When God makes you wait? Who likes that one? I must confess to you, I have a wait problem. I hate waiting, I struggle to wait for things and I want things instantly!
Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!
I have often said that this is my least favourite verse in the Bible, because I hate waiting for anything, don’t you?
We live in a society that demands things immediately. We have instant coffee, Instant communication, instant cash loans. We want everything now, and we will even pay interest to buy something on credit so we don’t have to wait! Buy now, pay later, 24 months interest free, but when God makes you wait, there is always a reason.
GOOD THINGS COME TO THOSE WHO ARE WAITING ON GOD
My parents taught me the principle, “Good things come to those who wait.” In their generation they knew how to wait for something good. They saved rather than use credit. They persisted rather than quitting. They saw it through!
In our modern world, if it doesn’t happen quick, we move on to something else. We change channel, we click on the next link. Researchers now tell us that 50-80% of Internet users leave a website in 8 seconds or less. In fact, when we go online we experience frontal lobe changes, resulting in us reading less thoroughly and skimming more.
And we’re like that with everything in life… Our job, sometimes marriage, often church… We don’t wait, we don’t persist, we just quit!
The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.
Our spiritual condition is not a smash and grab, it’s a long, slow, persistent and sustained growth. When God makes you wait, He has His reasons!
We all know that waiting, while it might be uncomfortable, generally results in good things. So what are you waiting for in God right now? What are you seeking Him for which seems delayed in coming?
DELAYED GRATIFICATION EXPERIMENT: THE MARSHMALLOW EXPERIMENT
A 40 Year experiment by Stanford professor Walter Mischel began in the 1960s.
During his experiments, Mischel and his team tested hundreds of children of around the ages of 4 and 5 years old and revealed what is now believed to be one of the most important characteristics for success in health, work, and life.
The experiment began by bringing each child into a private room, sitting them down in a chair, and placing a marshmallow on the table in front of them.
At this point, the researcher offered a deal to the child.
The researcher told the child that he was going to leave the room and that if the child did not eat the marshmallow while he was away, then they would be rewarded with a second marshmallow. However, if the child decided to eat the first one before the researcher came back, then they would not get a second marshmallow.
So the choice was simple: one treat right now or two treats later.
The researcher left the room for 15 minutes.
As you can imagine, the footage of the children waiting alone in the room was rather entertaining. Some kids jumped up and ate the first marshmallow as soon as the researcher closed the door. Others wiggled and bounced and scooted in their chairs as they tried to restrain themselves, but eventually gave in to temptation a few minutes later. And finally, a few of the children did manage to wait the entire time.
Then they tracked these same children over decades, and the results are interesting…
The children who were willing to delay gratification and waited to receive the second marshmallow ended up having higher SAT scores, lower levels of substance abuse, lower likelihood of obesity, better responses to stress, better social skills as reported by their parents, and generally better scores in a range of other life measures.
In other words, this ability to wait and delay gratification is proven to be critical for success in almost every aspect of life.
Success usually comes down to choosing the pain of discipline over the ease of distraction. And that’s exactly what delayed gratification is all about.
Later researchers added a twist… They gave the children varied experiences before they ran this test. So some kids were let down by the researcher, promised things that never happened. Others were given reliable experiences, promised things and then given what they were promised.
The children in the unreliable group had no reason to trust that the researchers would bring a second marshmallow and thus they didn’t wait very long to eat the first one.
Meanwhile, the children in the second group were training their brains to see delayed gratification as a positive. Every time the researcher made a promise and then delivered on it, the child’s brain registered two things: 1) waiting for gratification is worth it and 2) I have the capability to wait. As a result, the second group waited an average of four times longer than the first group.
So learning to wait patiently is about trusting the one you are waiting for.
That’s why I have you reading the Bible every day. If you learn to know the Lord, you will learn to trust Him. You will learn to trust Him so much that you will wait for Him. Knowing leads to trust leads to waiting patiently.
GIVE ME PATIENCE, AND GIVE IT NOW!
One Bible story that illustrates lack of patience, and particularly connects with men, is the story of Esau. We can understand how Esau felt after he came in from a long day in the fields. He had been hunting, and he was tired, hot and famished. Hunger consumed him, so much so that his appetite, and his desire for immediate gratification, overruled his self-control, and his care for his future, and generations to come! He had no thought for the future. He saw it, smelled it and wanted that stew—now!
We’ve all been there, literally and figuratively. Just before mealtime you’re raiding the cupboard or the fridge. “Where’s something to tide me over? Got to have something! So what if I ruin my appetite?” You want it now.
And food is just the beginning: New electronic “toys” beckon. The latest vacation spot beckons. New car, new house… So to get what we want, now, we unadvisedly bust the budget.
Or We see an alluring woman and lust sparks our desire. We take a step closer. Our appetite overrules self-control. But there’s always a price to pay.
Instead of going to God’s Word for direction when tough temptations loom, or instead of using the brains God gave us, we go with our gut. Or worse, we fly on autopilot, not giving a second thought to the consequences of our actions. Enjoy now, pay later!
Like Esau giving up his birthright for some bread and stew, we sometimes exchange true joy for a temporary thrill, a blessed future for immediate fulfillment. We carelessly toss aside our imperishable spiritual birthright for a consumable—and fleeting—fantasy.
BUY NOW! PAY LATER! FOR A LIMITED TIME!
The rewards of obedience to God’s will are flushed away every day by such hasty, impatient choices. We give up our financial security or our own sexual purity for a rush that lasts only seconds. The regret, however, can last for years.
So before giving in, stop and pray. Give it some time. Then take another look at the price tag on that spiritual birthright God offers. It’s marked “priceless,” so don’t throw it away in your impatience! When God makes you wait, you need to wait trusting Him.
Here’s a hint… Jesus, when it’s Him asking you to do something, always says “count the cost”.
For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?
Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him,
saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’
Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?
And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.
So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
But the devil never asks you to count the cost! He says, like Nike, “Just do it.” Buy now, pay later, but he doesn’t reveal the cost of the later payment.
But God does… He warns us, and when God makes you wait, you better listen…
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.
For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
WHY DOES GOD MAKE YOU WAIT?
GOD MAKES YOU WAIT BECAUSE HE HAS HIS REASONS
God is God. He is in control of all things, and He loves you. But so many Christians chase Him for what He can do, not who He is. When God makes you wait, He has His reasons!
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Things is, God is not a performing dog. I know of people travelling interstate to see a prophet or healing ministry. That’s not wrong or bad, but it will not sustain you in your darkest hour. God’s Word will.
Don’t build your life on signs and wonders, on the latest fad or the bug successful church or ministry. They are great, but God is God, and He is the one you need to know personally. If He makes you wait, He has His reasons. Don’t stop your quest to know Him more by focusing on the good things He blesses you with, or could bless you with!
Remember, When God makes you wait, He has His reasons, so trust Him!
GOD MAKES YOU WAIT TO SHOW HIS POWER AND SOVEREIGNTY
Sometimes it is to show His power and His sovereignty, that men may know that the Lord has a right to give or to withhold. More frequently the delay is for our profit, so that we might learn to trust Him more, no matter the circumstances, no matter the cost!
He does this so we don’t trust in the manifestations of God, but God Himself.
And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Job knew that God can give, and He can take. He is sovereign. Job said he would trust even if God decides to allow him to suffer loss. Do you trust God that much?
We lost a lot of money 7 years ago in an investment collapse, including our home. All through that time this verse from Job meant so much to us and I reached the point where I told God that even if He takes my money, my home and even those I love from me, or delays what I might feel I need or want, I will not stop trusting God!
Though he slay me, I will hope in him;
GOD MAKES YOU WAIT SO THAT YOUR DESIRES MAY BECOME MORE FERVENT
Perhaps you are kept waiting in order that your desires may be more fervent. God knows that delay will quicken and increase desire, and that if He keeps you waiting, you will see your necessity more clearly and will seek more earnestly; and that you will prize the mercy all the more for its long tarrying.
Remember the parable of the persistent widow. She was relentless. She wouldn’t give up, and the unrighteousness judge eventually gave in, not because he was a good person, but because she persisted.
yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’”
Often we want God to bless us. But if we are not desperate enough to seek God with all our hearts, then do we actually need it that much? When God makes you wait, He has His reasons… Delay makes us either give up, or press in… How will you respond?
GOD MAKES YOU WAIT BECAUSE IT ALLOWS SOMETHING IN YOU TO BE REMOVED… SELF
There may also be something in you that needs to be removed before the joy of the Lord is given.
We might be capable of making it happen, and then we rely on ourselves not God. One of the hardest things is asking God and waiting, not trying to make something happen under our own steam.
This is so important, God gives many examples of what not to do. Saul, for example, who lost the kingdom because he got impatient and took action himself instead of trusting God…
1 Samuel 13:8-9
He waited seven days, the time appointed by Samuel. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and the people were scattering from him.
So Saul said, “Bring the burnt offering here to me, and the peace offerings.” And he offered the burnt offering.
Yet Paul says this…
2 Corinthians 3:5
Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God,
Perhaps you may be placing some little reliance on yourself instead of trusting entirely to the Lord Jesus.
Taking matters into our own hands means taking them out of God’s hands.
Unless the Lord Builds the House
A Song of Ascents. Of Solomon. Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.
A little boy and his father visited the country store. Upon leaving the store the owner of the store offered the little boy some free candy. “Get a handful of candy”, the merchant said to the boy. The boy just stood there looking up at his father. The owner repeated himself, “Son, get a handful of candy; it’s free.” Again the boy did not move, continuing to look up in the face of his father. Finally, the father reached into the candy jar and got a handful of candy and gave it to his son. As they walked back home, the father stopped and asked his son why he did not grab a handful of the free candy. The boy, with a big smile on his face, looked into the face of his father and said, “Because I know that your hand is bigger than mine.”
When God makes you wait, He has His reasons.
GOD MAKES YOU WAIT BECAUSE HE IS ARRANGING THINGS
Corrie Ten Boom popularised this poem…
My Life is but a weaving
between my Lord and me;
I cannot choose the colors
He worketh steadily.
Oft times He weaveth sorrow
And I, in foolish pride,
Forget He sees the upper,
And I the under side.
Not til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly,
Shall God unroll the canvas
And explain the reason why.
The dark threads are as needful
In the Weaver’s skillful hand,
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned.
He knows, He loves, He cares,
Nothing this truth can dim.
He gives His very best to those
Who leave the choice with Him.
You cannot see the big picture, only your little bit. God sees all, controls all and is arranging all things to bring it about perfectly. He has a perfect timing.
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.
And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
In God all things hold together… Everything, including whatever it is you are waiting for. He is behind the scenes orchestrating it all, allowing you to wait for His perfect timing.
If you kick a football down the field in a game, they will tell you that’s a waste. But if a star player runs onto it from an onside position, you are a genius! What’s the difference? Timing.
If I buy a house or some shares, and the economy collapses, I’m a failure. If I buy a house or shares and there’s a sudden boom, I’m a genius. What’s the differences? Timing.
If you bake a cake and you take it out of the oven too early it’s gooey in the centre, too late and its burnt on the edges. What’s the way to cook a perfect cake? Timing.
Joseph waited 13 years
Abraham waited 25 years
Moses waited 40 years
Jesus waited 30 years
If God is making you wait
You’re in good company
So what is it you are waiting for, and how patiently and trustingly are you waiting? If you face major needs today, if you’re sick and tired of waiting for God, maybe for healing, maybe for finances, maybe for a change of situation. Perhaps you’re waiting for a partner in life, or for someone you love to get saved.
If this is you, and if you are weary of waiting or if your trust in your Father is dwindling, then we need to pray with you. Come forward and let’s pray and believe for His perfect timing, and your perfect trust and attitude while you wait!
Next week we will continue this series and I will show you exactly how to wait the right way for God’s provision and blessing. But you’ll have to wait until next Sunday for that…
SO when God makes you wait, you must trust that God makes you wait for the right reasons, His reasons.