Waiting is hard. It is a rare person who actually enjoys waiting. (The lone exception I can think of is Brad Paisley, according to his song “Waitin’ On A Woman.”)
Waiting seems to be especially hard when we have received a word or calling from the Lord, giving us some direction and vision for our lives. We tend to want to just dive in and begin. But what we often miss is that God reveals something to us so that we will begin to pray and journey towards it. He is giving us what some call a “preferred prophetic future” – but that’s no guarantee that we will arrive there. There is effort required on our part, and change and growth that we need to experience. Almost always, when God calls us to something, it requires a journey of transformation on our part, and often, that journey can take us years.
This is where impatience can get us into trouble. In our excitement, we can jump the gun on God. We can try to force something to happen – something that we’re not spiritually or emotionally ready for yet.
Joseph is a great example of this in Scripture, as is Moses. Joseph received dreams from God of being a leader, but he unwisely shared those dreams and tried to lord it over his brothers. He wasn’t ready to lead, and it took years of humbling experiences for him to get to the place where he was ready to actually lead. God had work to do in him. In Moses’ case, he wanted to see his people set free from Egypt, but instead of waiting on God’s plan, he took matters into his own hands and murdered an Egyptian. It took 40 years in the desert for him to be prepared to be the leader that he needed to be.
There are some positive examples in Scripture of the power of patience. Consider these two:
- David was anointed to be the future king of Israel, and spent years serving Saul and then running from Saul for his life before he actually walked into God’s calling as king.
- Jesus spent 29 years of His life in obscurity before He stepped into public ministry. He then spent 3 years in the public eye before His death and resurrection.
In Anonymous…Jesus’ Hidden Years…And Yours, Alicia Britt Chole points out that most of Jesus’s life was unseen – anonymous to us. Only 4 of the gospels’ 89 chapters offer any details on Jesus’ childhood and life before ministry, and those details are scant.
She puts it this way: “Our enthusiastic declarations that we want to ‘be like Jesus’ reference Jesus’ visible years . . . with a few notable exceptions. In these statements we are not saying, ‘I want to subject my body, spirit, and mind to an extended wilderness experience,’ or, ‘I want to be brutally beaten, suffer excruciating pain, and be murdered at the hands of mocking sinners.’ No. Our desire to ‘be like Jesus’ contains several exemption clauses, not the least of which are Jesus’ hidden years, desert experiences, temptations, tortures, and crucifixion. We will pass on those, thank you. What we are most definitely interested in, however, is Jesus’ character and authority. How we long to see his character and authority transform this broken world through our lives! But Jesus’ character and authority are not isolated entities. They are not disconnected commodities we can purchase at a discount. Jesus’ character and authority come with Jesus’ life, 90 percent of which was lived in quiet anonymity. ‘What would Jesus do?’ we ask sincerely (in word and song, on T-shirts and in bracelets). Well, for starters, he embraced a life of hiddenness. As we will soon see, Jesus’ hidden years empowered him to live an eternally fruitful life.” (- Chole, Alicia Britt. Anonymous: Jesus’ hidden years…and yours (Kindle Locations 239-241). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.)
Waiting is so difficult. And yet…God can use our times of waiting to do deep work in us, to prepare us, to transform us. As I go through this season of waiting myself, I am reminded that my past seasons of waiting prepared me for life and ministry opportunities in ways that I had never imagined.
Are you waiting? If so, be patient. Don’t be in a hurry. Don’t try to force God’s hand. Trust Him, and while you’re waiting, pursue Him with all that you are.
You will be amazed one day at what He has accomplished in you while you were patient.