Obedience Requires Patience

I don’t like sitting still. I never have. I like to be in the midst of it getting things done. The problem with this is that sometimes waiting is required. Baking a cake is a great example. You mix up the ingredients, pour the batter into the pans, stick them in the oven and… wait. If you don’t, you don’t have cake. You just have a big mess. Then, once the cake comes out of the oven you have to wait before taking the cake out of the pans. If you don’t, you risk tearing up the cake. And then, when the cake is on the cooling rack, you have to wait for it to cool down. If you don’t and you try and put the frosting on, the frosting will liquify too much and go running off, leaving a big, big mess. Wait, wait, and more wait is the key. At least, it’s the key if you want to bake a cake.

In the six hundred and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried from off the earth. And Noah removed the covering of the ark and looked, and behold, the face of the ground was dry. In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth had dried out. Then God said to Noah, “Go out from the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you. Bring out with you every living thing that is with you of all flesh—birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth—that they may swarm on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.” So Noah went out, and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him. Every beast, every creeping thing, and every bird, everything that moves on the earth, went out by families from the ark.  – Genesis 8:13-19, ESV

Noah waited. From the time that the waters were dried until the time he exited was 57 days. Why did Noah wait? He waited because he hadn’t received from God instructions to disembark. If he trusted what he saw, he would have left when he saw the ground was dry. However, he didn’t, for his trust was in God. That’s an important lesson for us. Our senses and our mindset might be that things are okay. So we go on and do whatever it is we think we need to do and we don’t check in with God. But time and time again this runs contrary to the example we see in Scripture. When God sets us to something, He expects us to hold fast to it. Even if we think the situation has changed or is no longer valid, we need to stick to obeying what He has asked of us.

A question that could be asked is, “Why did God have Noah wait?” The Bible doesn’t give us an answer. It just says Noah waited and then God told him to come out. Only then did Noah, his family, and all of the animals leave the boat. We can make suppositions as to why. We’ve seen the devastation after Katrina and the tsunamis that hit Indonesia and Japan. While the land was dry, it probably wasn’t very safe. That extra time was needed for things to settle down. That’s a likely reason. However, we don’t know for sure and when we look at examples of folks being patient and waiting on God, there isn’t always a reasonable explanation to be had, other than a timing thing no person could have known in the midst of it.

That’s why we must be patient. Even if we’ve logically thought through things and considered all the facts before us, if God doesn’t tell us to end an instruction, we should stay at it. We can’t see how events work out. He can for He has perfect knowledge and perfect wisdom. We don’t. And we could miss out on an awful lot if we don’t wait on God. We must be patient. He has proven every time that such patience is worth the wait. The delay (at least, in our eyes) is because He is working everything out for the good of those He has called. And so if we want to consider ourselves obedient to Him, when we don’t have further instruction from Him, we must be patient. What is it that you want to get over and done with today but you’ve not heard God say, “You are finished?” Identify those things in your life and ask God to have you patience to bear them a little longer. Likewise, what is it in your life that God says it’s time to let go and move on from but you’re still hanging on to? Let them go. Trust that He will work all things for the good, as He has promised.

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