I have been in church my whole life, but there are some Christian phrases I try to avoid because I don’t really understand them. Like “Lord, please bless this food to our bodies.” What? Or, as Tim Hawkins points out, “hedge of protection”. Are we praying for bushes? Really? I’d also have to put “waiting on the Lord” in this category for myself. We sing it, we tell other people to do it, but when it comes right down to it, it’s something I don’t particularly enjoy practicing. Perhaps that is because we (or I) have a mistaken concept of what waiting on the Lord really means. It is not playing the quiet game with God. It does not mean sitting Indian-style on your couch for 5 minutes with the tv muted, trying to be spiritual enough to get God to produce the results you want. Waiting on God is far more difficult, but also far more effective, than that.
The way I see it, waiting on God has two components: trust and timing. If God has made a promise, He will keep it. Waiting on God is trusting that His word is true, and He will come through. It’s also trusting in His timing. There are times when waiting on God’s promise only last 5 minutes, but more often than not, it’s more like days, weeks, months, even years! (try “waiting” Indian-style for a few years haha)
Lately, my pastor has been talking about expectations. Around Christmas, he shared a really great message about Mary, the mother of Jesus. This woman gave birth to the Son of God in a barn, and yet she was content. She was “happy, even in the hay,”
as I believe my pastor put it. I’ve thought about that a lot, because I know if the angel Gabriel had told me I was going to give birth to the Son of God, my expectations would have been a little different. I would be thinking, “This is great! I’m in charge of God’s Son, so naturally everything is going to be just splendid. Surely God would want His Son to have top of the line care, housing, clothing, and transportation! Joseph, let’s go buy a Lexus, cuz God’s gonna need one to take care of this baby!”
But God’s ways are far far different from mine. His methods are different, His schedule is certainly different, and His thoughts are different. Lately I’ve been struggling a bit to be content where I am, because it’s not really what I want to be doing. I’d rather be in full-time ministry than full-time school and part-time retail. But I’m learning to trust His timing. I’m learning to wait on Him. And while it’s not likely that this period of waiting is going to be over within the next 5 minutes, I’m learning to be ok with that.