I wait for you, O Lord; you will answer, O Lord my God. Psalm 38:15 ESV
Can I make a confession? I don’t like to wait. I don’t like waiting in long lines. I get anxious in a waiting room for more than 10 minutes. I will drive three miles out of my way to avoid an exit with too much traffic. Why? Because at the core of it, I am impatient, sinful and think that life should revolve around my schedule. I bet that you can relate.
We want God to fulfill every need, want, and desire in our lives and we really want it done now. But being patient people in today’s modern world is difficult. Instant gratification is everywhere around us. High-speed internet keeps us connected all the time at super-fast speed. Our smartphones allow us accessibility to virtually anyone, anywhere, anytime. My single coffee brewer brews me the perfect cup of hot coffee in about 30 seconds.
So it is no surprise that when God tells us to wait for something that we get very impatient and upset. God is not unaware or unsympathetic to our waiting. He hasn’t forgotten us or failed to hear our prayers. He is simply asking us to wait so He can use this time to strengthen us in our faith and dependence on Him.
The story of Joseph from the book of Genesis is a great lesson in waiting with dignity. Joseph was falsely accused and imprisoned of a crime he didn’t commit. However, while he was in prison he was able to share his gift of interpreting dreams. Along comes the royal cupbearer who spent a few days in prison with him, was impressed with his gift, and told Joseph he would tell the Pharaoh about Joseph’s wonderful ability to interpret dreams. Joseph had to be ecstatic. He was finally going to get the break he deserved and get out of prison thanks to a perfectly timed cell mate. Except two years later, Joseph was still waiting.
God knew exactly where Joseph was and knew that he was waiting. So why did God allow two long years to pass before the royal cupbearer remembered Joseph and told Pharaoh about him? Do you imagine that during Joseph’s wait he grew in his prayer life, his dependence upon God, and in his understanding of God’s sovereignty? Do you think he grew at all in his faith? The lessons Joseph learned while waiting in prison were perfect, sovereign, and ordained for that time. Imagine what it meant when Joseph was remembered, his prayers were answered and he was immediately brought out of prison to stand before Pharaoh himself. He was brought out of jail in exactly God’s time and directly escorted into the presence and position of royalty.
I can picture Joseph telling his children and grandchildren the stories of how much God strengthened his faith and the lessons he learned while waiting in prison. Did Joseph talk about his waiting with bitterness or resentment? Or do you think, like I, that he told his story with awe and reverence of God’s divine plan and sovereignty being fulfilled?
What is it that you are waiting for? What lessons is He teaching you during the wait? Waiting is a hard thing to do, but it is also part of God’s extraordinary plan that can help us to grow into a deeper and more intimate relationship with Him. Don’t get so focused on the wait that you miss the blessing of being grown by God. For more on the story of Joseph, enjoy reading through Genesis 39, 40, & 41.
Lord, help me to remember that I wait in expectation of You and You alone. Allow me to be patient and to use the times of waiting to grow with You and to grow more dependent upon You. Help me to stay focused on Your perfect love and Your perfect plans. Forgive me for my impatience and remind me that You are with me in each step of my waiting game.