My God, What Are You Waiting For?
- Thursday, April 05, 2012
Closing my journal, I clicked the lid on my pen and set it on the bedside table. How many entries can I trace back to the same thing—the same desire? It's been over five years. The desire is still there, as strong as ever, but the answer is not yet clear. Sure, I've gotten smaller answers related to the same theme of that particular desire along the way, but the ultimate answer is neither "yes" or "no" at this point.
"My God, what are you waiting for?"
If we were as honest as David was in our conversations with God, I think that we would ask this question a lot more often. I am confident that God wouldn't be offended if we let ourselves sink past the veneer of our shallow quiet times and self-pep talks to ask him that question—especially if we wait for his reply.
A quick glance around the world stops me in my tracks. The simple Sunday School answers don't satisfy when you are sitting across the dinner table from a beautiful Congolese woman who explains how the horrors of rape, murder and corruption are part of the daily landscape in her lush yet broken country. Just a few days after listening to her heartbreaking stories I sat in a funeral for a friend of mine who died at a young age because of cancer. Do I honestly believe that God is apathetic to these dear people's suffering or about my pain? Is the problem that we didn't bother to stop and pray for his intervention? None of these answers are satisfying. The problem is that both answers to this question of why God waits to answer our prayers or meet our most basic needs end up painting him in a false light. He is not indifferent to our pain. He is not unaware of our suffering. He doesn't expect us to jump through hoops before he'll protect us. He is a kind, all-knowing, empathetic, vigilant Father. So while he waits to intervene, we wait on him.
History is made up of plots that have unfolded through the lives of people as they experience glory and tragedy. We aren't the first to wrestle with this entangled convergence of our Sovereign's character as it collides with our plans. The world is broken. That fact is undeniable. Whether you are waiting for God to bring judgment to Kony or to provide a job so that you don't have to go without cable television, deep down in your heart, there is a level of frustration with the One who spoke all of creation into existence and raised his friend Lazarus from the grave.
I have come to understand that on this side of eternity I will ALWAYS be waiting. In light of that fact, I had better learn how to do it well. That begins with God's character. Until I calibrate my heart and mind on Truth, I lose my ability to function in a productive way. Without that foundation, my mind and emotions will spiral out of control. Positive thinking is impotent when the thinking is based on lies. The Truth sets us free. Lies keep us in bondage.
What does it look like to calibrate my heart and mind on Truth? I must go to a source of Truth that is outside of myself. My perspective is limited and skewed. For that matter, so is the perspective of every other human being who bases his or her reality on personal viewpoint. The only source of Truth is from God. If you don't start there, everything else is futile and pointless. Science will not solve the problem of evil. It will not mend a broken heart. If Truth comes only from God, where do we go to find it? We start with his Word. He tells us about himself and his character in his Word. He doesn't candy-coat the picture, either. Some of what I learn about him there makes me uncomfortable. That is how I know it is from him and not merely a book thought up by humans. Humans would never create a God, call him all-powerful and then have him wash dirty feet of foolish followers.
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