by Jacob Hudgins
God calls Abraham and gives him great promises of descendants and homeland, yet “he gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot’s length, but promised to give it to him as a possession and to his offspring after him, though he had no child”(Acts 7:5). He promises Jacob the land, yet allows him to deal with scheming Laban for 20 years.
Joseph dreams of his family bowing to him, yet it is hard years of slavery and despair before God’s purpose for him is fulfilled. Moses thinks by killing the Egyptian it is time to deliver God’s people (Acts 7:25), but he is wrong. He needed 40 years of desert shepherding to get him ready. David is anointed as a young boy, heralded as a great warrior as a young man, and seated at the king’s table—yet it will be many fugitive years before he becomes king.
All these men are used by God, yet combined, their stories tell of decades spent waiting.
Modern America has attempted to eliminate waiting. It is a source of great annoyance if our internet connection takes a few seconds to load, the stoplight is red for a minute, or our fast food isn’t fast enough. Scripture emphasizes the character-building value of waiting.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing”(James 1:2-4).
Waiting helps us develop maturity, making us “perfect and complete”. Waiting allows character to ripen as we develop patience and learn to lean on the Lord. It shows us that many tasks we have—such as raising children or pursuing a career path—are long-term projects. We gain perspective for our ultimate pursuit. Getting everything we want quickly and easily would spoil us; God wants us to appreciate what he does for us.
Embrace waiting! It’s good for us! “Wait for the Lord”(Psa 27:14)!