Waiting… Maybe it doesn’t mean what you think it does.
Whether you’re looking for a job, trying to have a baby, or praying for a loved one’s salvation, you know what it’s like to wait for something important to you. Sometimes we don’t have a choice but to wait for God’s timing and plan to unfold. Other times, we take matters into our own hands and do whatever it takes to get the job done. Ironically, both those reactions can lead us into disobedience.
How can waiting on God be sinful? Remember that sin isn’t only outward behaviour—it can be committed in your heart, too. You may pride yourself on waiting on God’s timing without meddling, but if you’re not content in that waiting, if you’re not truly trusting His plan but are simply giving in to it, or if you’re resentful that you’re not seeing the results you’d hoped for, that’s sin.
Have you ever wondered why the people who serve you in restaurants are called waiters? They are waiting on their clients. That’s not referring to the long minutes they stand by your table while you’re trying to decide what to order. It refers to the service they are giving you—their availability to respond to your requests and meet your needs.
This is a good definition to apply when we talk about waiting on God. We’re not meant to sit around and do nothing while God moves. Instead, we should be ready and willing to serve Him in any way that He calls us to, putting aside our own agendas, wants and aspirations. Like Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Samuel, and Jesus Himself, our response to God should be: “Here I am!”
It’s also important to beware the delayed gratification trap. Instant gratification sometimes results in dissatisfaction in the long run, while delaying gratification creates a waiting period that may help you see that what you’re waiting for isn’t what you truly want after all. However, waiting on God and delaying gratification are not the same thing. Gratification of any kind shouldn’t be our main goal. Gratification is getting what you desire. But what if what you want most—and are willing to wait a long time for—isn’t in God’s plan for you? Just because you’re being patient, it doesn’t mean you’re doing the right thing. Satan doesn’t care if you sin now or later; he just wants you to fail.
When you let go of your plans and simply start living in daily obedience, that is when you are truly gratified. Instead of anxiously waiting for your dreams to be realized, ask God to lead you where He wants you to go, to align your heart’s desires with His and to give you patience while you wait for Him to reveal His will to you.
Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, until He is gracious to us. (Psalm 123:2)