“Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord” (Psa. 27:14).
The half-joking prayer, “Lord, I need patience, and I need it RIGHT NOW,” isn’t too far removed from how we approach matters of spiritual growth and living out the will of God in our life. Life is full of waiting: waiting for your phone to charge; waiting in line at the grocery store; waiting in a traffic jam; waiting for a job; waiting for the right spouse; waiting for test results; waiting to be old enough to drive. Steve Farrar of Men’s Leadership Ministries says, “Waiting is like eating gravel. Nobody in their right mind wants or likes to do it.” Waiting is difficult.
The culture we live in is one that doesn’t like to wait. We like instant and fast everything—instant downloads, instant messaging, instant coffee, instant prints, fast-food restaurants, faster internet, fast phones. However, there are many times along our journey through life when God says, “Wait here.” And what looks like 15 minutes turns out to be 15 months, or even 15 years.
The Bible provides numerous examples of people who waited on the Lord. Abraham waited for decades to have the son that God promised him. Joseph had to wait in prison. Moses waited for 40 years on the backside of the desert, tending sheep, before leading the children of Israel out of captivity in Egypt. The Israelites then had to wait 40 years to enter the Promised Land. Simeon waited for the birth of the Messiah. Paul waited during his time of preparation in Arabia.
Waiting is a part of God’s plan and purpose in our lives, and resisting God’s timing and trying to get ahead of the Lord can have serious consequences. Abraham and Sarah found this out when they ran ahead of God, with Hagar bearing Ishmael instead of waiting on God’s promise (Gen. 16).
God works while His people are waiting. Time is not wasted in God’s waiting room. Waiting on the Lord renews our strength (Isa. 40:31). God often uses these times of waiting to prepare us for what lies ahead. Oswald Chambers writes, “We are apt to think that everything that happens to us is to be turned into useful teaching…We shall find that the spheres God brings us into are not meant to teach us something but to make us something.” In those waiting times, God both teaches and makes us something; in us He cultivates patience, Christlike character, and hope as we trust Him through those times. As we read in Romans 5:3-5a,
“And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed.”
To the Reader:
Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:
"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."
To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.