And what do we get?
No answer to the prayer. No justice for the suffering. No reward for the work. Betrayal in exchange for trust. Spite in exchange for love. Prison for preaching. Insults for serving.
And a not-so-gentle, yet greatly needed, reminder that our God is not in a hurry. Our Holy Scriptures tell us repeatedly, “Wait for the Lord.”
But we’re so conditioned to expecting instant gratification. If we don’t know the dates of the Civil War we don’t labor through the pages of an encyclopedia or call the library. Come on! I’m only two clicks and three seconds away from the answer on my computer—plus everything else I’d ever want to know. My lunch at What-A-Burger takes forever. Sometimes four minutes! I don’t wait for Dale Hanson or SportsDay to tell me which Cowboy got arrested over the weekend. I have ESPN. And ESPN2. And ESPNNews. And ESPN.com. My kids don’t wait for Saturday morning to watch cartoons. They’re on at least four or five channels 24 hours a day. If there’s a line at Wal-Mart, we step two rows over to check ourselves out with a swipe and a self-sack and a half-nod to the guy at the door. Wait? We don’t wait for anything.
“Wait for the Lord”
It’s hard for us. It’s hard for me.
Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy once wrote, “The greatest temptation of our time is impatience, in its full original meaning: refusal to wait, to undergo, to suffer. We seem unwilling to pay the price of living with our fellows in creative and profound relationships.” He wrote that in 1946. 63 years ago.
Over 2,700 years ago, Isaiah wrote this: “The Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who will wait for him!” ~Isaiah 30:18
Eugene Peterson translates it this way in The Message: “God’s not finished. He’s waiting around to be gracious to you. He’s gathering strength to show mercy to you. God takes the time to do everything right—everything. Those who wait around for him are the lucky ones.”
Lucky? No. Blessed? Yes, blessed. Very richly blessed.
God’s doing something right now in your life. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been out of work, how long you’ve been battling the cancer, how long your prayers have gone unanswered, how long you’ve been estranged from your children, how wide the chasm between you and your spouse, how deep the pit of despair, how deafening the silence. It doesn’t matter. God is doing something wonderful.
Wait for the Lord.