Let's be real, y'all. Waiting sucks. We're on such busy schedules, that we don't want to wait for anything. Think about it. From the time that we're born, we learn that waiting isn't a good thing. Babies cry so that they don't have to wait for food, or wait to be taken care of. No child wanted to wait to open presents. And high school? Let's be real. Who wants to wait for a diploma? We rush through things, anxious to get to the next thing in life.
This is a dangerous business. We are in such a hurry and desire to get through things so badly, that we miss the special things that can come in the midst of waiting. When was the last time that you struck up a conversation with a stranger in a doctor's office? Yes, it's uncomfortable to talk to someone that you don't know. So instead of reaching out to someone who is potentially hurting, you reach for the latest copy of Sports Illustrated or People Magazine, aimlessly flipping through it. You glance at the pictures without reading the articles, hoping to God that your name is the next one that gets called.
We wait impatiently on a daily basis. Whether at a red light, on a plane, in front of a microwave, sitting in class. You name it. The toe taps, the finger-drumming, the pointless texting. It's all around us, and we even take part in it.
But think about the dangers of not waiting for a moment. What happens if you don't wait as the mechanics inspect that airliner for the last time, pre-flight? What happens if you don't wait for that long red light to turn green before going? What happens if... I think you get my point. If we are too impatient to wait for those things, what about the young man and woman who are too impatient to wait until marriage. Their few moments of pleasure bring a life into the world and force them to make a snap decision. Take a life, or change theirs. Waiting is a big deal, friends.
Waiting can be the difference in doing God's will and having the Lord's pleasure taken away from you. Just think about Saul in the book of 1 Samuel 13.
135 The Philistines assembled to fight Israel, with three thousand[c] chariots, six thousand charioteers, and soldiers as numerous as the sand on the seashore. They went up and camped at Mikmash, east of Beth Aven. 6 When the Israelites saw that their situation was critical and that their army was hard pressed, they hid in caves and thickets, among the rocks, and in pits and cisterns. 7 Some Hebrews even crossed the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead.Saul remained at Gilgal, and all the troops with him were quaking with fear. 8 He waited sevendays, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter. 9 So he said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.” And Saul offered up the burnt offering. 10 Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him.11 “What have you done?” asked Samuel.Saul replied, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Mikmash, 12 I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the Lord’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.”13 “You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the Lordyour God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. 14 But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.”15 Then Samuel left Gilgal and went up to Gibeah in Benjamin, and Saul counted the men who were with him. They numbered about six hundred.
Saul couldn't wait for the Lord's command. He got impatient and offered the sacrifice himself. This displeased the Lord and He turned His face away from Saul as the king of Israel.
You may not have a kingdom promised you, but you may have a family, or a career that you are waiting for. If you jump the gun, who is to say that it will happen the way that it should have. We cannot control God, and while He is a patient God, sometimes all it takes is a disobedience on our part to redirect what is best for us.
Don't get me wrong. I'm terrible at waiting. I hate it. I can't stand it. It drives me up the wall. I'm waiting right now. I don't know what or who God has planned for me. I know what I would like and how I want it to go, but who is to say that is His plan for me? I would love to be able to fall in love with that certain young lady, graduate college, join the military, and start a family, all the while having a steady pay check. If it were up to me, I'd get right on that. But it's not up to me. I have to stay patiently where God has placed me and seek His face. He has a plan for me, that is better than what I could imagine... And I have a pretty good imagination. So what do I do? I wait. I focus on the here and now. I focus on the joys that I have daily.
I have the opportunity to minister to those others who are waiting with me. They are waiting on that word from the Lord, showing them where they are to be going today. And we're waiting together. So it's time for me to reach out and get prepared. Waiting is a tough game. You have to be ready for the wait. Think about the virgins in Matthew 25.
25 1 “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4 The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
6 “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’7 “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
9 “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’10 “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.11 “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’12 “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’13 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
It is my job to be ready for the wait. My Lord is coming and when he arrives, I must be ready to take His hand and follow Him out, wherever He leads. That may be to a wedding feast, it may be to a monastery (I sure hope not. I'm not cool with that oath of celibacy thing), or it may be to a dirt hut on the mission field somewhere very different than I am used to. But that's not for me to decide. It's for Him to guide me to. He already knows what it is.
So here I stand. And here I am. And here I shall be. If we're waiting for the same flight, please. Put that magazine down. Walk up to me. Shake my hand. Give me a hug. (I'm a hugging kind of guy) Sit down, and have a chat. I'd love to wait with you. And who knows, maybe the time will pass a little faster if we wait together. Maybe we're even on the same flight. Wouldn't that be a coincidence. But no matter what, please wait. Your call, life, and choice is important to you. And it's important to Him. After all, He's been waiting for eternity for you to follow and take the road He's mapped out for you. And for me.