I am a planner- I like to plot the next steps, and know what I’m doing next. On holiday, I am terrible! I can’t relax until I have organised the events for every day. The idea of waking up and deciding what to do on the spur of the moment stresses me out.
That is why I like characters like Nehemiah- he goes to Jerusalem, assesses the situation, makes his plan then follows through. The thing is with Scripture, this model seems to be an exception, not the rule.
Time and time again, in God’s word we see Him make a promise and then people have to wait on Him to see the fulfilment. Whenever they took their eyes off God and tried to plan and strive to achieve the promise, it caused trouble for them.
Abraham and Sarah waited 40 years to see the fulfilment of God’s word to them in the birth of Isaac. As they worked out the reality of the promise in their own strength, it caused problems then, and is still causing problems today, as Islam claims Ishmael as a prophet.
In the classic Hebrews 11 Hall of Faith passage, many great men and women died before they saw the realisation of the promise God made them. Yet they waited on God and they are remembered for their faithfulness.
Waiting on God seems an incredibly passive task. It gives the impression of a waiting room, people sat around doing nothing, killing time, reading mind numbing magazines or scrolling through their phones. It evokes a sense of boredom.
But, in reality, waiting on God is an intense procedure. There is a battle being waged between body, soul and spirit. As Paul says, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. We want to wait on God, but our body wants to act; we have to (metaphorically) beat our bodies into submission, take hold of our minds to prevent them forming their own plans to create the fulfilment of God’s promises. We take captive those thoughts that tell us, maybe God forgot His promise to us, maybe He won’t come through this time.
To wait on God is a challenging discipline. You can’t put a time limit on it as we do so often with other parts of our walk with Him. We give Him the first half hour of our day. We give Him two hours on a Sunday. We know that after 12.30, it is up to us how we spend the rest of the day. No. Waiting on God sacrifices our time. We lay down our plans, where we see ourselves in ten years time, what we want to achieve, our chores and lists that occupy us and keep us busy, forfeit the new novel or TV show we want to watch. These things are all fleeting
I know, Lord, that our lives are not our own. We are not able to plan our own course.
Am I willing to submit my plans and goals to the Almighty Creator, who made me for His own purposes on this earth? Am I willing to wait 40 years? Am I willing to die before the reality of God’s promises to me, should that be the timing and will of the Lord? I don’t know that I want to, and yet I must learn to wait on Him.