"I can't believe I'm in my 30s and I'm still dating," my friend blurted out one afternoon. "If I'm going to be married someday I need to meet someone soon. I want to have children and my best child-bearing years are slipping away fast!"

Amy is dealing with impatience as well: "I've been trying to get pregnant for two years now," she complained to me. "My mom keeps telling me to wait on the Lord for His timing. But my being patient isn't speeding things up any."

Bobbie Jo's song sounded similar: "If I'm not promoted within a year, I'll leave this job and find another one," she said confidently. "I'm not into waiting around."

Often to our surprise - and disappointment - God is.

The more I search the scriptures, the more I find that our God is a God of waiting. He takes His time to accomplish things, whether it be something we're hoping for, a change in an individual's life, or a significant event in history. God is apparently in no hurry.

 We, on the contrary, are just the opposite. We live in a fast-food, fast-track, fast-paced world that refuses to slow down. And when your hurried "get it now" lifestyle, designed to eliminate the wait, runs into God's patient process, we find ourselves hit smack in the face with frustration.

Perhaps it's easy for God to take His sweet time in doing things. After all, He is eternal. He literally has all the time in the world. We, on the other hand, do not. The older we get, the more we realize how quickly time has already rushed past us and how little time we may have left. We fear opportunities are slipping away and so we race the clock by planning out our lives and continually telling ourselves - and God - to hurry up.        

We all pretty much try to plan our lives. We have a certain blueprint of what we'd like the finished product to look like. There's nothing wrong with planning. Biblically, we're encouraged to plan and set goals (Proverbs 16:9). But the trouble with having our timetables is that it gives us a false sense of control. Some of those things on the timetable we might be able to accomplish if we work hard enough at it and ultimately, if it's part of God's will. But as children of God, we have to be open to anything at any time that could take us off our intended fast track and put us on another timeline.

I remember being determined to complete my college education in four years. If it took any longer, I figured it would mark me as a failure. Just prior to my fourth year, I received an opportunity to edit my college newspaper, which would give me valuable job experience upon graduation. But in order to take that position and excel in it, I needed to scale down my class load and that would mean staying in school an extra semester or two. I chose to take the editing position and graduated a year later. Looking back now, if I had graduated in four years as I had originally planned, I would've missed the opportunity to meet my husband. I would've cheated myself out of a major blessing and my life as I know it today, if I had been determined to keep my time schedule, rather than be open to the Lord's intervention.

I know many people who are better off today because the Lord intervened in their timetable…because He made them wait for something they wanted right away.

Whether it's getting married, having children, receiving a promotion, accomplishing a dream, being healed of an illness, or anything else that is slow-coming, God delays sometimes simply to teach us the value of waiting upon Him.

Waiting makes us dependent on God. When things aren't happening, regardless of our efforts, we must depend on the Only One who can make things happen. This, of course, takes us out of the driver's seat and gives God the controls. Likewise, when we can't speed things up, but must be patient for results, we are forced to acknowledge that we are helpless and that we need God. This teaches us to no longer depend on ourselves, but to depend on our Father in Heaven.

Waiting teaches us faith.  Scripture tells us "without faith it is impossible to please God." (Hebrews 11:6). It couldn't be more simply said. God wants us in the waiting room to stretch us and teach us that "faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1).

Waiting puts us in proper perspective.  By realizing we are not in control of the timing of certain things makes us realize that we actually have no control over anything that happens. God gives us the very air we breathe. He keeps our hearts pumping. He holds the lives of our loved ones in His hands. Having a proper understanding of the fact that the Lord is in charge and He sets His own timetables, causes us to precede our statements and plans with the phrase: "Lord willing" (James 4:14-15).

Waiting helps us develop patience, thereby growing a fruit of the Spirit.  Whenever we begin to develop one of the fruits of the Spirit we begin a process of spiritual maturity. We are developing characteristics of Jesus Christ, which is our goal as people of God.  Patience is not only one of the fruits of the spirit, it is a pre-requisite to being a "bond servant" of the Lord. (2 Timothy 2:24).

Waiting forces us to be still before God.   Regardless of how quickly this world races by, our God still wants us to wait on Him and for Him. By learning to just be still and meditate on the goodness of God (Psalms 46:10), we will begin to see a maturity and calmness in our lives that wasn't there before.

May 27, 2010

Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and author of several books including When Women Walk Alone, When a Woman Discovers Her Dream, and Women on the Edge. For more on her books and ministry, see www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.