Christian Devotionals

"The Waiting is the Hardest Part"

Nobody likes to wait. Whether it be at the checkout counter, the deli or in your car eagerly looking for your child who’s late for her pickup, waiting is something that we neither enjoy or do well. And if the mundane waiting periods of every day life aren’t taxing enough, we’re even worse when it comes to waiting for the bigger things in life. This may include a job change, a new ministry or that special relationship that has yet to come our way. For those of us who pray regularly to God, waiting on Him is probably the most frustrating and unnerving exercise that we’ll ever undertake. You see people are just plain impatient. As the pace of our culture speeds up faster and faster, we want answers and results on demand. We want it all and we want it now (or at least as fast as our latest technological gadgets can provide them). Much to our chagrin, God has never operated that way and it’s unlikely that He ever will. That’s because God’s timing is always perfect. He gives us what we truly need and He waits to give it to us at the proper time. For us the perfect time is right now, but He knows better. It’s like the mother and child baking a cake together. After only ten minutes in the oven, the child impatiently keeps asking if the cake is done. “It smells like it’s done, let’s eat it.” The mother knows all too well that beneath the surface of the cake, the batter is far from done. If the child had his or her way, they’d be digging into a raw and mushy mess. While our waiting situations may not be quite as simple as a child and an unbaked cake, the fact remains: our Father knows when it’s time, not His children. Furthermore, God will not grant us something that we’re not ready to handle or worse, give us something that will harm us or others. Still, we all too often rush forward and make choices that are outside of God’s will.

Jumping the gun or doing what we want has been an age old problem for man. As we know from many examples in the Bible, when we wait on God and obey His commands, things go well for His people. When we rush out on our own and ignore His call to wait, we get into all kinds of trouble. A prime example is Abraham. His wife Sarai (later renamed Sarah) did not believe that God was going to fulfill His promise to her husband and grant them a son. In all fairness to our doubting matriarch, she was barren and well past her childbearing years. Moreover, her husband Abram (later renamed Abraham) was eighty-five years old. Having a child at this stage of the game - let alone making Abram’s descendants into a great nation – might be too tall of an order for God. Rather than waiting on God and obeying His original plan, Sarai decided to speed things up by having her husband sleep with Hagar, her Egyptian maidservant. Sarai’s words to her husband in Genesis 16:2 reveal her unbelieving heart and impatience with God. It was time to take matters into their own hands. Sarai would be the one to build this family. Abram went along.

2 so she said to Abram, "The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her." Abram agreed to what Sarai said.

Abram and Hagar did have a son named Ishmael, but he wasn’t the son of God’s promise. It would be Isaac –born fourteen years later – the legitimate son of Sarai and Abram (now named Sarah and Abraham) who would be used to build the great nation that God had promised. After Isaac’s birth, Ishmael and his mother were driven away. This was primarily Sarah’s doing, but God allowed it. God did show compassion to Ishmael and Hagar by greatly blessing them. God also made a promise to Ishmael that he too would become a great nation. This promise was fulfilled as God made Ishmael the father of what would become the Arab nation. Obviously, here is where the trouble begins. These two “great nations” – both descended from Abraham – would be in constant conflict with each other. There would be no peace between the offspring of Abraham’s two sons Ishmael and Isaac. It gets even worse. The prophet Muhammad – the founder of Islam – was descended from Kedar, the first of Ishmael’s twelve sons. As we see to this day, the Jews and the Muslims have been locked in an endless battle over religion and land. All of this can be traced back to Abraham’s and Sarah’s failure to wait on God and obey His perfect plan.

Granted, unlike the consequences of Abraham’s and Sarah’s actions, our failure to wait on God is not likely to cause global instability and endless war. Our jumping the gun, however, can have a very negative impact on our life and the lives of those around us. If God is telling you to wait on a career change or the launching of a new business or hold off on marrying that “perfect” someone, listen to Him. Our Lord knows what’s best. The timing might not be right or the choices might just be plain wrong. Our loving Father is trying to spare you and others a whole lot of pain and sorrow. Trust Him, He loves you and like any loving father, He wants what’s best for His child. Start listening to Him and pray for guidance as you wait this one out.

24 “ The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “ Therefore I hope in Him!” 25 The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. 26 It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.
Lamentations 3:24-26 (New King James Version)

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