By Gregg Heid
Special to The PREVIEW
I’m an impatient man. I don’t like to wait for things. I don’t want to put in the time to learn how to back up our new trailer. I don’t like to rewrite things over and over to make them polished. I want the siding done on my duplex now. And I want my dancing steps to come easy without hours of practice.
I waited impatiently 10 years for the right woman to be my wife. I dated and dated, constantly thinking, “Is this the one?” It wasn’t. Now I know why. God gave me the wife He wanted me to have. Her name is Vicky.
I also waited for the right career. For 15 years I tried construction, youth ministry, wilderness management, public relations, ag extension and ended up teaching.
God knew; every inventory of spiritual gifts and career paths I’ve taken have pointed me in that direction. By making me wait, God gave me my heart’s desire for the career I loved.
Since God is outside the realm of time, waiting in the biblical sense can take years, even decades. Waiting has a purpose.
Ruth had to wait for marriage. Naomi told her, “Wait, my daughter, until you find out what happens.” (Ruth 3:18) She did and Boaz asked her to be his wife.
Joseph had to wait for 13 years for his dream from God to come true. In the meantime, God sent him on a journey that included slavery, false accusations and forgotten in prison, before he was put in charge of Pharaoh’s kingdom.
Simeon had been waiting his whole life, serving in the temple, to see the promised Messiah. Finally, he was able to hold the Christ child and his wait was over (Luke 2:25-32).
The crippled man who laid by the pool near the sheep gate in Jerusalem had to wait 38 years before Jesus came along and healed him.
Sarah, Rachel, Hannah, Elizabeth — all waited for babies to be born to them after years of infertility. In God’s time, their prayers were answered; Issac, Jacob, Essau, Samuel and John the Baptist were born.
Abraham, Moses, Job, David and the New Testament believers all waited for the fulfillment of a promise from God. All grew closer to Him through their persistence prayer and waiting.
The important things in life are not instantaneous. They come with discipline and waiting.
Our children and grandchildren learn this at an early age. They ask us over and over for something. Dad can I have a soda? I want that red bike. Mom, I need new shoes. Not now, you’ll have to wait for your birthday or until Christmas. The longer the wait, the more they appreciate the gift and the giver.
We adults are the same way. John Ortberg says, “Waiting is not just something we have to do until we get what we want. Waiting is part of the process of becoming who God wants us to be.”
Forty years in the desert was a long camping trip for the Israelites. Why? To learn dependence on their God and to let them know that He was their God and they were His people.
As the prophet Isaiah said, “Those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles; they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not get weary” (Isaiah 40:31). By being patient, we are strengthened in our trials, and become more dependent on God.
Having patience means surrendering control of our lives to Jesus, the ultimate Timekeeper. It means saying, “I’ll wait for You, Lord, even if it takes years, because I trust You.”
Today, those who know Him, are waiting for His second coming. Those who do not know Him, He’s giving time to repent and turn to Him. Talk about patience.
By Gregg Heid