows? Today really could be the day. So, don’t give up on God, and keep trusting in His perfect timing. Yes, He does indeed miss numerous opportunities to be early, but it’s also true that He never runs late.
Russell Mckinney lives in the English Woods area of Spruce Pine and serves as the pastor of Roan Mountain Baptist Church in Bakersville.
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