Hurry Up and Wait!

For me, waiting is hard. Difficult. It seems useless. Why wait, right? How can anything get accomplished by waiting?

I bet you ask the same thing, don’t you? You probably have the same hatred of waiting. I tend to think we are born with an innate hatred of waiting. Babies can’t wait for their milk, children can’t wait till Christmas, and adults can’t wait in line.

This shouldn’t be that surprising. We live in a society where everything is instant. Waiting for anything just cuts against the grain of most Americans. So is it any wonder we have grown impatient with God? For us, the perfect time is always now.

For God, however, it may not be. So when God fails to meet our deadline or our time limit, we assume He is late. Perhaps He is asleep. Or maybe He is not fully aware of the entire situation. How unfortunate! Let us rather be quick to understand that the time-table of God is set in view of eternity, and He is never late, nor is He ever early. God is always right on time.

If you find that you are one of those “waiter-haters,” take heart – you’re in good company. Many of God’s choicest servants had to learn the hard way, too.

Moses, the leader of the children of Israel, was no exception. Born with a burden to free his brethren from their bondage and oppression, Moses was certain he could do it. And he was right. But even though God had chosen Moses, it had to be done God’s way. And here’s where Moses learns three of his most valuable lessons.

Unwilling to wait for God’s timing, Moses forges his own path by construing a plan to kill the entire Egyptian army one by one. And one day, after seeing a Hebrew being beaten by an Egyptian, he takes his first victim. Sure that no one spotted him, he crosses off that one and says to himself, “Only half-a-million to go.”

Someone did see Him, though. And when the warrant came out for his arrest, Moses found himself fleeing, escaping like a murderer on the run. Fearful and frightened, Moses gets out of town. And that is lesson number one: Running ahead of God leaves us fearful.

We then find Moses in the desert, lonely and afraid, living with the priest of Midian. There he meets Zipporah, and upon marriage, they have a son and name him Gershom. Suddenly, just when you thought Moses was piecing things back together, he makes this statement in Exodus 2: “I have been a stranger in a strange land.”

Because of his convict-status in Egypt, Moses had to flee. And in running away he left his family, his friends, and his loved ones. It’s no wonder he made such a statement, for he was lonely. And at this point he learns his second lesson: Running away from God leaves us lonely.

Finally, Moses agrees to become a shepherd. On the backside of the desert is where we find him. And for once we get an indication that Moses is sitting still, simply waiting. Now that God can finally catch up, he is about to learn his greatest lesson: Waiting in place for God brings us deliverance.

There’s not a whole lot going on in the desert; the average day for the shepherd held little excitement. And that is exactly what God wanted – His servant’s attention with no distractions.

So when the bush began to burn but was not consumed, Moses decided to investigate. And immediately God gained Moses’ attention. Within the burning bush God revealed to Moses the very thing for which he sought so diligently: Deliverance for his people.

Interesting, isn’t it? The very thing Moses wanted was everything God had for him. But only in God’s time. He had tried to form his plan and run ahead of God, but that only ended in fear. He had tried to gain his own release by running away from God, but that only left him lonely. It wasn’t until he waited right where he was that God choose to move.

The point is clear; the lesson evident: The deliverance you are seeking right now will only come when you agree to stop conniving and conceiving your own plans. What may be a good idea can cause more damage than good when done at the wrong time with the wrong intentions. We would be wise to let God guide us and direct us; and till He does, we should be still and wait.

When all hope seems gone and your burden is the heaviest, rest in the fact that God’s greatest tool is time. And just when things seem their darkest, God often turns on the light. When we agree to wait, God agrees to work.

So fret not, child of God. When we run ahead of God He is not left behind. And when we run away from God He is not left out. He is there, just waiting for us to step aside so He can take action. When He does, you’ll find the very thing that for so long seemed so illusive. Till that time, be content to wait. In doing so you could very well be accomplishing the greatest task of all!

*Excerpted from Meditations of a Young Minister.

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