We live in a culture of the immediate and instant. Fast food and microwaves are so 20th century. Now Grubhub and Uber Eats rush your fast food to the doorstep.
We have no patience for "the spinning wheel of death" that slowly pulls data for our screen. We expect immediate responses from text messages. We order from Amazon and want it delivered NOW.
This is an interesting era in which to be a Christian because one of our values is waiting. The whole Christian life is the anticipation of a future on the horizon, one that has yet to arrive. "Patience" is a fruit of the Spirit. Scripture tells us to “Wait on the Lord" (Ps. 27:14). Waiting is a virtue of the Christ life.
“How long, O Lord?” (Ps. 6:3) is one way the Scriptures express the angst of waiting. "How long, Lord?" is less a sigh of impatience and more an earnest and expectant plea to the God who is worth waiting for.
How long? Infertility seems like eternity to a couple waiting on a child.
How long? An illness is a plague upon your body that won’t go away.
How long? You’re stuck in a job that sucks the life out of you. Or you can’t find any job at all.
How long? Drama with your family won’t end.
How long? You suffer from an anxiety that no one else sees or understands. Under the surface, it haunts you.
How long must I suffer? How long until God answers? How long? Is there anything good about waiting?
Something I try to teach my kids is that the things you wait for are the most important things. So we wait to save up money to buy a toy. Waiting to buy the Lego set makes it more valuable. We wait for each other before we eat dinner together. Waiting for everyone demonstrates that each person is important.
When God makes us wait, there is purpose to the anticipation. God makes us wait in order to draw attention to the most important things, to himself.
In my impatience, I forget about God. I get distracted. I think that I’m in charge of my own life. But when God makes me wait, I’m drawn to the fact that he is Lord. In Lent, I fast and wait, and I see the cross get bigger. In suffering, I find myself unreliable and that I must completely rely on him.
We live in an impatient culture. We want a quick and easy fix right now. But God makes us wait. It is a counter cultural practice in an era of the instant. By this holy practice of waiting, God draws us closer to himself.
What are you waiting on? What is God revealing in the waiting? Watch and pray.
Wait on the Lord in all circumstances.
He forgives the guilty.
He finds the lost.
He raises the dead.
He is worth waiting for.