What I intended to say Sunday morning when I began writing was about the futility of impatience and wanting things before their time. In our lives, we often proclaim how we “can’t wait” for something to happen: to graduate high school/college, to get our own car, to live on our own, etc. At the other end of the spectrum, we are often asked when we are finally going to do something: get married, have children, go back to school, lose weight, grow up, etc. It seems everything in our lives, both inside and outside of us, is always telling us to rush, to stay busy. It sometimes escapes us the futility of trying to rush time.
The fact is, even if you think you can’t wait to turn eighteen, you still have to live the clock round until you get there. Many are familiar with Ecclesiastes chapter 3, in which Solomon proclaims that there is a time and a season for everything. He also says that God makes everything beautiful in its time. In order to get the best that God has for us, we have to trust His timing and not our own.
Although this is an encouragement, this is also a warning. When we try to preempt God’s timetable, we only delay those things we so desperately want, settling for inferior versions and not being as happy as we thought we would be once we gained them. When the people of Israel grew tired of waiting for Moses to return from receiving the law from God, they pushed Aaron to make them a god to worship, to give them a purpose and a direction. (Exodus 32) Even though God had promised them a land of their own and had brought them so far already, they were tired of waiting to hear what God had to say through his servant Moses. They thought Moses was never coming back. They needed to do something now.
There are all sorts of depictions of waiting in the Bible, some who wait on the Lord and some who take it upon themselves to do what they feel God is taking too long to do. Sarah, Abraham’s wife, looking at the passage of time and her barrenness up to that time, the unlikeliness of her ever conceiving a child rather than at God’s promise, gave Abraham her maid, thinking that maybe God “meant” for them to have a child that way. All Sarah did was end up being jealous and resentful towards Hagar. She felt the other woman was getting “above her station” and refusing to listen to her because of her newfound position as mother of Abraham’s child.
I’ve been guilty of doing this. I pray to God for something or ask for something, but it seems like time just keeps passing by without anything happening. After a while, it can be tempting to start to try and anticipate God’s answer, or to try to answer it ourselves in ways we know God didn’t mean for us to. Maybe God hasn’t answered my prayer for a husband because he wants me to put on my sexiest dress and somewhere I don’t like to be so that men can see me and want to get to know me. I have to go where the men are. Maybe I need to leave this job and step out on faith that God is finally going to grant me my dream job. Maybe, maybe, maybe.
It’s not always that I didn’t know that I was trying to force God’s hand, but that I really wanted what I wanted and I wanted it right now. I’ve experienced being delayed in life because I was going to do what I wanted to do–with college, with relationships, with my career, etc. I can’t tell you how hardheaded I was! I wanted to go to a certain school and that was it. We had the biggest blackout the Midwest had ever seen, they lost my rental reservation for my moving van, we rode through what seemed like an endless storm that turned day into night it was so dark and perilous, we got stuck in traffic for hours, we arrived after check in time…and I didn’t care. All of that was just a couple of days, let alone all the hardship to get to that point. It just kept getting harder. I couldn’t understand how God could bring me that far just to leave me…until I realized that God didn’t bring me there at all.
As I said yesterday, I get asked all the time when I will be getting married. It’s a hard pill to swallow. It can grate on your self esteem when you begin to wonder why you haven’t been asked. You can be tempted to compare yourself to others and think “I deserve this more than her. She’s this or that and somebody married her.” It would be easy to be more sad and frustrated with each new friend that gets engaged or married instead of being genuinely happy for them. It can be hard to just…wait. But God’s timing is perfect. The truth is, I don’t want to be married to “somebody;” never have, never will. I don’t just want to be married; I want to having a loving, lasting marriage. I want a God given man. I don’t know why people are really getting married and if God has been included in it. I can’t predict whether or not their marriages will be as successful as they hope. What I know for myself is that I want to be made into a wife that can be a help to the type of husband I want. I know that God has a lot for me to do “in the meantime”, as I told my girls in the Purity class I taught. God wants us to trust Him and obey Him, to have a relationship with Him; if that’s not my focus, why should He give me a husband?
A husband or wife is a responsibility. They are a gift from God, but they are a work as well. It is our job to help one another to be closer to God, to live according to His word, to help each other get to Heaven. If I can’t even listen to Him single, when I can be totally devoted to the Lord…?
I have so much to say about waiting and patience. I even started a draft about this very thing that has nothing to do with the subject of this post. I can’t say it all in two posts. For now, suffice it to say that God’s timing is perfect. I won’t be a Sarah, losing heart and taking things into my own hands, only to end up upset and embittered by it. I will wait on the Lord. Timing is everything, after all.