February 15, 2013
I am so impatient when I watch TV. Like most guys, I can’t stand to watch commercials, not even Super Bowl commercials. How long ‘til the game starts again? Have you ever said those words, “How long?” Think of that same question in these contexts: How long, Lord, until my prayer is answered? How long until life gets better? How long do You want me to do this without seeing results? How long do You want me to suffer? How long do I have to “just hang in there?” How long ‘til my kids get along? How long until that special someone comes along? How long ‘til my loved one stops drinking?
Do some of these sound familiar? I’m sure you informally pray “how long” to God out of frustration or a deep cry from your heart. We all do.
Look at famous people in the Bible. When Joseph was sold into slavery and later spent years in prison, he must have asked, “How long, Lord?” When Moses led the Israelites around in the wilderness, he surely thought, “How long, Lord?” When Noah was ridiculed for 100 years while he built an ark on dry land, he must have wondered, “How long, Lord?” Simeon and Anna had been waiting for decades and probably asked, “How long until the Messiah comes?” But each one of these trusted God. They respected Him enough to continue obeying Him even when hope was almost snuffed out from a worldly perspective.
Perhaps you are involved in a ministry that seems to go nowhere. Yet, you know the Lord wants you there. Maybe you have been praying for an unsaved loved one for many years. Or perhaps you have a business that just isn’t coming together, but the Lord has led you to persevere. Be encouraged to revere God by continuing to obey Him, even though you wonder, “How long, Lord?”
Our nature is to have our own agenda in place now. No waiting. We don’t want others calling the shots. To avoid discomfort, we assume our plan is best. So we demand what we want when we want it. My kingdom come, my will be done. However, waiting and patience are powerful teachers of many truths. This is how character and many positive psychological skills are developed. God knows the right timing. Bend to His timeline and the reward of peace and growth will be unbelievable.
Today, be confident that God loves you. That’s where it starts. Examine your life to see what situation or area makes you impatient, frustrated, or irritable. Make sure you are doing a good job with your part of the issue. Then accept that God has a different timeline. Learn the lesson He is teaching. The “timing glitch” you feel is in your life to grow you. Oftentimes it’s there to protect you. God has a perfect plan for you because He loves you. His timing is always perfect because it is His timing. We all just keep messing it up. Follow Noah’s example and continue “doing all that God commands.” Waiting on God’s timing or impatiently imposing yours is your decision, so choose well.
Oh Father, Lord, help me honor You by trusting You and waiting on You. Even though I get discouraged at times, help me remember that You are in control and that Your way is the best way. Your timing is the best timing. Help me be patient so I can show the world I am willing to wait on You, Lord. Thy kingdom come, not my kingdom come. I really don’t want to take over responsibility for the whole world, even though sometimes I act like it. I pray this and all prayers in the name of the One who demonstrated perfect timing, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
I patiently waited, LORD, for you to hear my prayer. You listened and pulled me from a lonely pit full of mud and mire. You let me stand on a rock with my feet firm, and you gave me a new song, a song of praise to you. Many will see this, and they will honor and trust you, the LORD God. Psalm 40:1-3
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:1-5