This blog post started as a comment on Cara Strickland’s blog post on Why Wait. Cara commented that it appears I have broken my record on length of a comment. With that in mind I decided to turn it into a blog post with a few edits.
Waiting requires patience. From my favorite dictionary, patience is defined as the bearing of provocation annoyance, misfortune, pain, etc., without complaint, loss of temper, or irritation. An ability or willingness to suppress annoyance when confronted with delay. Quiet perseverance. (I love this dictionary!)
…that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. -Colossians 1:10-12
Patience and longsuffering with joy? Our culture has become one of instant gratification. Many years ago when we moved into our new old house (circa 1908), I took a couple of squares of our “lawn” down to the nursery to find out what I could do to bring it back to life. The gentleman, who planted many lawns during his career as a landscaper, gave me two choices. He said I could use Roundup to kill everything and start over or I could close my eyes and say to myself, “I have an English lawn, I have an English lawn”. Even through I have roots in England, I decided to pursue option one. When all the preparation work was complete (killing the old “lawn”, rototilling, trenching, laying somewhere around 1200 feet of pipe, installing valves and sprinkler heads, filling in all the trenches, adding 6 yards of new soil, and raking what seemed an eternity to get it level again) it would have been easy to spend a fortune ($1200) and laid sod for instant gratification. But a lawn started from seed is cheaper ($35 for the seed mix) and in the long run has deeper roots. In our hot climate the deeper roots require less watering and the grass can then survive the days when it gets over 100° F.
And so it is with God. He gives us His promises but they happen in His time (time does not actually exist in eternity). I fully understand what it means to wait. I have been in a storm for five years now and just when I think I’m about to pass through, a rogue wave comes crashing across my bow and threatens to sink me. But I hold on to God’s promises.
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
– 1 Peter 5:6-11