Our culture is obsessed with instant gratification. We are consumers bent on getting what we want when we want it, hence the proliferation of fast food restaurants, instant streaming services, and vending machines. Although these inventions add convenience to our lives, they don’t necessarily benefit our health. Contrary to how we act at times, fast isn’t always synonymous with best. Sometimes it’s worth skipping the drive-thru and opting for a home-cooked meal instead.
But what about when waiting means more than holding off for more nutritious food? What about when our circumstances reveal our staggering lack of control? What about when we don’t have what we think we need, and there’s nothing we can do about it? As people who are used to getting our way with a dollar and the push of a button, we become disoriented and overwhelmed when we don’t immediately have what we want.
When there’s no magic button to press to change our circumstances, we have to wait. Times like these are often spent wishing away today and hoping for a different tomorrow. When life is obviously beyond our control, our tendency can be to focus on seeing a change as quickly as possible. As I read Scripture, though, I notice a different focus.
“For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.” –Psalm 62:1
“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope.” –Psalm 130:5
“From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him.” –Isaiah 64:4
“The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.” –Lamentations 3:25
The writers of these verses were waiting for God. He was their focus. With the difficulties of life comes the constant temptation to focus primarily on our situations instead of on our Savior. When this happens, we are often guilty of idolizing comfort, assuming our ways are best, and even resenting God’s plans.
Waiting for God means living with settled confidence that He will do the right thing at the right time. When we wait with confidence in His character and ways, our desire for His will to be done begins to overshadow our desire for our circumstances to be changed.
Even as His will becomes our priority, we don’t have to ignore our feelings or deny our frustration. We don’t have to stop asking Him to intervene with the healing, provision, and relief we crave. Because of who He is, we can bring our requests to Him with boldness while accepting His responses with humility.
Our prayers start to include not only affirmation of His power, but also acceptance of His plans, a combination illustrated by Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego who said both, “Our God…is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace,” and in the next breath, “But even if he does not…” (Daniel 3:17-18).
Our God is able to change our circumstances, but even if He doesn’t, we still worship Him. We still love Him. We still trust Him. We still follow Him. He proved His goodness at the cross in decisive fashion, and He will confirm it again on the Day when our tears are wiped away forever as the seemingly disconnected puzzles of our lives are pieced together in seamless clarity.
And until that Day, we wait, not for a different set of circumstances, but for Him.