How to Win the Waiting Game
What are you waiting for? For God to bring the right guy? For God to resurrect your marriage? For God give you your dream job?
One of the greatest tests of our devotion to God is how we handle times of waiting. Most of us are willing to wait on God . . . but only up to a certain point. When we feel we've waited long enough, we justify doing things our own way. Impatience and fear take over.
What if God never brings the right guy? Maybe I'll just date the wrong guy for a while.
I'm willing to wait to have sex up to a point. But if I'm 40 and still single? Well . . .
I believe God can change my husband. I'll give him six months, but then, I'm out.
I've been praying for God to bring the money, but he hasn't. He'll understand if I fudge a bit on my tax return.
We are certainly not the first generation of "bad waiters." It's in our sin nature to take matters into our own hands when we think we've waited long enough. Consider the Israelites who were waiting for Moses. He had gone up the mountain to receive instruction from the Lord and, according to their timetable, was gone way too long.
Exodus 32:1 records, "When the people saw how long it was taking Moses to come back down the mountain, they gathered around Aaron. 'Come on,' they said, 'make us some gods who can lead us. We don't know what happened to this fellow Moses.'" Aaron proceeded to lead the people in creating and worshiping a golden calf. Yet this is the same group of people who, just a few weeks earlier, were worshiping God with great reverence.
How often our sin begins by being impatient with God! I've found this to be true in my own life. One moment, I'm worshiping God, surrendering everything to him. But then when he doesn't provide how or when I expected, I compromise, thinking that perhaps God needs a little of my help.
So what are you waiting for? How long are you willing to wait before you decide to go after what you want on your own terms?
While you're waiting, you may feel like you're testing God's faithfulness, wondering, Will he come through for me? In reality, waiting is about testing your faithfulness. God tested the Israelites in the desert to see what was in their hearts and whether or not they would keep his commands. He knew their destination, yet the journey was the testing ground of faithfulness. Similarly, he used prison to test Joseph for leadership, wandering in deserts to test David, and a deceptive relative to test Jacob.
How about you? Will you be faithful in waiting? Have you put time limits on the Lord, demanding that he prove his faithfulness according to your timetable? Your attitude as you wait may be even more important than your eventual destination.
Juli Slattery is a widely known clinical psychologist, author, speaker, and broadcast media professional. She co-founded Authentic Intimacy (www.authenticintimacy.com) and is the co-author of Passion Pursuit: What Kind of Love Are You Making?