SCRIPTURE: Psalm 40:1 (TM)
I waited and waited and waited for God. At last he looked; finally he listened.
Jim Reapsome shares: “Teenage prostitutes, during interviews in a San Francisco study, were asked: ‘Is there anything you needed most and couldn't get?’ Their response, invariably preceded by sadness and tears was unanimous: ‘What I needed most was someone to listen to me. Someone who cared enough to listen to me.’"
Isn’t our need just like the teenage prostitutes… someone who cares enough to listen? The Psalmist expresses the universal feelings of all of us… “finally he listened.” But there are many who feel that God somehow doesn’t listen to them. They’ve waited and waited and waited… and heard nothing. There was just silence… deafening silence. Where did God go? We desperately needed someone to listen, thought God would, but the silence over takes us.
Maybe if we are honest enough each of us could admit to being overtaken by the silence of God at one point or another in our journey through life. And then comes this advice from G. Campbell Morgan: “Waiting for God is not laziness. Waiting for God is not going to sleep. Waiting for God is not the abandonment of effort. Waiting for God means, first, activity under command; second, readiness for any new command that may come; third, the ability to do nothing until the command is given.”
We are not patient people. We want what we want and we want it now… even a response from heaven. Our lives are marked by the word fast. Fast food, instant this and instant that, microwave meals, eating on the run … hurry here and hurry there. Do we have time to wait, especially waiting on God?
Maybe the silence from God is a result of our inability or lack of desire to pause long enough for God to answer. We do not like to wait… unless it is in a line for a ride at Disney World. We just do not like sitting and doing nothing. We are busy people. Our days are overly scheduled. The lives of our children are so orchestrated so that they have little free time. We are training them to be impatient people.
God moves at a different pace. We (or at least it is true for me) have to slow down and take the time to wait. Often I run ahead of God. He has revealed what he wants to see happen, but I don’t wait for him to say… NOW. It is on my schedule in my time which is usually immediately. But, God didn’t tell me to start and most often the result is failure.
When will we learn the valuable lesson that we need to simply wait? Waiting is a spiritual art form. It takes spiritual discipline to wait. It requires spiritual insight to realize that God will speak when the time is right. Waiting is preparation time. Waiting is hard, but necessary to make sure that everything is in place. Just look at how long Jesus was in the dessert before starting his ministry. The Bible is filled with stories of people waiting for God to instruct them to begin to move in this direction or that. It is also filled with people who didn’t wait and failed.
Waiting on God to speak demands more from us then actually doing his divine will. Waiting is hard, probably the hardest thing we will be asked by God to do, but wait we must.
Give us the patience to wait. Give us the spiritual insights during the waiting periods. Show us what we are meant to do during those long waiting periods. Help us to attune our hearing to your voice so that when you do speak we will be prepared to move.