I hate waiting. It brings out the worst in me! Rush hour traffic, the “express” line at the grocery store — waiting in any form pretty much drives me crazy.
I start off being patient and understanding. I try to think positive thoughts and be extra gracious, you know, real Christian-like. But inevitably, it wears off. And then, I just can’t stand it anymore! I get sick of the lack of progress being made. I get fed up with wasting time doing nothing.
So I take matters into my own hands. I blow the horn. I try to switch lanes in bumper to bumper traffic. I jump in another checkout line at the grocery store, only to watch the other line suddenly start moving at warp speed as soon as I get out of it. (Why does that always happen?!)
My impatience and frustration cause me to spend precious time and energy trying to change things, but my efforts rarely work.
We all do it from time to time.
We’re tired of waking up everyday to a job we hate so we focus on finding a new one, instead of waiting to hear from God about what our next step should be and being grateful to have employment at all.
We’re tired of waiting for the right relationship, so we settle for the “close enough” relationship.
We’re tired of scrimping and saving to pay cash for this year’s summer vacation, so we charge it now and ask questions later.
The weight of the wait can be so heavy that, if we’re not careful, it will pull us away from the only One who can carry the load we’re trying to bear.
Do you remember when God miraculously led the people of Israel out of Egypt, parting the Red Sea right before their eyes in Exodus 14, only for them to turn around a few chapters later and erect a golden calf and call it their “god?”
They buckled under the weight of the wait and were pulled away from the God who could deliver them.
When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, “Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.”
And [Aaron] received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt!” (Exodus 32:1, 4)
Sometimes all it takes is a little delay to get us to doubt what we know to be true about God.
The same people who “saw the great power that the Lord used against the Egyptians,” “feared the Lord, and … believed in the Lord and His servant Moses” (Ex. 14:31) and promised to keep God’s commands and be obedient to Him (Ex. 24:3, 7) now worshipped at the feet of a manmade statue.
The people gave in to the “pull” — the weight — of Moses’ delayed return. When you’re in a season of waiting, watch out for these tempters that will lure you away from God’s best for your life.
Pull #1: Being led by what you see instead of what God said
Did you notice how Exodus 32:1 says the people “saw” Moses delayed in his return from the mountain? In their impatience, what the people could see became more important than the directives God had given. While waiting, you and I must resolve to remain faithful to obey God, no matter what our eyes or ears tell us.
Pull #2: Focusing on people instead of the promises of God
Did you see how the people pinned their desire for a god on Moses’ absence? While we wait, we must be vigilant not to use other people as an excuse to dishonor God. Remember, just like the Israelites:
You’ve seen enough and you know enough to obey God for yourself.
As a follower of Jesus, you have everything you need to obey. What other people do should never be your focus.
Pull #3: Assuming that a delay means you should do something
Seeing that Moses was nowhere to be found, the Israelites did what comes so easy to us in times like these. They came up with a plan. They said to Aaron, “Up!” Other versions say, “Do something” (Message Version) or, “Come on.” (New Living Translation)
When we think God isn’t doing anything, we figure that we should do something. This is a lie! Here is the truth we must rehearse:
God is always working, even when I can’t see Him.
God is always doing something. Did you know that? Jesus said, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” (John 5:17)
God is never asleep at the switch. He does not need an understudy. When He wants you to do something, He’ll tell you. When He puts you and I in a season of waiting, it’s not to see our best Savior of the World impression. It’s to build our faith in His promises and character.
As we wait, may we put our hope and trust in the eternally Faithful One.
But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.
They spread their wings and soar like eagles,
They run and don’t get tired,
they walk and don’t lag behind. – Isaiah 40:31 (The Message)
Lord, help us to wait well. When the weight of the wait seems too much to bear, and the pull to go our own way is so strong, stop us in our tracks. When we feel tired, give us fresh strength. Remind us that you are good and you are faithful. Remind us of the Red Seas you’ve parted in our lives. Remind us that you are trustworthy and even when we can’t see it, you are always on the move.
Think About It
Which “pull” do you most identify with during this season of your life?
How has God used waiting to strengthen your faith?
What action steps will you put in place to fight against the “pulls?”