Patience is not a virtue that I possess. I want quick results, fast food, immediate responses, and I don’t want to be put on hold when I call. Gone are the days of having to wait for the weekly newspaper to be published to find out the latest news. The internet has made it possible to find out all of the latest news with the click of a button. We can easily find out what is happening here in the United States, or any place in the world, by searching news websites or by searching Google. Back in the 1800s, if you wanted to send a letter to someone, you might have sent it by Pony Express. Depending on how far the letter had to travel, you could be waiting for weeks, or even months, for the letter to arrive. In modern times, we can mail a letter, and it will arrive in just a few days. If you need information delivered faster than a few days, then you send the info by email. With a few strokes on the keyboard, your message can be delivered within seconds. Wow! That is sure faster than waiting for some guy to ride across the country on a horse.
Waiting is painful for me. We have been so conditioned for instant gratification, that waiting has turned into a bad word. There are even phrases about waiting that make me think that others hate waiting as much as I do. “A watched pot never boils” and “It is like watching paint dry,” are two sayings that I have heard many times in my life. I am not sure who came up with these sayings, who wants to watch water boil or paint drying?
When I woke up this morning, I had a Bible verse delivered to me by email. The verse talked about waiting on the Lord, and that got me to thinking.
14 Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
This verse reminded me that waiting is not a bad thing. I am supposed to wait. Waiting is part of a process, and I am supposed to be strong while I wait. Worrying, fretting, and trying to change the situation is not what the verse says.
There are many examples of waiting in the Bible. Noah waited patiently while building an ark that the Lord directed him to create. Moses waited patiently to see the Promised Land while still leading the people according to the directions of the Lord. Joseph waited for his destiny after being sold by his brothers. And, even Jesus waited until he was 30 years old to start his ministry. Everyone waited for the Lord’s timing, but they all kept their faith in the Lord and working toward their calling.
King David’s story of waiting to become king has always intrigued me.
1 Samuel 16:11-13
11 So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.” Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.” 12 So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.” 13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David. Samuel then went to Ramah.
David was considered so insignificant by his family, that they didn’t even send for him when Samuel was coming to choose the King of Israel. Even after Samuel anoints him, David was sent back into the pasture to tend the sheep. But, David was waiting on the Lord and learning the skills that he would later need to become king.
David tended the sheep, he played the lyre, he honed his skill of using a slingshot, he even was in an apprenticeship of sorts for the job of the king when he ministered to Saul. The skills he learned while being a shepherd trained him for the battle with Goliath.
1 Samuel 17:34-36
34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant was tending his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock, 35 I went out after him and attacked him, and rescued it from his mouth; and when he rose up against me, I seized him by his beard and struck him and killed him. 36 Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, since he has taunted the armies of the living God.”
In David’s mind, facing lions and bears were probably more terrifying than going into battle against the giant, Goliath. In every situation, David met his battles head-on, and he called upon the Lord for help and direction. He trusted that the Lord had given him everything that he needed for the battle, even if it was only a slingshot and a few flat stones.
It was close to 20 years between the time that Samuel anointed David, and the time that he became King of Israel. During that time, he surely wondered to himself, “when it is going to be my time?” But, we are told that David was a man after God’s heart. I am sure that David’s ability to wait on the Lord’s timing, while putting his trust in the Lord, was a big reason that he had God’s heart.
22 After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’
So, while I am still not a fan of waiting, I have come to understand that waiting is part of the process. Waiting is the time when my skill can be honed so that I am ready and able to step into my calling. And, it turns out that waiting is not a bad word.
Have A Blessed Day!