Have you ever contemplated why the person who serves you in a restaurant is called either a wait-er or wait-ress?

Maybe it is because a restaurant is a place of wait-ing.

You wait to be seated.

You wait to order your food.

You wait for your food.

You wait for your bill.

You wait for your change or to sign your credit card slip.

Life is filled with waiting.

One of the most challenging words in Scripture is “wait.”

At the age of 75, Abraham received a promise from God (Gen 12:1-10). Ten years passed before Ishmael was born.  Another 15 years passed before Isaac (the promised son) was born.  Abraham was 160 before he became a grandparent to Jacob and Esau, and when he died, he was still living in a tent.

Had God forgotten His promise?

No.

Abraham was taking the time test.

What is the purpose of the time test?

The time test forces believers to trust God in all things and at all times.  It strengthens their resolve to believe that God will fulfill His Word, but in His time and in His way.  This test also pushes believers to trust in God despite the circumstances. It also reveals impatience, pride and a lack of submission to our Father.

Although we are eager to claim God’s promises, we often forget that their fulfillment is not always instantaneous!  There is always a time of testing or waiting in between.

The problem is that God’s timing does not always sync with our timing.  When this happens, we tend to take things into our own hands, just as Abraham did.

Growing impatient with God’s timetable, Abraham decided to “help” God fulfill His promise (Genesis 16).  He and Sarah came up with a plan to use Sarah’s handmaiden, Hagar, to bring about the conception of a son.  However, God had promised Abraham only one son, through Sarah.  This son would inherit the land.  Because of Abraham’s failure of the time test, Ishmael was born, resulting in a conflict that still affects the Middle East today.

When we react, rather than respond by waiting (seeking, trusting, focusing, praying), we suffer various kinds of serious consequences.  Nothing good comes from us trying to help God.  The good comes when we learn to wait on Him and allow Him to work.

How many times do I try to “fix” things?

How often have I tried to help God out and
found myself in a bigger mess?

Thankfully, God’s grace is STILL bigger than our failures.

We must grasp that “waiting” is part of the Christian journey.

David was anointed king as a boy, but many trying years passed before he wore the crown.  Joseph’s dreams took years to come to fulfillment and only after he spent time in a pit and in prison.  Anna waited patiently for years to see her Saviour.

Jesus also took the time test (Luke 4:1-12).

Satan asked Jesus to throw himself down from theTemple.

Why?

He wanted Jesus to doubt God’s ability to protect Him.  He was also trying to entice Jesus to take  matters into His own hands.  Notice that Satan did not argue that Jesus was God. Instead, he wanted to push Jesus to reveal Himself before God’s time.

If Jesus had jumped from the Temple, all the religious people would have seen it.  Seeing Him miraculously survive the fall, they would have had the proof they needed to know for sure that He
was the Messiah.  They would believe him!  In other words, Satan was saying, “Why wait?  Take things into your own hands and reveal yourself as Messiah now.”  Satan was offering Jesus the kingdom without the cross.

Jesus, however, realized that God’s timing was His timing.  He knew that taking any shortcuts to fulfill His purpose would not be God’s will.

Waiting on God always involves a passage of time.  But, it is waiting with expectation, anticipation, and a confident hope in something that WILL take place (Psalm 130:5-6).  Yet, to wait means we trust God to handle things His way and in our best interest, even if it doesn’t always FEEL that way to us (Psalm 52:8-9).  One cannot pass the time test without trust.

Tips for taking the Time Test:

1) Seek the Lord (Lam 3:25).

We need to spend time meditating on the Word, and time in prayer so we can evaluate our ability to wait.  This means we may need to look at our true motives and heart attitudes or re-evaluate our goals and priorities in life.

2) With strength and courage (Psalm 27:14, 31:24).

3) Rejoice and trust in His holy name (Psalm 33:21).

4) Move at the right moment.

There is a time to plow, a time to sow and a time to reap.  They never happen at the same time, but the bountifulness of the harvest depends on doing them at the RIGHT times.  You can’t sow before you have plowed, and you can’t reap without first sowing.  God is at work in our lives, making us productive fruit producers.  This takes time and our cooperation in doing things His way and in His time.   Sometimes, what we are tempted to do is not wrong, but the reason behind it is.  We are taking a shortcut to resolve an immediate problem at the expense of long-range goals, just so that we can find comfort or temporary relief.  Getting us to take right actions for the wrong reasons or at the wrong time is one of the devil’s biggest tricks.

5) Waiting is not necessarily resignation from all activity; it is submission to God’s superior plan.

For example, if I am in need of a job, yes I should pray and seek God, but I also must be preparing my resume, checking the classifieds and applying for jobs or speaking to an employment agency.  It is much easier to direct an already moving object than one parked in front of the TV, waiting for a sign.

Are you facing an impossible situation?

Do things seem out of control?

Is that strained relationship causing you more pain than you can bear?

Does that errant child or wayward spouse still show no sign of turning to God even though you have been praying for years?

Have you worked faithfully in ministry but have yet to see results?

Are you questioning your purpose and calling?

Then, my friend, you may be taking the time test.

For those of us taking this test, may our prayer be:

Dear God,

As I woke up this morning, I thought about time and the idea of stepping out in faith.  How long do I wait for a breakthrough, during the down times and the quiet times when I feel so alone?

Your Word says, “My grace is sufficient for you.”  Again, I find strength in your Word to wait on You.

Oh, God, I trust that You, Who have begun the good work in me, are faithful to complete it.  Today does not look any different than yesterday.  My circumstances have not changed.  But slowly and surely, your Word is taking root in my heart and in it I have confident rest.  I know my change will come.  I am willing to wait on Your perfect timing and Your decision, which is right.

Thank you for giving me only as much as I can bear.  Thank you for the courage to wait and patiently trust that my Father knows what is best for me.

 Amen.

Filed Under: Monday Morning Musings

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