Have you ever had to wait for something longer than you wanted? Last Sunday I was driving to church, having a wonderful conversation with the Lord, excited about the service that night. I was one stop light away from the parking lot when the light turned yellow and then to red. I stopped. I waited. There was no one else. I waited more. Still, no one else came. I sat at what I decided was the longest light ever made and contemplated running the red light. Now, when I drive I have two very clear rules: buckle up for safety and never run red lights. Yet, as I was waiting at this light, looking back and forth, seeing no cars and no people around, I was tempted to say “screw it” and run the light. I contemplated breaking the law so that I could get to the church and worship (that’s pretty funny right there!) but I didn’t. Instead I waited rather impatiently, upset because what I wanted was being delayed.
How often do we do this? How often do we try to bypass the waiting so we can more quickly get what we want? It’s sad how many temper tantrums (because that’s exactly what they are) I’ve thrown because I felt like God was withholding something I wanted or needed. Yet, God is patient and lovingly guides me despite my entitlement and insanity.
“You can have it now, but if you just wait, I’l give you all you want and more.”
A few months back I was thinking about nothing really in particular, when I felt God speak this to me and I hid it away for future use. As I was sitting impatiently at that light, God brought this back to my mind, reminding me that some things are most definitely worth the wait. We grow in those uncomfortable waiting spaces; waiting prepares us for reaping, waiting prepares us for performance. Waiting helps us to appreciate and cherish the thing once we have it.
Galatians 6:6-10 says:
“Don’t be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!—harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life.
So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.”
Today, in our technologically driven world, it can be easy to forget the principles of sowing and reaping, but the truth is, whatever we plant is what we’ll harvest, it’s that simple. All those times I plant impatience because I feel God is taking too long, I’m only going to reap weeds! I’m going to reap nothing useful from that situation. But, if I am intentional to plant those God-traits like patience and faithfulness, eventually I will reap useful things into my life.
To me, the really cool thing about these verses is that whatever we plant, whatever we focus on, whatever traits we display, are for others. When I plant those positive things in my life like love and grace and peace and patience, others benefit! Our good works, our endurance despite our desire to move, can all be to the benefit of the people around us. You may have no idea how many other people will be encouraged by your story of faith as they play the waiting game.
If you’re in that waiting space, I want to encourage you to not give up. It’s so easy to get impatient when you’re in a place of waiting, but don’t. Use the discomfort and the opportunity for frustration to draw closer to God. He is with you in that waiting space, don’t squander this time of intimacy and preparation by complaining or comparing, use it to deepen your relationship with Him.
How different would our world look if we learned to wait well? Let’s choose to use the waiting game to our advantage, making the most of every opportunity to grow and learn and encourage others along the way.