“Hurry up and wait” is an expression I first heard at The Citadel. It’s the idea that we are hurried up to be ready for something and then we wait. For instance, a military unit may mobilize immediately because of a potential issue, be ready to go, and then wait hours or even days before the call finally comes to either launch the mission or stand down. That’s hurry up and wait. When it comes to God, we need to practice hurry up and wait, too. The truth of it is that we already have the first part of it down. We can be quick to ask God to “hurry up” and help with whatever it is we’re asking. However, God’s timeline isn’t our timeline.
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. – Genesis 8:13-16, ESV
Having been locked up on a boat for almost a year, I’m sure Noah and family wanted to get out. On the first day of the first month, Noah and his family could see the waters had receded from the earth. I’m sure they were ready to go. We’re even told that they removed the covering from the ark and that the face of the ground was dry. However, we have no indication that Noah and family did anything to leave the boat. The birds had been sent. The cover was removed. But on the boat they remained? Why? This is a case where most of us would have tried to “hurry up” and get off the boat. Noah and his family didn’t. They waited. They waited on God. When God said come out, that’s when they left the boat.
Thinking through the situation, it only makes sense, but I’m of the opinion that most of us wouldn’t have thought this through. We’d have jumped at a chance to get back on the ground. However, the rain and the amount of water must have come as quite a shock to Noah and crew. They surely realized all the rules had changed. I’m sure they also felt that they could no longer trust when the land was safe and when it wasn’t. If you’ve ever walked in a swamp or marsh area, you know what I’m talking about. You go to step on what looks to be solid ground, only to feel your foot sinking in. Before you know it, you could be in up to your hip. I’m not even talking about quicksand. Quicksand is even worse. So while the face of the ground was dry, there was no way for Noah and family to know that things were okay. They had just gone through the destruction of the world. It was time to wait on God. They had done it God’s way since starting on the construction of the ark. They would see it through until he said to disembark. We can learn a lot from their example.
We must adopt the same attitude. The steps we want to take in life may seem safe to us. However, if God hasn’t given us the go ahead, we need to practice waiting. We need to be ready for God to move, and that’s the real “hurry up” part, not the “Come on, God, let’s get this moving,” and we can’t neglect the “and wait.” Should we do so, we could be taking a step on ground that’s not solid, that swallows our foot up and gets us stuck. We must wait on God. Don’t be in such a big hurry that you can’t wait on God. God is the seasoned pro. He’s the ultimate guide. He knows when it’s safe and when it’s not. Go ahead of Him and you’re taking a foolish risk. Follow behind Him and things will be for the best. Always.