Whether it’s waiting in line, waiting in traffic, waiting for food service, waiting for an email or waiting for marriage, the world has become more impatient than ever.
Our disdain for waiting isn’t just the product of technology or generational shifts; it is an expression of something profoundly human.
Our perspective on waiting is perhaps one of the stronger ways our society is out of stride with the biblical worldview.
I would have lost heart unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord. (Psalm 27:13-14)
In the Old Testament, the psalmist celebrates waiting patiently for the Lord, and Isaiah promises that those “who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength…” (Isaiah 40:31).
Waiting on God is a characteristic of a believers faith. It’s an expression of the healthy heart’s desire and it’s an echo of the unparalleled power and grace of God, “who acts for those who wait for him” (Isaiah 64:4).
With all those centuries of waiting for the Messiah, you might think the waiting would be done once Jesus had come. But now we wait as much as ever, called to live in the shadow of his return. We are a people, “waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).
The church of the first century was a community that had “turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven” (1 Thessalonians 1:9–10), knowing that when he appears, he comes, “to save those who are eagerly waiting for him” (Hebrews 9:28).
The church has endured two millennia of extended waiting. We “groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (Romans 8:23). And as we bide our time on this side, we “keep [ourselves] in the love of God” by “waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life” (Jude 21).
Our inability to wait, and more to the point, wait on God, is the symptom of an immature faith. We get antsy with God and with others when we are made to delay gratification. Life is short, and we want what we want now and quickly lose heart if our plans (and even God’s plans) do not materialise quickly.
To wait is not the same thing as doing nothing. To wait is to whistle while you work.
Yes, our life is a vapour, a breath, and we are easily panicked by the fact. At every turn, the world insists that you, ‘Act Now’. But a growing and maturing faith is one that is learning to wait and treat every episode of contented wait training as a workout designed to strengthen your faith and your character so that you may stand ready for the next adventure.