Do you wait well? Most don’t. I don’t. About the time I think I am a patient person, I get stopped by a train driving across town, and I impatiently vacillate between anger and opportunity – angry my plans for a quick trip across town have been derailed, and opportunistically looking for a way to take side streets around the slow moving locomotive. I just don’t wait well.
One thing I have found over time is that my best efforts to shorten my wait at the train crossing on Robinson never result in any gained time. Anger only makes my wait worse. Trying to seize the opportunity to beat the train to Tecumseh inevitably only leads to waiting for the train at that intersection . . . and then I am two miles off my beaten path! The thing I have to consistently remember when I am waiting on the train is that the TRAIN IS MOVING. I don’t have to outrun the train, I just have to wait for the train to run its course. The train is moving at the appropriate speed to take its precious cargo to locations where it can then provide for the needs of others. On these trains might be grains that turn into our bread or oil that fuels our cars or heats our houses. The train is moving in a purposeful direction, even if I think it is just bringing a delay to my life.
I tell you this today, because we have difficulty waiting on things much more important than trains. In our spiritual lives, one of our greatest “tasks” is waiting on God. Isaiah 40:30-31 famously says, “Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly, Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.” Isaiah prophesied these words during a time when Israel was awaiting the coming of their Messiah. To the Israelites, it probably felt as though their Messiah would never come. Through Isaiah, God reminds His people to wait for the Lord’s arrival, because when He comes, He will provide them with everything that they need. Because of the benefit of where we sit in history, we know that God made good on that promise when He sent Jesus into the world as our Messiah about 500 years after this promise was issued in Isaiah 40.
As Christians in 2009, we also find ourselves awaiting our Messiah’s coming. This time, however, we wait for His second coming and the total fulfillment of His promises. We long for His return. When He returns, injustice will be done away with, suffering for His people will end, and the Kingdom will be established on the earth. As people who wait for this glorious moment, how do we wait well? Luke 18:1-8 tells us that when we wait well, we pray. We pray because we believe that our wait has purpose. We pray because we believe that God is moving along His plans at the appropriate speed to deliver His precious care to His people. We can’t hurry Him, because He is already moving at the perfect speed.
Many times we give up on praying because of anger or pursuing other opportunities. We either get angry at God for the speed of His response, or we seek out other opportunities to meet our needs. However tempting these options might be, God is honored by the faithful prayers of His people who wait on Him in prayer. This week at Wildwood Community Church, we will be looking at the topic of waiting on God in prayer. We will do this as the second (and final) part in our series on prayer, “Can You Hear Me Now?” See you Sunday in either the 9:30 or 10:50 service!