Does anyone remember when ordering from Amazon took 4-6 weeks? I remember the panic and frustration of finding out I needed a book for a class on the first day, and not being able to use Amazon because I wouldn’t get it until halfway through the semester. Then being super frustrated that I had to pay an inflated and ridiculous price from the university book store to get it right away. Nowadays I can be browsing Amazon, see a book I’m interested in, order it, and have it in 2 days, sometimes the next day if I get lucky. There is no more weighing if I am really gonna still want it in 4-6 weeks. There is no considering what I’ll be doing in 4-6 weeks, will I have time to read? Will I be going through my current circumstance, when I finally receive the book that I think will solve the problem?
When God is asking me to wait, he knows everything about my circumstance. He knows everything about what my life will be like when he finally gives me a no or a yes. He knows that I will be ready, and I will be grateful when he finally answers. He knows lightyears ahead of me that the waiting is the good stuff.
The time spent pining for that book or item that will be in my mailbox in 4-6 weeks makes the item even better when it arrives. It has been in my mind for so long that my desire has deepened for it. The anticipation of it’s arrival has made me more grateful, more excited, and more willing to engage with it. I no longer receive the book and set it on my nightstand with the 3-4 others I’ve ordered in the past week from a late night Amazon binge. I have waited 4-6 weeks for this thing, and now I will devour it in 2-3 hours.
Like an amazon book I’ve waited an interminable amount of time to enjoy, the things the Lord says wait to are made better by the waiting. My three kids have currently been playing sans intervention from me for 30 minutes: 30 whole minutes. I have literally waited 7 years to not have someone hanging on me, needing my attention. But without the 7 years of waiting, would I be so incredibly grateful for this moment? Would I relish it quite as much as I am sitting here typing this? Would I know the agony, the tears, the exhaustion it took to get to this moment? No, I would for sure take this moment for granted if my kid came out the womb self sufficient. (I don’t deny that I still firmly believe that that would be amazing, but I am making a point here.) If I didn’t know the opposite of this heaven, it wouldn’t be heaven at all.
Similarly, if I didn’t know what it was like to have my brother in jail, and my sister in rehab simultaneously, I might not be incredibly grateful that now his record is swept clean, and she is clean and sober. I might not marvel at their lives, and how they’ve come so far. I might not see that even though the journey was long, and hard, it was worth every second. And I might not know my God so closely that I can have faith that the waiting will be worth it eventually. I can have faith that in the waiting I learned more than I could have learned if their redemption had been delivered to my doorstep next day with free shipping.
The answer is sweeter once the waiting has happened. The answer to David becoming king was a long time coming, but once it was fulfilled it was in the most abundant way possible. He was king of all Israel, and they all respected him. They all saw how he was in battle, how he acted and reacted with Saul, and how good he was to those who were loyal to him. His people saw that in the waiting David had been doing the right things. He didn’t immediately kill Saul when given the chance, he didn’t jump the gun on taking over all the kingdoms, he waited until allegiance was his. He waited on answers for the Lord before becoming king over all of Israel. David waited, and for that he was rewarded.
“The war between the house of Saul and the house of David lasted a long time. David grew stronger and stronger, while the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker.” 2 Samuel 3:1
As David fought his way to be king of Israel, he and his people grew stronger and stronger. As David waited on the Lord, his strength was made new, and he was a better king for it. As we wait, we are made into the people that God needs us to be when we finally get the thing we are waiting for. God needed me to be faithful, He needed me to trust Him, He needed me to love him unconditionally. He needed me to learn these things deeply, not just read them. And the only way I could find my way to those things, the only way David could find his way to strength, loyalty, and trust in God, was in the waiting.
“…but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31
Where in your life have you had to wait? Maybe days, maybe months, maybe years? Where did you see that He is faithful? What did you learn in the waiting? Was that 4-6 painful weeks waiting for an answer a stepping stone to the better you that we see now? Has your strength been renewed? Do you trust more? Have faith more? Do you feel closer to God?
And now as we wait for this weird time in history to be over, or at least a little less strange than it is right now, what can we see in the waiting? What are we anticipating, and why would God be asking us to wait? And what important work do we need to be doing in the meantime? Let’s do the work now, and make the waiting worth it.
Week 6 Reading: 2 Samuel 6-10
- List five things you are grateful for right now.
- How do you show God that you are thankful for these things?