Why does waiting have to be so difficult?
Proverbs 13:12 is one of the most interesting Scriptures I have come across. It says:
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”
I find that Scripture interesting because it is so gut-level honest with us. We want what we want when we want it! When we find ourselves having to postpone our dream, we get frustrated very quickly.
If you think about it, you and I spend most of our lives in between things…waiting. When we are young, we cannot wait to get out on our own. Then, we cannot wait to get out of college. After that, we cannot wait to get married, to have kids, to have that dream job, and on and on it goes. In addition, our waiting in life is not limited to these big endeavors, we find ourselves waiting every day. We wait for both positive and negative things. We could be waiting on supper to be ready or even that call back from the doctor’s office.
Anybody in our lives who is good at encouragement and motivation will tell us that we cannot live our lives this way – we have to just live in the moment. While that is excellent advice, it is kind of like watching a commercial that tells you that you can get rich quick. Great advice, but tell me how. The problem is in the application.
Maybe it is best to start with these questions: Why are we waiting? What has led us to this point?
Are we stalled out because God has brought us to a place of pause in our lives. Certainly, God has been known to do that. You can look at examples of great prophets, like Elijah or Jeremiah, who came to points of increased frustration in the work they were doing for God. God allowed them to go through these times so that they would be forced to take a break from the work, hit the reset button in their relationship with God, and renew their commitments. Sometimes, God brings us to a place in our spiritual walk with Him where His desire is for us to wait and to reconnect with Him. In this sense, waiting becomes a good thing. It reignites a passion in our hearts!
Isaiah 40:31 tells us, “…but those who hope (or wait) in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
On the other hand, our waiting could be completely of our own making. Perhaps our waiting is because we are focused on the wrong things. Maybe our heart is longing for something different because we have not found contentment in what we have. I know this is a hard truth to talk about, but it is always better to deal in truth. How many of us have been guilty of saying something like, “I’ll be happy when ________ happens.”? God wants our happiness to be tied to Him, not to the circumstances of our lives. Those things you are longing for may never come about. Worse yet, they may come and not be what you had hoped for at all. As I mentioned, when we are young, we long to get out on our own because we believe there will be freedom. However, we never even begin to think about all of the responsibilities that come along with that freedom. At some point, we may very well begin to long to go back to a more simple time when someone else was worried about the utility bill!
I do believe, for the most part, that God wants us to live in the moment. His desire is that we enjoy what He has provided for us. Am I saying that God does not want us to dream and to pursue success in our lives? I certainly am not saying that God wants you to lack passion and drive. What I am saying is that He wants us to be content where we are and to stay connected to Him. In this way, the dreams that we do follow will be His dreams for us instead of pursuing the types of goals which Solomon called “meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 1:14)
One additional negative reason we “wait” has to do with fear. We may very well have a dream that God has put into our hearts. Every time we think about it, we feel something stirring inside of us. However, we fail to move forward because of all of the obstacles. The how, where, and when of an idea tend to stand in the way of our project, even though God has already supplied the what and the why! In this regard, it is always important to remember the old saying, “God’s timing is perfect.” We need to follow God’s instructions to us immediately. This is true obedience! Never forget the lesson taught to us by the Hebrews who were supposed to inherit the Promised Land way back in the time of the Exodus. God wanted them to move forward with their pursuit of the dream, but they waiting because they were afraid. The end result was that they missed out on the dream altogether and ended up wondering around in the wilderness for 40 years.
If God has put a dream or a goal in your heart, I know He will supply everything you need to see that vision all the way through to the end. There will be obstacles, frustrations, and even times of doubt, but followers of God must never let these be an excuse to fail to start. We do not want to get caught waiting, when God is calling us to get moving! Just imagine all the great work God can do in your life and through your life when you are willing to take that leap of faith.
I believe, in the end, we will find that this waiting game is one that we can win – with God’s strength and wisdom.