Learning to wait is the hardest thing to do. The word “wait” means to: stay in place in expectation, to delay serving, to remain stationary in readiness or expectation, to look forward expectantly, to be ready and available.
In a recent lesson in Genesis, Sarai (Sarah after God changed her name) gives Hagar to Abram (Abraham) to father a child because it seemed apparent to both Sarai and Abram that what God had promised wasn’t happening. Knowing the promise and waiting for its fulfillment must have been difficult for a woman like Sarai who every day longed for a child. Everyday she was surrounded by glaring stares and muffled laughter from other women who were fruitful. It had been ten years since God had placed them in Canaan and had given Abram the promise to make him a great nation and now it seemed to them that it was too late for producing an heir together. They both were old and past time for her body to produce children (or so they thought).
In Sarai’s day, the role of a woman was to produce an heir for her husband. This indicated that God favored her. If she did not produce children, it was thought to mean the displeasure of God. So instead of continuing to wait, they decide to take matters into their own hands resulting in the birth of Ishmael.
What problems that produced in the family! Bitterness, jealousy and quarreling were the results. Even to this day, descendants of Abraham through Ishmael and Isaac don’t get along. If only, they had waited.
But what about the results to our own lives when we don’t wait for God’s timing? Does that produce bitterness, jealousy, quarreling and many other numerous emotions? Of course, it does. If only we had waited.
Oswald Chambers sums it up in the following:
“He works where He sends us to wait. “Tarry ye…until…”. Wait on God and He will work, but don’t wait in spiritual sulks because you cannot see an inch in front of you! Are we detached enough from our own spiritual hysterics to wait on God? To wait is not to sit with folded hands, but to learn to do what we are told.”
Much like a child sitting in time out, we often sulk because we don’t get our way or perhaps we throw spiritual temper tantrums for the same reason. God isn’t working fast enough to do what we want. So we make plans of our own.
It never occurred to Sarai that God’s plan was right on time. He was out to prove that He could take something dead and make it alive again even the body of an old woman to produce the promised heir.
While we are waiting remember that God is still the only certainty in this life. He knows the past, present and future and as His plan unfolds, it will happen only one step at a time…not two or three steps. Sometimes His plan requires no step at all but merely for us to stay in a place in expectation remaining stationary in readiness.